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    aaron persky brock turner extra wide

    • Aaron Persky was recalled from his judgeship over the summer after his California community became outraged over the lenient sentence he gave convicted sexual assaulter Brock Turner.
    • Now, the former judge is calling on his supporters to help pay the $135,000 he owes in legal fees. 
    • Persky was the first judge to be recalled in the state in 86 years.

    The California judge who was ousted from office for his lenient sentencing of convicted sexual assaulter Brock Turner is now asking his supporters to help him pay his legal fees.

    Former Superior Court judge Aaron Persky came under fire in June 2016 when he sentenced Turner to just six months in prison after the Stanford University student was found guilty of sexually assaulting an unconscious woman outside a frat party on campus. Turner ended up serving just three months.

    A few months after the controversial sentencing, Stanford Law professor Michele Dauber started a campaign to have Persky recalled. That effort proved fruitful this past June, when more than 60% of Santa Clara County voters voted to kick Persky out of office. It was the first time in 86 years that a California judge had been ousted from the job before their term was up.

    Read more:Brock Turner is set to be released from jail Friday after serving half of his sentence

    As part of the recall, Persky must now pay the $130,000 in legal fees that Dauber's team incurred during the recall effort. Instead of paying the fee himself, Persky sent out one last email to his supporters (a copy of which was obtained by the Mercury News) asking them to donate to his campaign so he could use the funds to pay off the bill.

    "My campaign committee has spent all its resources fighting the recall, and now must pay $135,000 to satisfy the attorney fees order, which is due by December 31," the email read, in part. "I am writing to ask you to make a contribution to that effort."

    According to the Mercury News, Persky collected more than $840,000 in campaign donations but spent it all trying to block the recall effort.

    James McManis, whose law firm represented Persky for free during the ordeal, defended the call for donations to the Mercury News.

    "There's nothing wrong with asking people, and people will pay or they won't," McManis said. "I hope this works out for him. He's been punished more than enough."

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: Drinking too much water could be surprisingly hazardous to your health

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    donald trump

    • Trump administration officials have been trying to treat the arrest of Huawei chief financial officer Meng Wanzhou and the US-China trade talks as two separate issues.
    • Trump undermined that argument on Tuesday by suggesting Meng could be used as a bargaining chip in the trade talks.
    • "I would certainly intervene if I thought it was necessary," Trump told Reuters.

    President Donald Trump has once again created a potential headache for his economic team in talks with China and thrown a wrench into a dayslong effort to keep negotiations on track.

    Since Canada arrested Meng Wanzhou — the chief financial officer of Chinese tech giant Huawei — Trump's economic team has taken pains to separate the issue from the ongoing trade negotiations. But Trump contradicted those efforts during an interview with Reuters on Tuesday.

    "If I think it's good for what will be certainly the largest trade deal ever made — which is a very important thing — what’s good for national security — I would certainly intervene if I thought it was necessary," Trump said.

    The statement goes against comments from National Economic Council Director Larry Kudlow and US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer, the leader of negotiations with Beijing.

    "This is a criminal justice matter. It is totally separate from anything that I work on or anything that the trade policy people in the administration work on," Lighthizer told CBS' "Face the Nation" on Sunday. "So, for us, it's unrelated, it's criminal justice."

    Kudlow offered a similar assessment during an interview on "Fox News Sunday."

    "I might be wrong," he said. "I can't predict the future on this thing, but there are different channels, and I think they will be viewed that way for quite some time."

    Chinese officials have also attempted to keep the two issues separate, directing most of their ire at Canada since the arrest.

    By quarantining Meng's arrest from the trade negotiations, the Trump team was hoping to achieve some success on trade while continuing a broader effort to address China's growing influence in technology and geopolitics. But with Trump mixing the two issues, advisers may find it harder to set the broader campaign aside in the trade talks.

    Additionally, some analysts and observers have argued that Trump using a national security and justice issue as a bargaining chip in trade negotiations would undermine the US' justice system and rule of law

    Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau referenced these fears when he was asked about Trump's comments on Wednesday.

    "Regardless of what goes on in other countries, Canada is, and will always remain, a country of the rule of law," Trudeau told reporters.

    Chrystia Freeland, Canada's minister of foreign affairs, pushed back even harder on Trump's comments.

    "Our extradition partners should not seek to politicize the extradition process or use it for ends other than be pursuit of justice," she said.

    US Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross attempted some damage control Wednesday, telling reporters at the White House that the president had not made a decision.

    "Let's see what he actually decides," Ross said Wednesday. "Let's see where we go from there. This is a matter that’s in litigation right now."

    Meng was arrested in Canada on December 1 and charged with violating US sanctions on Iran. According to prosecutors at Meng's bail hearing, Huawei misled investors and others about connections to a second company that was still making sales to Iran.

