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- 10/13/18--10:30: _The Air Force is ch...
- 10/13/18--11:26: _IKEA has a new vega...
- 10/13/18--11:27: _I spent 10 years pl...
- 10/13/18--11:27: _I cofounded Harry's...
- 10/13/18--11:27: _The economy of ever...
- 10/13/18--11:28: _9 photos of the J-3...
- 10/13/18--11:28: _These incredible ph...
- 10/13/18--11:29: _22 astounding facts...
- 10/13/18--11:29: _Happy Birthday, Nav...
- 10/13/18--11:30: _Caught between Trum...
- 10/13/18--12:25: _Why this Bovet watc...
- 10/14/18--09:15: _BANK OF AMERICA: Co...
- 10/14/18--09:25: _Here's how In-N-Out...
- 10/14/18--09:34: _Michael Bublé is 'a...
- 10/14/18--09:49: _Video appears to sh...
- 10/14/18--10:03: _Howard Marks made b...
- 10/14/18--10:28: _Japan activated its...
- 10/14/18--10:38: _An ex-Googler who w...
- 10/14/18--10:50: _Joe Biden leads a w...
- 10/14/18--10:51: _I drove Mazda's ans...
- IKEA just added a vegan hot dog to its food-court menu.
- The veggie dog is meant to be a more sustainable alternative to the hot dog and is made from kale, red lentils, quinoa, onion, and carrots. It's topped with pickled red cabbage and roasted onions.
- IKEA is the latest of many mainstream retailers to start offering more vegan alternatives. Costco recently removed the Polish hot dog from its food-court menu to make room for several vegan options, including a new al pastor salad and an acai bowl.
- We tried IKEA's new veggie dog ourselves, and we were surprised by how delicious it was.
- Josh Leslie is the CEO of Cumulus Networks.
- When Leslie was 30, he told his manager that he wanted to be a CEO by the time he was 40.
- By his late 30s, CEO was nowhere in sight and his career seemed to be on a distinct sideways trajectory.
- Leslie changed his perspective, stopped thinking about his next job, about the size of his team, or about the perception of his accomplishments — and ten months later, he became the CEO.
- On his first day, he realized he had been preparing for the role for years.
- Founders often need to know how to raisecapital to grow and achieve their company goals.
- Jeff Raider, who cofounded Harry's and Warby Parker, has learned several things during the fundraising processes for these two companies, which combined have raised more than $700 million.
- His advice is to first ask yourself, "Should I raise capital?"
- From there, he outlines the entire process for raising money for a startup, from determining how much you need and finding investors to what kind of capital you should raise.
- What is your fundamental reason for being? What is the unmet need your business addresses?
- What's the market environment today? How big is the opportunity to solve this problem, and why haven't others done it yet?
- How is your business going to deliver against the consumer need in a differential way? What's your operating plan to get there?
- And what does all of the above imply financially? How do the economics of your business work? How much capital do you need for the next stage of the business?
- Valuation and dilution: How much the company is worth?
- How much control of the company founders retain: control over the board, voting rights and governance of the company.
- Structure, and what happens in a downside scenario: Investors can invest in different securities that enable them to get their money or earn a return before founders and employees are eligible to get proceeds themselves.
- 10/13/18--11:27: The economy of every state, ranked from worst to best
- The US economy is the sum of the economies of the 50 states and Washington, DC.
- Using six measures of labor-market and general economic health, we ranked all of those component economies from worst to best.
- Photos of the standoff between the US Navy destroyer Decatur and a Chinese warship have surfaced online, and they show just how close the Chinese ship came to colliding with the American vessel.
- 10/13/18--12:25: Why this Bovet watch costs over $450,000
- Stocks are getting slammed, which also means they're cheaper to buy.
- According to Bank of America Merrill Lynch, corporate America is holding the "dry powder" that would push the S&P 500 to 3,000 by year-end, or about 4% above where it opened on Wednesday.
- Two sectors will be the biggest winners, the strategists said.
- In-N-Out is beloved by fans for its low prices and impressive quality.
- The burger chain has kept its prices low thanks to a limited menu, in-house production, and shrewd real-estate strategy.
- The low prices are especially notable considering In-N-Out is regularly celebrated for offering some of the best wages and benefits in the fast-food industry.
- A representative for Michael Bublé told Us Weekly the singer isn't quitting his music career after all.
- The comments contradict Bublé's own statements to The Daily Mail, where he said he was giving his "last interview" and was "retiring from the business" after his latest record.
- Video purportedly shows members of the far-right group the "Proud Boys" beating up anti-fascist protesters after their leader gave a talk in New York City on Friday.
- In a separate incident, three protesters were arrested for assaulting a New Jersey as he was leaving the Gavin McInnes speech.
- NYPD officials said they are reviewing footage from the event to see if more arrests are necessary.
- Howard Marks, the co-founder and co-chairman of $122 billion Oaktree Capital, made a fortune by loading up on distressed corporate debt during the darkest depths of the financial crisis.
- In an exclusive interview with Business Insider, Marks explained how his overall investment philosophy and views on market cycles enabled him to make that legendary trade.
- Marks also explained why he's continuing to buy more every day, and laid out the scenario that would prompt him to get more defensive.
- Patrick Ip, an ex-Googler who was involved in a Nobel Peace Prize nominated project, has a new startup called Catalog.
- Ip and his co-founder Jacobo Lumberas hope Catalog can create steady work and full-time jobs for independent photographers around the country.
- Ip's project at Google — One Billion Acts of Peace — didn't win the Nobel Peace Prize, but has documented 53 million so-called acts of peace thus far.
- CNN released the results of a poll on Sunday that shows former Vice President Joe Biden in the lead among potential Democratic candidates for the 2020 presidential election.
- Thirty-three percent of respondents say prefer Biden win the party's nomination.
- Sen. Bernie Sanders came in second with 13% of respondents saying he could win it.
- The poll also asked whether respondents think President Donald Trump will be elected to a second term. Forty-six percent said they think he will win, while 47% said they think he will lose.
- The Mazda6 is Mazda's midsize car.
- It competes with the Honda Accord and Toyota Camry directly, though it distinguishes itself by focusing on performance and "zoom zoom."
- I tested a Signature model with a manufacturers' suggested retail price of $34,750, but the base edition carries a starting price tag of $21,950.
- I liked everything from the design of the car to the way it looks and drives, but it had some admittedly weird design flourishes.