    A Canadian judge ordered Meng released on bail Tuesday but with tight restrictions, including ankle monitoring. The Huawei executive's extradition to the US is expected to take months.

    The arrest came the same day that Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping had dinner at the G20 summit in Buenos Aires, Argentina, and hashed out a preliminary trade agreement.

    As part of the agreement, Trump delayed the escalation of tariffs on Chinese goods for 90 days while Xi agreed to increase purchases of US goods. The two sides also committed to working on a broader, more detailed trade agreement that addressed underlying Chinese economic practices like the theft of US intellectual property.

    The agreement was the first concrete step toward ending the US-China trade war. Roughly $360 billion worth of goods moving between the two countries are now subject to new tariffs imposed over the past six months.

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: Anthony Scaramucci claims Trump isn't a nationalist: 'He likes saying that because it irks these intellectual elitists'

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    amazon protest nyc 7621

    • New York City Council member Ben Kallos tried to criticize Amazon's privacy practices as part of a public hearing on its HQ2 project on Wednesday.
    • He asked how the New York Post was able to see his Amazon wish list for an article the newspaper wrote about politicians using the online-shopping site.
    • In fact, Amazon wish lists are public and searchable via a user's email address or name by default.

    A New York City Council hearing about Amazon's HQ2 project hit an abrupt snag when member Ben Kallos tried to criticize the e-commerce giant's privacy practices by asking how the New York Post was able to see his Amazon wish list.

    Brian Huseman, Amazon's vice president of public policy, and Holly Sullivan, the company's head of worldwide economic development, were peppered with questions throughout the session. Huseman told Kallos he didn't know the specifics of the situation he was addressing. 

    Read more: 'Do you realize how out of touch that seems?': NYC lawmakers rail against Amazon for HQ2 helipad demand in heated hearing

    Carl Campanile of the New York Post had published an article about local politicians, including Kallos, using Amazon to shop despite their criticism of the HQ2 deal. The Post used the fact that Kallos and other Amazon critics like Rep.-elect Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez maintained wish lists on the site.

    "You have me dead to rights," Kallos told the newspaper. "I'm a dad. Tech companies make my life easier."

    During the hearing on Wednesday, Kallos asked the Amazon executives how the Post accessed his wish list, if the company is as good at privacy and security as has been said. It turns out his misunderstanding is many customers' misunderstanding.

    In fact, the default state for Amazon wish lists is public. It makes sense, as if you want people to buy you gifts, they have to be able to see what you want.

    But it runs a tricky line for celebrities and public figures who may not realize what they're doing. For example, if President Donald Trump's inner circle knew that what they were adding to their wish lists was public, Wired probably wouldn't have been able to publish a story describing their contents in 2017.

    Either way, it's likely a lesson a public official needs to learn only once.

    SEE ALSO: 'Amazon has got to go': Protesters swarmed City Hall as New York's city council held a contentious hearing about Amazon's HQ2 deal

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: This fish was sold for $1.8 million — here's why bluefin tuna is so expensive

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    michael cohen timeline 2x1

    • President Donald Trump's former longtime lawyer Michael Cohen has pleaded guilty.
    • It marked the climax of the Cohen controversy.
    • Here's the full timeline of events.

    President Donald Trump's former longtime lawyer Michael Cohen has been sentenced to three years in prison after pleading guilty to a list of federal crimes he committed while employed by the president. Cohen's sentencing culminates a months-long controversy surrounding his fraudulent conduct during the 2016 election. 

    During his December 12 sentencing, Cohen apologized for his actions and said he acted out of "blind loyalty" to Trump. Days earlier, on November 29, he pleaded guilty to lying to Congress about his involvement with the construction of the Trump Tower in Moscow.

    Earlier this year, on August 21, Cohen cut a deal with federal prosecutors and pleaded guilty to five counts of tax evasion, one count of making a false statement to a financial institution, and two counts related to campaign-finance violations. Cohen said under oath that Trump directed him to violate campaign-finance laws just before the 2016 presidential election to boost his candidacy.

    The latter two charges were in connection to payments to the former Playboy model Karen McDougal and the porn actress Stormy Daniels to silence their allegations of affairs with Trump.

    As Cohen said he committed the campaign-finance violations "at the direction of the candidate" and with the "purpose of influencing the election," there were audible gasps in the reporter-packed courtroom in lower Manhattan courtroom.

    The federal prosecutors Cohen struck a deal with said they had evidence corroborating Cohen's admissions, stemming from records obtained from him that included audio tapes, texts, phone records, emails, witnesses with knowledge of the transactions, and records from The National Enquirer.

    Later in the week, The Wall Street Journal reported, federal prosecutors investigating Cohen granted immunity to Trump Organization CFO Allen Weisselberg and American Media Inc. CEO David Pecker, who struck the deal with McDougal.

    Cohen faced 65 years in prison, but the deal narrowed that sentence down to a much more palatable three years.

    Lanny Davis, one of Cohen's attorneys, told Business Insider after Cohen pleaded guilty that Cohen felt "pain for his family" that he could go to prison but relief that the plea deal was done. Cohen's also not done opening up on what he knows about Trump, Davis said.

    "This is the time he knows he's going to jail, and he feels liberated that he can finally speak his mind about his concerns about Donald Trump without a criminal lawyer telling him to 'be quiet' because 'you'll upset the prosecutors,'" he said.

    Moving forward, all eyes are on what happens next, particularly for Trump.

    "The plea, under oath, establishes that the president was a co-conspirator in the campaign violations to which Cohen pleaded guilty," Philip Allen Lacovara, who served as counsel to the special prosecutors investigating President Richard Nixon's role in the Watergate scandal, told The New York Times.

    Before Nixon resigned from office, a grand jury named him an unindicted coconspirator. Lacovara said Trump had "technically" become that as well.

    Though Cohen implicated Trump in multiple felonies, it appears highly unlikely Trump will be indicted in this instance — at least while he is still in office.

    Here's the full timeline of events in the Cohen investigation:


    SEE ALSO: Democrats are still incredibly cautious about discussing Trump's impeachment even after 2 of his top aides have been convicted

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: Anthony Scaramucci claims Trump isn't a nationalist: 'He likes saying that because it irks these intellectual elitists'

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    silicon valley h1-b

    • Silicon Valley, a vital part of America's economic edge, is the global center of the digital revolution.
    • But back in the late 1970s, the center of technology revolution wasn’t guaranteed to occur in the US.
    • H-1B visas and skilled foreign workers changed that. 
    • After the US repealed immigration quotas in 1965 and the H-1B visa was created in 1990, US companies could recruit globally, leading the country to become destination for global science, math, and computer science talent.
    • President Trump's administration is discouraging foreign workers from applying to work legally in the US, and that could lead the US to lose its status as a leader in the tech world. 

    Silicon Valley is a vital catalyst for America’s economic edge. It is the global center of the digital revolution shaping the 21st century, and its location in the US established our country as the leader of that revolution. The country reaps the economic benefits of having some of the largest and most innovative technology companies and research centers housed within our borders.

    But back in the late 1970s, the center of technology revolution wasn’t guaranteed to occur in the US.

    At the time, top computer science talent was scattered across the globe, and the industry needed a place where the best and brightest could gather to collaborate and innovate. It could have been anywhere — but Silicon Valley ended up in America.


    The answer, in large part, is because the US opened its doors to skilled foreign workers.

    After 1965, when the US repealed the Immigration Act of 1924 — which limited the number of people who could emigrate from each country — America’s visa system allowed a remarkable amount of global talent to gather within our borders, including in burgeoning tech centers like Santa Clara County in California.

    silicon valley h1-b

    As a result, the US became a destination for global science, math, and computer science talent during the second half of the 20th century.

    A significant amount of these talented workers traveled to our shores from India. Between 1973 and 1977, more than 60 percent of the India Institute of Technology in Mumbai’s top quartile of electrical engineering graduates moved to the United States, which helped to revolutionize the landscape of the American technology industry. Many of these graduates accepted jobs in the region we now know as Silicon Valley.

    When President George H.W. Bush signed the Immigration Act of 1990, a new type of visa was born: the H-1B. The new law institutionalized a program that allows employers to hire highly skilled foreign workers on a temporary basis for roles that require specialized knowledge. As a result, US companies were able to recruited from around the globe.

    Read more: Silicon Valley's immigrant tech workers are scared of buying homes after Trump's travel ban

    During my time as a US senator, I was proud to support legislation that expanded the annual cap on H-1B visas from 65,000 to 195,000 to meet the explosive growth of the US information technology sector, growth that ensured America would continue global technology leadership.

    Silicon Valley and other high tech corridors — from Austin to Boston and various areas around the country — continue to rely on a symbiotic relationship between American and skilled foreign workers that enhances the contemporary tech scene.

    A 2017 report by The Silicon Valley Competitiveness and Innovation Project found 57% of the San Francisco Bay’s tech workforce was born outside of the US. In a tight labor market with low unemployment, these workers help fill a critical worker shortage that has allowed US firms to remain strong and created thousands of jobs for US workers.

    This role becomes particularly crucial in light of the recent White House Council of Economic Advisers’ report highlighting the growing skills gap facing American companies.