The veggie dog, which launched in IKEA's European locations in August, officially launched in the bistros in the furniture retailer's US stores at the end of September. IKEA began developing the veggie dog as a more sustainable alternative to its hot dog back in February.
According to Fast Company, IKEA sold one million veggie dogs in Europe in the first two months that they were available. The veggie dog has only been in American IKEA stores since late September, but in its first two weeks, one out of every 10 customers who bought a hot dog in-store opted for the vegan version, Merlijn Crébolder, IKEA food manager in the US, told Fast Company.
The veggie dog is made from kale, red lentils, quinoa, onion, carrots, and spices like ginger and turmeric. It's topped with pickled red cabbage, spicy mustard, and roasted onions. It costs $0.75 and is 226 calories. While the veggie dog itself is vegan, the bun isn't because it contains egg.
It isn't IKEA's first venture into vegan food, and it won't be its last. The furniture store's restaurant serves vegan meatballs and has announced plans to introduce a vegan ice cream to the menu in summer 2019.
IKEA is the latest among several mainstream brands to start adding vegan options to meet increased demand. Costco recently removed the Polish hot dog from its food-court menu to make room for several vegan options, including a new al pastor salad and an acai bowl. Nestle acquired the vegan-meat supplier Sweet Earth in September. Campbell's recently acquired Pacific Foods, which makes nondairy milks. And White Castle added the plant-based Impossible Burger to its menu.
We went to the IKEA store in Brooklyn, New York, to try the veggie dog for ourselves — here's the verdict:
The veggie dogs are available at IKEA's bistro, which is separate from its restaurant. The line was long — I waited almost 20 minutes to order. The veggie dogs cost $0.75 each, so I got two for $1.50.
IKEA's bistro's veggie hot dog is entirely vegan, except for the bun, which contains egg. The menu says that the veggie dogs have 226 calories each.
The veggie dog itself is made from kale, red lentils, quinoa, onion, carrots, and spices like ginger and turmeric.
See the rest of the story at Business Insider
I joined Cumulus Networks in June of 2015 as the vice president of sales, which was a role I had been in for several years before, and I was comfortable with. Our founder, JR Rivers, was CEO when I joined. But as time went on, JR transitioned to the CTO role, and gave me the opportunity to lead as Cumulus' chief executive.
So, ten months after I joined the company, I walked into the office for day one of a completely new role: CEO.
It was an exciting, thrilling opportunity; Something I had perhaps been unknowingly preparing for since childhood, and something I had definitely put at the top of my goal list.
Thinking back to my first day as CEO, I realize it wasn't that much different than my experience in the previous ten months as VP of sales — I knew my team, I knew my way around the office, and I knew a bit more of what I was getting myself into versus starting a new role at a completely new company.
But it was this ten month introduction to Cumulus, along with an entire lifetime preparing for the CEO role, that showed me I was more than ready to take on this new chapter. I was 100% ready to be CEO on my very first day.
Preparing for CEO since childhood
My earliest memories of the software business were as a young child. My dad had converted one of our bedrooms to a home office and on the weekends, he'd be in there, on the phone, talking shop. It was the first time I heard my dad swear: "That's a bunch of bullshit!" he would say. Followed shortly by, "screw those guys."
It was kind of shock to hear, but after that shock wore off, I was simply fascinated by the grit and the pace of business and watching my dad 'doing deals.'
My dad is Mark Leslie. He was the CEO of Veritas Software and built the company nearly from inception. At its height, Veritas was a Fortune 1000 Company with annual revenue exceeding $1.5B.
My dad was revered by Veritas employees and widely respected in Silicon Valley. He left the company in 2001, to advise startups, invest, and teach at Stanford. In short, he knows pretty much everyone in tech and he casts a pretty long shadow.
When I was nine, I didn't think about what it would be like to follow in his footsteps. I wasn't one of those kids who started some amazing business at a young age, and I wasn't writing code. But I did know that I had an intense interest in the business world.
As I grew older, I still listened in on those phone calls, perused my dad's open emails when he wasn't around, and had dinner table conversations about OEM licensing deals, stock options, and UNIX file systems.
I didn't realize it then, but looking back now I realize I was training to be a CEO. Sort of. It wasn't like I was waking up at 6 a.m. to work on spreadsheets and cap tables. But I was surrounded by my dad's work.
Eventually I grew up, went to college, and started my career in sales. This was my dad's influence again. Salespeople, he said, are the ones that know what's really going on in a company. Salespeople know how to solve problems. Build the product or sell the product, he told me.
It only took my one semester in college to learn I wasn't smart enough to build the product, so I began my sales career.
When I was 30, I told my manager at VMware that I wanted to be a CEO by the time I was 40. He laughed and said fifty was a more reasonable goal, if anything.
Eventually I left VMware and I became a VP of Sales at a small Series A startup. I worked harder than I ever had but the company and the job did not turn out the way I hoped. I took another VP Sales job at another early stage startup.
After a few years at startup number two and I was approaching 40. CEO was nowhere in sight and my career seemed to be on a distinct sideways trajectory.
I had a great family, by most measures a very good career, but when I measured myself against my dad, or against my peers, and I measured my 'wins' (or lack thereof) and I was unhappy with the score.
But then I had an epiphany. I remember as a young parent, seeing one of my children display some startling ability (or at least, I was impressed!). I thought, perhaps I will be most remembered as the parent of one of my children and not for any of my own accomplishments.
It was a big change in perspective for me. For the first time, I realized: Perhaps I won't be a CEO. Perhaps I won't be a 'serial entrepreneur with multiple successful exists.'
And maybe I don't care that much.
It was about the journey, not the destination
For the first time in my career, I started to focus on the journey, not the destination. I will simply be the best VP of Sales I can be. I will treat customers with care and employees with respect. I will spend my time on the things I know I'm good at (building trust with customers) and get help where I'm weak (process).
So that was it. I was going to be a great VP of Sales and let the chips fall where they may. I left start up number two and joined Cumulus Networks. For the first time in my career, I did not seriously negotiate my compensation, my title or organization.
VP of Sales? Sure, I thought, that works for me. There were many questions of organizational ownership, but I had come to understand that all of those things would eventually get sorted out correctly if we focused on the right priorities and built trust with the team.
I had truly stopped thinking about the next job, about the size of my team, or about perception of my accomplishments. It was the first time I was leading. Ten months later I became the CEO.
Josh is a seasoned technology executive and currently serves as CEO of Cumulus Networks. Prior to Cumulus, Josh spent time at Instart Logic, VMware, and CommValut Systems, holding various leadership roles in both sales and business development.
A Bay Area native, Josh received a BA from the University of California, Berkeley and an MBA from Columbia Business School. When he’s not in the office, Josh enjoys spending time with his wife, two kids, and his poodle, Peggy.
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I have the privilege of meeting with amazing founders who inspire me with their vision to build companies that truly transform their markets and make people's lives better. Many of these founders require capital to grow and achieve their potential. Thus, I'm often asked about how to raise capital and how to get the best outcome when raising money.
The world of fundraising can feel opaque, but it shouldn't have to.
In the spirit of transparency, I want to share some of the things I've learned in past fundraising processes.
Before wading into this topic, I want to acknowledge that I've been really lucky. I've cofounded two companies: Harry's and Warby Parker. Together, these companies have raised more than $700 million from major institutional investors.
Before I founded these companies, I worked in private-equity investing, so I started with a solid understanding of the investment process and had relationships with people in the investment world. My cofounders and I also had great guidance — from amazing cofounders, teammates, board members, and lawyers — and lots of luck along the way, so I try not to take any of that for granted.
With that said, and with the caveats that this reflects my own experience and that others may have different but equally valid perspectives, I hope some of this advice can be helpful to anyone looking to raise capital.
So let's dive in.
There's a question I don't think entrepreneurs ask themselves enough: 'Should I raise money?'
People have often congratulated me and my cofounders after a big round of funding. But raising money isn't a badge of honor. While it's validating to have someone in our vision enough to invest in the company, outside capital is just fuel for a business to grow until it can exist in a self-sustaining way.
It's a means to an end, not an end unto itself.
My cofounders and I have taken big swings at Harry's and Warby Parker. We've opened more than 75 Warby Parker retail stores and have grown to over 1,000 people in only a few years. At Harry's, we bought a 90-plus-year-old, 420-person German razor-blade factory, even though we're just a 30-person startup in New York. And we've done all of this in highly competitive markets. As a result, we've felt it prudent to raise outside capital to enable us to grow quickly.
But raising lots of money isn't necessarily right for every company. You may not feel pressure to grow as quickly or compete in the same ways we did (and that could be a good thing), and you may not need to raise outside capital.
Additionally, raising money doesn't come without cost.
The math speaks for itself: If you own 10% of a $100 million company, it's the same as owning 100% of a $10 million company, and sometimes the latter can be much easier to achieve.
Raising money also comes with high expectations from your investors about your business performance.
At Harry's, we raised money at a $750 million valuation as a three-year-old company. That valuation was predicated on our ability to continue to grow quickly; it came with substantial expectations from investors that we would hit aggressive growth targets. Such expectations can be good — they drive our team to achieve at the highest levels — but they also add pressure to the already pressure-packed situation of building a company.
Investors also expect that we'll pay them back — meaning that at some point, we need to sell our companies, take them public, or find another large investor to get our initial investors' liquidity.
So for all of those reasons, the first question I encourage founders to ask when thinking about raising capital is a basic one: "Should I raise outside capital?"
How do you get money?
How you approach the process can have a meaningful impact on the future of your business and your role in it. The choices you make will dictate who surrounds you, your control as a founder, and financial outcomes in both positive and negative scenarios.
Take the time to prepare
Before even thinking about valuation or terms, or reaching out to potential investors, spend time refining an airtight narrative and business plan.
A good business plan answers four key questions:
For me, the most important part of a business plan is the first section that defines your reason for being. Everything flows from there. At Warby Parker, we expressed our reason for being in one line: "Glasses shouldn't cost as much as an iPhone."
As you're laying out your plan, be pithy! Our business plans have been 25 to 30 slides at most. There's always time to share more after.
Determine how much money you need and how you want to raise it
Your financial model should help you determine how much outside capital you need. From there, imagine scenarios where things don't go exactly as planned (because they never do) and what those scenarios mean for how much money you'll actually need.
For example, ask yourself questions like: What happens if Gillette threatens to sue Harry's? (Which it did) Or what if our business grows twice as quickly as we had forecasted? (Which also happened). Given the unpredictability at Harry's (and at many early-stage companies), we needed to be prepared for any scenario related to cash burn.
This estimation is both an art and a science. I've never been able to determine, with surgical precision, the exact amount of money it takes to run a business in a variety of different upside and downside scenarios. And as a result, I've always thought it prudent to raise a little extra capital (and take a little more dilution) in order to ensure we have some cushion against our projections.
Once you've determined how much capital you need, there are three common approaches I've seen entrepreneurs take in the seed stage:
1. Friends and family
Go to your friends and family who love you and believe in you, and ask them to invest in your company to the extent they're financially able.
We started this way at Warby Parker. We were lucky to have four founders and a broader group of people around us who were able to invest in our idea.
This approach works nicely because it gives the people closest to you the chance to benefit from your success in the company. The conversations are usually easier because these people already know you well and they believe in you. With that said, unless you have very wealthy friends and family, this approach has limits in terms of how much capital you can raise.
2. Professional investors
These can be angels or venture funds — either way, they are people who invest professionally and are likely invested in lots of companies like yours.
The benefit to speaking with these folks is they know the investing process well and can commit material amounts of capital to your business. They also work with lots of companies and have perspectives and experiences that can be helpful.
That said, it can be harder to approach these investors cold, and you have to really convince them of the return on investment your business will provide.
3. A mix of the two
Many people raise a round with both professional investors and friends and family.
What's best for you depends on how much capital you think you need. If you just need a little capital to get started, friends and family can be a good way to go. If you want more capital or lots of advice and engagement, then it may make sense to pursue professional investors.
What form of capital should you raise? Note vs. priced round
A convertible note is an instrument that typically converts to equity in the next funding round. These notes usually pay interest during the time that they are outstanding, and some have a "cap," which means that there is a max valuation at which they convert to equity.
For example, a company may issue a convertible note at a 15% discount to their next round of funding with a $10 million cap. In this case, if the company raises money at a $10 million valuation in the next round, the note would convert to equity at an $8.5 million valuation (15% discount). Yet if the company raised money at a $15 million valuation, the "cap" would kick in, and the note would convert to equity at a $10 million valuation.
Convertible notes are commonly used in the early stages of companies when people aren't ready to put a hard valuation on the company, and they tend to be more popular with smaller friends-and-family raises. They can often be quicker and easier to complete because valuation is off the table.
They provide companies the limited capital they need to hit early milestones, at which point they then can go out and raise money at a valuation that's exciting to them.
The other option companies commonly choose is to raise a "priced round." That means raising money in equity at a specific valuation.
In this instance, the founders believe their vision and track record can command an attractive valuation. They also are more likely to want to raise substantial amounts of capital at a valuation they are comfortable with and have the capital last for a while.
There's no right or wrong answer as to the type of funding you should choose. We initially bootstrapped Warby Parker and invested only our own capital (meaning our life savings). Then, after we launched the business and sold out of glasses, we realized we needed more (but had no more life savings), so we turned to our friends and family and raised money from them through a convertible note.
At Harry's, we had to buy 1 million razor blades to lock a contract with our German factory. We signed the contract but didn't have the money to buy the blades — and this part is not recommended — so we came back to New York and raised a priced round in order to have capital to get started.
Thus, the type of capital you raise depends on the state of the company, what milestones you want to hit before raising more capital, how much money you need, and what valuation you think you can command.
How do you navigate the investment process?
Find a lead investor
The fundraising process can quickly spin out of control and become complicated to manage.
In order to streamline and make the job as simple as possible, we've always found it helpful to find a single investor to lead each of the rounds — though this is still not easy. A lead investor is a person or firm who will commit a substantial amount of the capital in a round and with whom you can negotiate a core set of terms.
The benefit of this approach is that you have to negotiate only once. After you have a lead investor and a core set of terms negotiated, you and the investor sign a "term sheet" codifying those terms. Chris Dixon, a general partner at Andreessen Horowitz, wrote a post that thoughtfully lays out the common terms included in a term sheet.
Then you can take that term sheet to other investors and get them to join the round on the same terms as the lead investor. Your lead investor can help you there, too, by introducing you to their network and serving as a partner throughout the fundraising process.
For example, at Harry's, Thrive Capital led our seed round. After the Thrive team committed to investing, we sat down, talked about the early needs of the company, and put together a list of potential investors who could be helpful, instead of spending a lot of time and effort fostering our own independent relationships with potential new investors. Thrive then helped to introduce us to those investors and supported us by explaining to them why Thrive was excited about Harry's.
Find the right investors
It's important to try to figure out who the "right" investors are for you.
Investors can add a tremendous amount of strategic value beyond just the capital they provide — and different investors add value in different ways. Some have material domain expertise, some are exceptionally well-connected and can make helpful introductions to partners and prospective employees, and others have relevant experience in building businesses at your stage.
When thinking about who might be a good investor, I often try to identify who has invested in analogous companies. Then, if possible, I ask other founders about their experiences with those investors.
Once you've figured out who you want to invest, you have to actually get to those people
This step can be hard. Most people with great business ideas don't have a Rolodex of potential investors at their fingertips (and we certainly didn't either at Warby Parker).
This is where entrepreneurial hustle comes in.
I've found that the people who make the best introductions for me are people who know me well. It's always easier to make connections through someone who already knows you. For example, when I was preparing to raise money for Harry's, I first went to my Warby Parker cofounders. They knew great investors — and more importantly, they knew me well. Because of this, the investors they introduced me to were receptive and took their recommendation seriously.
Think broadly about who you know personally — professors, colleagues, bosses, friends — as they could have a connection to investors or firms that might be useful. But if you're drawing a blank, think about who you can get to know — other founders, VCs, people in the tech community, corporate venture funds — who might be able to help connect you. In some cases, pitch competitions, incubators, or grant programs that can open doors and give you initial exposure.
If you're having an introductory conversation with a person you don't yet know, approach it with a lot of curiosity and self-awareness. In my experience, the first discussion is probably not the right moment to go in guns blazing with a hard pitch.
Investors are also out there looking for you too. So expand your network, get people to know and like you, meet with and learn from interesting folks, do people favors, and try to network yourself into the right investors in an organic and authentic way.
No one said this part was easy — it's really hard.
How do you best negotiate?
Once you have identified a potential lead investor who is excited about your business (congrats — in a lot of ways, that was the hard part), you can think about the terms of a deal.
There are three things you should keep in mind:
Though it's counter to the way people often talk about fundraising in the news, I've always been focused more on optimizing structure and control than on valuation.
You might know the valuation of a company, or how much it's "worth." But do you know whether it's capitalized through common or preferred stock, and what special terms preferred investors have? Do you know the composition of the board and the voting rights of the founders? These things also matter.
I believe that you don't always want to take the highest price valuation. Sure, big sticker prices are good for the ego, can attract top talent, and are often good for company morale. But if you're optimizing solely for valuation and trying to push for the highest possible number, you may sacrifice other terms, or you may not get the right investor, or you could increase pressure on future rounds to raise capital at even higher valuations.
Clearly, this is all conceptual, and when it comes to specifics I'd suggest hiring a great lawyer who's been through lots and lots of transactions like this and can give you good advice.
Raising money is always hard, emotionally draining, and time-consuming, but it doesn't have to be a mystery. I hope this helps other entrepreneurs to have a more informed perspective on the fundraising process, to make good decisions for themselves and their companies, and to get the capital they need and grow their businesses and achieve their entrepreneurial vision.
As a cofounder of both Harry's and Warby Parker, Jeff Raider aims to build companies and brands that positively impact people's everyday lives and the world more broadly. Harry's ambition is to create exceptional shaving and personal-care products that better meet the needs of modern men. Prior to Harry's, Jeff cofounded Warby Parker, the transformative lifestyle brand that offers designer eyewear at a revolutionary price while leading the way for socially conscious businesses. Today, Jeff serves as the CEO of Harry's Labs. He is also on the board of directors at Warby Parker.
The US is a massive, complex economy, and so too are the component economies of the 50 states and Washington, DC, that make up the whole.
Business Insider combined six measures of labor-market and general economic health for all the states and the District of Columbia. They are the unemployment rate, job growth, per-capita GDP, GDP growth, average weekly wages, and wage growth. By putting all those on a common scale and combining them, we came up with an overall score for each state's economy.
While the top of the list remains similar to our most recent ranking last quarter, with Washington, DC coming in first place, several states saw their fortunes rise or fall. South Dakota moved up from last place to 12th best overall, while Georgia fell from 11th to 35th.
Here's how the economy of each state and DC is doing right now:
Mississippi's Q1 2018 per capita GDP of $38,313, August 2018 average weekly earnings of $697, and 2.2% decline in wages between August 2017 and August 2018 were all the lowest among the 50 states and DC.
Alaska's August 2018 unemployment rate of 6.7% was the highest in the country, and its 0.9% decline in the number of non-farm payroll jobs between August 2017 and August 2018 was the worst among the 50 states and DC.
Arkansas Q1 2018 per capita GDP of $42,282 and GDP growth rate of 0.0% were both the second-lowest among the 50 states and DC, as was the state's August 2018 average weekly earnings of $734.
See the rest of the story at Business Insider
After China's J-31 stealth fighter made its first full-scale public appearance in 2014, observers noted its striking resemblance to the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter.
And many weren't surprised: China was thought to have stolen unclassified F-35 design information five years earlier.
But recently, there's been little reporting and discussion about the J-31.
"Part of that, to my knowledge, is that the [PLA] Air Force still hasn't bought any of them," Matthew P. Funaiole, a fellow with the China Power Project at CSIS, told Business Insider.
"It was supposed to be introduced in 2018 [or] 2019 ... but there hasn't been much chatter on it," Funaiole added.
Here's how the J-31 stacks up against the F-35, and what China might do with the new fighter.
The J-31 had already resembled the F-35 — both are multirole strike fighters — when a scaled model of it was unveiled in 2012.
Although the J-31's full specifications are not yet known, the J-31 and F-35 have roughly the same weight, height and wingspan.
Source: Popular Science
But the J-31 has a maximum takeoff weight of 56,000 pounds and a maximum range of 775 miles, making it lighter than the 70,000-pound F-35, and with roughly half the range.
Source: Popular Science
See the rest of the story at Business Insider
A Chinese destroyer challenged a US Navy warship in what US officials called an "unsafe and unprofessional" encounter in the tense South China Sea on Sunday.
The People's Liberation Army Navy ship, reportedly the Type 052C Luyang II-class guided-missile destroyer Lanzhou (170), part of the Chinese navy's South Sea Fleet, took on the US Navy's Arleigh Burke-class destroyer Decatur (DDG-73) during a close approach near Gaven Reef in the disputed Spratly Islands.
The Chinese vessel "conducted a series of increasingly aggressive maneuvers accompanied by warnings" for the US Navy ship to "leave the area," Pacific Fleet said in an official statement Monday. US Navy photos first obtained by the maritime-focused news site gCaptain and confirmed to CNN by three American officials show just how close the Chinese destroyer got to the US ship.
Three US officials confirm that images obtained by @gCaptain are US Navy images of the "unsafe & unprofessional" encounter between the USS Decatur and a Chinese destroyer that took place Sunday while the US warship was sailing near Gaven Reef in the South China Sea pic.twitter.com/A8Z4YPuXBS— Ryan Browne (@rabrowne75) October 2, 2018
(The USS Decatur is pictured left, and the Chinese destroyer is on the right.)
The USS Decatur was forced to maneuver out of the way to avoid a collision with the Chinese vessel, which reportedly came within 45 yards of the American ship, though the pictures certainly look a lot closer to the 45 feet originally reported.
Ankit Panda, a foreign-policy expert who is a senior editor at The Diplomat, called the incident "the PLAN's most direct and dangerous attempt to interfere with lawful US Navy navigation in the South China Sea to date."
China condemned the US for its operations in the South China Sea, where China is attempting to bolster its claims through increased militarization. The US does not recognize Chinese claims, which were previously discredited by an international tribunal.
Beijing said the US "repeatedly sends military ships without permission close to South China Seas islands, seriously threatening China's sovereignty and security, seriously damaging Sino-US military ties, and seriously harming regional peace and stability," adding that the Chinese military was opposed to this behavior.
The latest incident followed a series of US Air Force B-52H Stratofortress long-range bomber flights through the East China and South China seas. Beijing called the flights "provocative," but Secretary of Defense James Mattis insisted that the flights would not mean anything if China had not militarized the waterway.
"If it was 20 years ago and had they not militarized those features there, it would have been just another bomber on its way to Diego Garcia or wherever," he said last Wednesday.
An estimated 530 million people around the world had their eyes on NASA astronaut Neil Armstrong as he took one "giant leap for mankind" on July 20, 1969.
Armstrong cemented his role in history that day, becoming the first person to step foot on the moon. Today, walking on the lunar surface is an honor only 11 other men share.
But the backstory of how Armstrong was selected for that job and his tumultuous path to the moon are less well known.
In the movie "First Man," actor Ryan Gosling plays a young Armstrong in the ambitious and sometimes tragic lead-up to his unlikely journey to the moon.
The film is based on the non-fiction book First Man, which was published by Armstrong's official biographer James Hansen 13 years ago. Nearly everything chronicled in the film is true (aside from the Hollywood makeup, perhaps), including Armstrong's near-death experience training to fly the moon lander and the death of a good friend who was chosen for the first Apollo mission.
Screenwriter Josh Singer spent four years researching and writing the movie, which already has some critics and fans buzzing about potential Oscar nominations.
"I was just knocked out by how much we don't know about Neil Armstrong,"Singer recently told Business Insider.
Here are 22 true facts about Armstrong's life and the space race that the movie "First Man" recounts:
As the movie properly points out, Russian cosmonauts were ahead of the US at nearly every turn in the Cold War space race — until the moon landing.
The Russians launched Sputnik, the first satellite, in 1957. Then they sent dogs Belka and Strelka into space in 1960, and hit the moon first with its Luna probes. The nation was also the first to put people in space: Yuri Gagarin in 1961 and Valentina Tereshkova in 1963. Alexei Lenov did the first spacewalk in 1965.
Clearly, the US was lagging behind.
Neil Armstrong worked as a test pilot at NASA for years before he went to the moon. He was the first civilian astronaut in space.
Armstrong was no stranger to tragedy. His daughter died at age two from a case of pneumonia while suffering from a malignant brain tumor.
Armstrong was grieving and wanted to "invest [his] energies in something very positive," his sister June told Hansen. "That's when he started into the space program."
See the rest of the story at Business Insider
For 243 years, the US Navy has been the most visible part of America's military might, visiting far-flung ports of call and operating all over the world.
To celebrate the US Navy, we've pulled out some of the coolest photos from the archives.
In the decades after the Civil War, America began a new era of foreign intervention with the Navy leading the way. This 1899 photo shows sailors eating on the USS Olympia, which was the US's flagship during the Spanish-American War of the previous year.
The USS Holland, seen in this photo from 1900, was the Navy's first commissioned submarine.
President Theodore Roosevelt ordered a fleet of US ships to circumnavigate the globe from 1907-1909.
See the rest of the story at Business Insider
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Mr. Pascal Raffy is the current owner of Bovet, a legacy watchmaking company based in Switzerland. The company is famous for creating intricate and complex timepieces. We got to take a closer look at the Récital 22 Grand Récital with Jack Forster, editor in chief of Hodinkee. The watch comes in red gold and platinum, with price points of $460,000 and $500,000 respectively. What makes this watch worth nearly half a million dollars? Following is a transcript of the video.
Jack Forster: The watch comes in two different versions, and the difference between the two is pretty much restricted just to the case material. The $460,000 version is in red gold, and the more expensive half million dollar version is done in platinum.
Many of the most expensive watches are expensive because they're set with precious stones, which, of course, raises the price through the roof. In the case of the Récital 22 Grand Récital, however, the watch is as expensive as it is entirely because of the amount of craftsmanship that goes into it and the length of time that it takes to produce the various effects that make the watch what it is.
BOVET watches are inherently limited in production simply because of the complexity that's associated with making them. This particular watch is a limited edition of 60 pieces worldwide. Those are going to roll out very slowly, simply because they can't be made quickly. It's just inherent in the nature of the watch. The single decorative element that's probably most strongly identified with BOVET today is the use of extremely fine miniature painting, often in the form of, what's called, cold enameling on the dials of their watches. And the Récital 22 Grand Récital has a really, really wonderful example of this particular craft.
The centerpiece of the watch is a hemisphere representing the Earth as seen from above the North Pole. There are many, many layers of enamel that have been, that have been applied to the hemisphere in order to achieve a wonderful kind of translucent effect in which the clouds literally seem to float above the oceans and continents.
The paints are actually luminous and very, very luminous, and, when you turn the lights off, you are treated to a view of the continents glowing up at you that's just incredibly compelling.
This particular wristwatch is in a class of, what are called, astronomical complications. These are timepieces that show, often, the relative position of the stars to an observer standing on Earth, or, in this case, the relative position of the sun and the moon relative to an observer standing on Earth. So the centerpiece is this revolving hand-painted depiction of the upper hemisphere, the northern hemisphere of the Earth.
Placed just below it, in the six o'clock position, is, what's called, a tourbillon. We can see the tourbillon rotating as we look at the watch, and the position that it's in is identical to the position that the sun would be in, relative to the Earth. So it kind of stands in for, the tourbillon stands in for the sun in this wristwatch.
Rotating around the Earth is a spherical depiction of the moon divided into a sunlit hemisphere and a dark hemisphere. And you can read the phase of the moon from the position of this little hemisphere as it rotates around the Earth.
The back of the watch is also loaded with information. It's what's called the perpetual calendar. Now, a perpetual calendar is a mechanical watch which knows the difference between a leap year and a non-leap year, and which also advances the date correctly at the end of each month, whether it's a 30-day month or a 31-day month.
The relative rarity of the watches and the amount of handwork that goes into finishing the movement, the case, and other aspects of the watch all adds up to a tremendous, tremendous amount of real old-school craftsmanship, which simply doesn't come cheap. At this level of watchmaking, you're really talking about something that's designed to appeal to someone with extremely specific tastes and with a budget to match.
There are 705 components in this wristwatch.
The sell-off in US stocks this week may have created a good buying opportunity for a key group of investors — public companies themselves — according to Bank of America Merrill Lynch.
It's already been a record-breaking year for share buybacks. Led by the tech sector, companies spent a record $190.6 billion on their shares in the second quarter, according to S&P Dow Jones Indices. A chunk of the cash came from overseas, following a permanent tax cut on foreign-earned profits provided by the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act.
By reducing the count of their outstanding shares, companies are able to boost their earnings per share, one of the metrics investors care about the most and a strong catapult of stock prices.
Despite the record spending on buybacks, less than half of such announcements in the second half of 2018 have been executed, according to Bank of America Merrill Lynch. That's why buyback executions are "dry powder in the equity market," a group of strategists led by Mark Cabana said in a note on Wednesday.
For example, Apple announced $100 billion in buybacks during the second quarter and repurchased only $20 billion worth of stock in the same period.
The ratio of announced to completed buybacks this year climbed above 2:1 in the second quarter, Cabana said. The ratio hasn't been higher during this bull market.
"The trend of elevated announced executed buybacks should serve as a modest tailwind for the equity market over the remainder of the year as buybacks are executed, where we expect buybacks will add 3ppt to EPS growth this year, and forecast the S&P 500 will reach 3,000 by year-end," Cabana said.
The median Wall Street analyst also expects the S&P 500 to end the year at 3,000, a 4% jump from where the index opened on Wednesday.
Companies have been reluctant to execute on their buyback plans partly because of concerns about valuations, Cabana said. After all, companies would argue that they buy shares believing they're undervalued, but all-time highs mean stocks are more expensive to buy.
And some of the tax-reform windfall has been diverted to capital expenditure, Cabana added.
But the sell-off over the past five days — the longest since November 2016 — presents more attractive prices at which companies can buy their shares.
"A normalization of the buyback ratio should support the equity market, particularly tech and healthcare stocks, but potentially harm the front end of the US rates curve since it could result in a liquidation of corporate short-term holdings," Cabana said.
In-N-Out is a burger chain unlike any other, combining price and quality in what fans consider a perfect harmony no other chain can match.
The chain's famous Double-Double costs just $3.85. For comparison, that's a bit more than McDonald's Bacon McDouble, which costs around $2, but far less than Shake Shack's Double ShackBurger, which clocks in at around $8.
Notably, the Double-Double price hasn't risen much in years, even with inflation and a proliferation of burger chains that seem to draw inspiration from Shake Shack's menu.
Forbes reports that in 1989, the Double-Double cost $2.15, the equivalent of $4.40 in current dollars taking inflation into account. So, in other words, Shake Shack has essentially lowered the cost of its burgers over the last 30 years.
A Forbes profile of President Lynsi Snyder breaks down how exactly the chain maintains its low prices, and it's thanks to a limited menu, in-house production, and shrewd real-estate strategy. Here's the explanation:
"To start, the limited menu means reduced costs for raw ingredients. The company also saves money by buying wholesale and grinding the beef in-house. By doing its own sourcing and distribution, it likely saves 3% to 5% in food costs a year. It cuts out an estimated 6% to 10% of total costs by owning most of its properties — many bought years ago — and not paying rent. In-N-Out picks its locations carefully, clustering them near one another and close to highways to lower delivery costs while also avoiding pricey urban cores."
The low prices are especially notable considering In-N-Out is regularly celebrated for offering some of the best wages and benefits in the fast-food industry, with employee pay starting at $13 per hour.In-N-Out Burger ranked No. 4 on Glassdoor's list of the best places to work in 2018, beating out Google (No. 5), Lululemon (No. 6), and Microsoft (No. 39).
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A representative for Michael Bublé said his comments about quitting music following his son's cancer struggle shouldn't be taken at face value.
"He is not going anywhere,"a representative told Us Weekly. "[He] is absolutely not retiring."
In an interview with the Daily Mail published Saturday, Bublé talked about how his son's liver cancer diagnosis made him question his priorities, as well as the celebrity lifestyle.
"This is my last interview," he said in the interview. "I'm retiring from the business. I've made the perfect record and now I can leave at the very top."
Bublé said he was reconsidering his priorities after his son Noah was diagnosed with liver cancer. He said he found social media and "celebrity narcissism" hollow.
"The diagnosis made me realize how stupid I'd been to worry about these unimportant things. I was embarrassed by my ego, that it had allowed this insecurity," he said.
Representatives for Bublé didn't immediately respond to INSIDER's request for comment.
Visit INSIDER's homepage for more.
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Newly released video reportedly shows the moment members of the far-right group the "Proud Boys" attacked anti-fascist protesters.
Dozens of protesters gathered outside the Metropolitan Republican Club on New York City's Upper East Side Friday night, where Proud Boys founder Gavin McInnes was scheduled to give a speech.
As the event was letting out, some of the attendees allegedly assaulted some of the so-called "Antifa" protesters.
But the only arrests that were made that night were in connection to another incident, involving three protesters who allegedly assaulted a New Jersey man as he left the talk.
The NYPD said it is reviewing video footage of the event and speaking to witnesses to see if more arrests are necessary, and asked anyone with information on the incident on the Upper West Side to call 1-800-577-TIPS.
"If you were a victim of an attack, we urge you to file a complaint so we can bring those perpetrators to justice," the NYPD tweeted on Saturday.
'One guy had his foot on the guy's neck'
Photojournalist Shay Horse, who was there, told Buzzfeed News Proud Boys members ganged up on Antifa demonstrators.
"There was a big group of like 30 of them, and they came out grunting … trying to hype each other up," Horse said.
Horse said cops escorted the group only to the corner of the block and that the assault happened about two blocks away from the event.
He said he talked to some of the Proud Boys members involved and they said that the fight broke out when one of the Antifa protesters tried to swat a "Make America Great Again" hat off one of their heads.
"I heard them screaming and swearing at some guy on the ground," Horse told Buzzfeed. "They were beating the s--- out of him and kicking him in the head. One guy had his foot on the guy's neck."
"One dude started screaming, 'Do you feel brave now f----r,'" he added.
Eventually, an NYPD officer rolled up to the scene on a scooter, Horse said, and broke the fight up. But he said the Proud Boys were allowed to leave without being questioned and no arrests were made.
Another journalist, Sandi Bachom, took video of an assault that appears to be the same one Horse described.
'New York has zero tolerance for your BS'
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo called on the NYPD to arrest the perpetrators.
"Authorities must review these videos immediately and make arrests and prosecute as appropriate. Hate cannot and will not be tolerated in New York," Cuomo tweeted Saturday night. "Here's a message from a Queens boy to the so-called 'Proud Boys' - New York has zero tolerance for your BS."
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said the NYPD is "fully investigating" the incident.
"If you know anything, the NYPD wants your help," he tweeted Saturday night. Hate is never welcome in NYC and we will punish those responsible — whether they threw punches or incited violence — to the fullest extent of the law."
Before the event, protesters vandalized the Republican club, throwing a brick through a window, spray-painting the anarchy symbol on the doors, and gluing the locks. No arrests have been made in connection to the vandalism yet.
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Back in late 2008, in the deepest throes of the financial crisis, everyone in the market was running scared.
Not Howard Marks.
As the co-founder and co-chairman of Oaktree Capital, which currently oversees $122 billion, Marks smelled opportunity.
He and his partner, Bruce Karsh, came up with a daring plan — one that would fly in the face of investors who refused to touch the market with a 10-foot pole. They were going to start buying cheap assets. Billions of dollars' worth.
They began purchasing distressed corporate debt at a clip of about $650 million a week, something they continued throughout the last 15 weeks of the year, Marks told Business Insider in an exclusive interview. When all was said and done, Marks and Karsh had amassed a whopping $10 billion position.
Their approach proved prudent — and wildly profitable. That debt rebounded, and the trade made about $6 billion for Oaktree investors and $1.5 billion for Marks, Karsh, and their partners, according to a New York Times report.
But summarizing the trade so neatly hardly does it justice. At the time, it was a massive risk for Marks and his associates to make a wager of that size, considering the dire market environment.
Marks and his team did loads of diligence around the value of the debt they were buying, and saw that it had considerable upside potential. But what ultimately sold him on the trade was how overwhelmingly negative sentiment was across the market.
He recalls a conversation he had with a chief investment officer. Every time he posed a negative assumption, the CIO would ask about an even worse scenario.
"I could not propose a scenario negative enough to satisfy her," Marks told Business Insider.
That signaled to Marks that the market cycle was bottomed out, and that it was time to start buying.
"Psychology was absolutely as negative as it could've been," he said. "When you can't come up with a scenario negative enough on the downside, you know that pessimism is rampant. That's important. It really exemplified our strategy at its best."
It's this investment strategy — assessing where we are in the market cycle and investing accordingly — that's the focal point of Marks' new book, "Mastering the Market Cycle," which was released October 2.
Simply put, when emotions are riding high at either extreme, that's when it's best to take immediate action.
If confidence is oozing out of investor pores and risk-taking is abundant, it may be time to get defensive. And if nobody can fathom conditions getting any worse — as in late 2008 — perhaps buying is the right move.
It certainly was for Marks.
Why Marks is continuing to buy
It's well-established that Marks made a career-defining call back in 2008. But what is he doing right now?
"We're adding to positions," he told Business Insider. "We're buying every day. We're endeavoring to be fully invested, but with caution."
We're buying every day. We're endeavoring to be fully invested, but with caution.
But Marks doesn't see it that way. In his mind, conditions aren't overstretched to a degree that requires extreme defensiveness — at least not yet.
"The future is not so bad and prices are not so high that you should be in cash," he said. "On the other hand, I don't think the prices are so low, and the outlook is so good, that you should be aggressive."
His decision to keep buying is informed by what he refers to as his internal investment speedometer. He knows what his normal position is and adjusts how deeply he's invested based on market conditions.
Marks said every investor should develop a baseline like this, based on such factors as age, financial position, plans, aspirations, and employment. Once that's established, it becomes much easier to tweak risk-taking behavior as market sentiment gyrates.
With that said, Marks acknowledges that conditions are edging ever closer to overoptimism.
He explained: "When you have a lot of optimism, not much risk aversion, and a lot of money in the hands of eager buyers, what are you going to get? High prices, high risk, and low perspective returns. We have those things today."
What could push Marks into defensive mode
Those last comments beg the question: What would have to transpire for Marks to shift into a fully defensive mode?
He says it would take more risk-embracing behavior — the kind of confidence that prompts investors to blindly continue piling into expensive assets.
"The main thing for me would be an increase in optimism," Marks said. "If I see an upturn in optimism, pushing prices up even further, that would be important."
The main thing for me would be an increase in optimism ... that would be important.
He continued: "If rates go up a great deal more, and if inflation catches on and starts accelerating, and that necessitates the Fed raising rates even more, that would be tough for the economy and certainly tough on leveraged companies."
Marks' view is interesting in the sense that it flies in the face of an increasingly loud chorus of bears across Wall Street. To hear others tell it, sentiment is already far too overextended, and a reckoning is imminent.
In the end, Marks' outlook is one that should lend encouragement to other traders who aren't yet ready to throw in the towel on this market cycle. He literally wrote the book on the matter, and he's saying the coast is still relatively clear.
It's hard to argue with that.
When Patrick Ip joined Google in 2014, he was quickly introduced to a man named Meng.
Meng, whose full name is Chade Meng-Tan, was an early engineer at Google turned full-time motivator for the company with the memorable job title of "Jolly Good Fellow."
In one of their first meetings together, Ip remembers Meng pondering a new idea: "Google’s mission is to organize the world’s information. What if we tried to organize the world’s goodness?”
Meng's idea would eventually lead to a Nobel Peace Prize nomination.
For Ip, it was a formative lesson about the power of innovative ideas and technology.
Ip, along with his co-founder Jacobo Lumberas, created Catalog to help small to medium-sized brands get unique, high-quality product photography at a lower cost than what was available before.
“It just shows how arcane the process is, where the only thing that is really a substitute [to Catalugue] are stock images that everyone already has access to,” Ip explains. “On the high end, the only other substitutes are in-house studios and agencies.”
One of Catalog's first customers — an all-natural cosmetics company named Naked Poppy — was quoted $7,000 for 15 photos by an agency.
Catalog's product shots, by contrast, only cost $20 per photo.
Ip said he saw the problem first hand while he was at Google. Not having quality photography was one of the top reasons smaller companies weren't able to find success on Adwords — Google's search advertising service — and ultimately left the Google platform.
"What separates these highly saturated markets is the content you have, the photos that tell your story to connect with people," Ip says. "I got to see the problem at Google's scale, so I know it's huge."
To achieve lower costs, Catalog connects brands with independent photographers around the country. They hope their two-sided marketplace will create steady work for the photography community.
“[Photographers] can’t quit their [day] jobs on one-off deals. They need to know that work will continue to come,” Ip says. “[Catalog] could become a way for [them] to do this full time.”
If it can create more jobs for photographers and help small brands grow, Ip hopes that Catalog could ultimately represent its own act of good.
The project at Google — One Billion Acts of Peace — didn't ultimately win the Nobel Peace Prize, but it did gain the support of 14 Nobel Laureates, including the Dalai Lama and Archbishop Desmond Tutu.
Over 53 million acts of peace have been documented by the project thus far.
Former Vice President Joe Biden is favored to win the Democratic party nomination in the 2020 presidential election, according to a new CNN poll released Sunday.
The 75-year-old has yet to declare his intentions to run in the next presidential election, but there have been strong hints that he will challenge President Donald Trump in two years.
The Democratic field is expected to be one of the largest ever. Respondents were questioned about their preference for 16 potential candidates in the poll. Biden came out on top, but garnered only 33% of the vote.
He is followed by Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont, who is the favored candidate among 13% of respondents, and Sen. Kamala Harris of California, who 9% of respondents favored.
Among some of the longshots on the list are Sen. Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota and Michael Avenatti, who gained fame as porn star Stormy Daniels' attorney.
The poll also asked respondents whether they think Trump will win re-election or not, and the results were split: 46% said they think he'll win in 2020, while 47% said they think he will lose.
Here's the full results:
Sen. Elizabeth Warren: 8%
Sen. Cory Booker: 5%
Former Secretary of State John Kerry: 5%
Former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg: 4%
Senate candidate Beto O'Rourke: 4%
Former attorney general Eric Holder: 3%
Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti: 2%
Sen. Kirstin Gillibrand: 1%
Sen. Amy Klobuchar: 1%
Former Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick: 1%
Montana Gov. Steve Bullock: <1%
Rep. John Delaney: <1%
Someone else: 2%
None/No one: 2%
No opinion: 6%
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The Mazda6 is not to be overlooked.
That's my conclusion after spending a few days with the car and driving it hundreds of miles through three states.
The Mazda6 is a roomy, midsize car, but it feels like so much more. That's because its thoughtful design is evident throughout the vehicle, and its refinement feels like a class above.
The Mazda6 competes with other midsized cars like the Honda Accord and Toyota Camry directly, though it distinguishes itself by speaking to driving enthusiasts in the language of "zoom zoom." And that's evident by the way the car drives.
Still, Mazda is a niche player. Mazda sold only 22,618 cars in 2018 as of August, compared to the hundreds of thousands sold by the bigger players, according to sales figures from Kelley Blue Book. Worse news for people who love four-door sedans: the midsize segment itself is suffering a dramatic overall decline. Sales are down 20% year-over-year as consumers opt for crossover SUVs and pickup trucks.
That's a shame, since the Mazda6 can easily hold its own against some of the best automotive offerings. I had the chance to take the 2018 Mazda6 for a spin, and I wound up falling in love.
I tested a Signature model with an MSRP of $34,750, but the base edition carries a starting price tag of $21,950. Here's what we thought:
Meet the 2018 Mazda6. I was able to test the car on a late-summer trip to a friend's Pennsylvanian lake house.
Ain't she a beaut? During a stop at a farmer's market to stock up on veggies and food for the weekend, I couldn't help but stop and stare on the way in and out.
The first thing that struck me is the Mazda6's sculptural beauty. From every angle, the Mazda6 is a looker.
See the rest of the story at Business Insider