    And America’s business leaders recognize how invaluable these workers are to their companies. Just last month, leaders of 59 US companies, including Apple CEO Tim Cook and Jamie Dimon, CEO of JPMorgan Chase, signed onto a letter coordinated by the Business Roundtable and addressed to Secretary of Homeland Security Kirstjen Nielsen, arguing that “As the federal government undertakes its legitimate review of immigration rules, it must avoid making changes that disrupt the lives of thousands of law-abiding and skilled employees, and that inflict substantial harm on US competitiveness.”

    Read more: Highly skilled foreign workers are still flowing into the US — and in some cities, they make more than $100,000 yearly

    In stating his objectives, President Trump said in Phoenix in 2016 that “it is our right as a sovereign nation to choose immigrants that we think are the likeliest to thrive and flourish and love us”. But the regulations being promulgated by government agencies, like US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), are not consistent with these objectives and could discourage high-skilled workers from applying to work legally in the US or cause them to flee to other countries.  

    As we continue to debate the best ways to reformour immigrationsystem, we must not sacrifice our ability to attract the most talented people on the planet to contribute to our nation’s prosperity and work within our borders. Without their efforts, we would impair the factors that have made our economy so formidable on a global stage for more than a century.

    Spencer Abraham served as a US Senator from Michigan from 1995 to 2001, and was Secretary of Energy for George W. Bush from 2001 to 2005. 

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: Anthony Scaramucci claims Trump isn't a nationalist: 'He likes saying that because it irks these intellectual elitists'

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    This is a preview of a research report from Business Insider Intelligence, Business Insider's premium research service. To learn more about Business Insider Intelligence, click here.

    Edge computing solutions are key tools that help companies grapple with rising data volumes across industries. These types of solutions are critical in allowing companies to gain more control over the data their IoT devices create and in reducing their reliance on (and the costs of) cloud computing.

    edge popularity

    These systems are becoming more sought-after — 40% of companies that provide IoT solutions reported that edge computing came up more in discussion with customers in 2017 than the year before, according to Business Insider Intelligence’s 2017 Global IoT Executive Survey. But companies need to know whether they should look into edge computing solutions, and what in particular they can hope to gain from shifting data processing and analysis from the cloud to the edge.

    There are three particular types of problems that edge computing solutions are helping to combat across industries:

    • Security issues. Edge computing can limit the exposure of critical data by minimizing how often it’s transmitted. Further, they pre-process data, so there’s less data to secure overall.
    • Access issues. These systems help to provide live insights regardless of whether there’s a network connection available, greatly expanding where companies and organizations can use connected devices and the data they generate.
    • Transmission efficiency. Edge computing solutions process data where it’s created so less needs to be sent to the cloud, leading to lower cloud storage requirements and reduced transmission cost.

    In this report, Business Insider Intelligence examines how edge computing is reducing companies' reliance on cloud computing in three key industries: healthcare, telecommunications, and the automotive space. We explore how these systems mitigate issues in each sector by helping to efficiently process growing troves of data, expanding the potential realms of IoT solutions a company can offer, and bringing enhanced computing capability to remote and mobile platforms.

    Here are some key takeaways from the report:

    • In healthcare, companies and organizations are using edge computing to improve telemedicine and remote monitoring capabilities.
    • For telecommunications companies, edge computing is helping to reduce network congestion and enabling a shift toward the IoT platform market.
    • And in the automotive space, edge computing systems are enabling companies to increase the capabilities of connected cars and trucks and approach autonomy.

    In full, the report:

    • Explores the key advantages edge computing solutions can provide.
    • Highlights the circumstances when companies should look into edge systems.
    • Identifies key vendors and partners in specific industries while showcasing case studies of successful edge computing programs.

      Subscribe to a Premium pass to Business Insider Intelligence and gain immediate access to:

      This report and more than 250 other expertly researched reports
      Access to all future reports and daily newsletters
      Forecasts of new and emerging technologies in your industry
      And more!
      Learn More

      Purchase & download the full report from our research store

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    boy girl scouts

    • The Boy Scouts of America may declare bankruptcy soon, according to the Wall Street Journal.
    • Chapter 11 bankruptcy may allow them to stall the sexual harassment lawsuits against the organization and settle with the victims.

    The Boy Scouts of America is considering bankruptcy while it's fending off numerous sexual harassment lawsuits, according to the Wall Street Journal, which cited people familiar with the matter.

    Bankruptcy would offer the organization some legal relief. It's currently battling several lawsuits filed by former scouts who allege that staff members or volunteers sexually abused or harassed them. A bankruptcy filing may allow the organization to ask judges to stall those lawsuits as it goes through the Chapter 11 process. During that period, it could potentially settle with the victims who sued.

    In a statement provided to INSIDER, BSA Chief Scout Executive Mike Surbaugh said the organization was committed to compensating "victims who suffered abuse during their time in Scouting" and that it was working to stop future abuse.

    "We care deeply about all victims of child sex abuse and we are steadfast in our belief that one incident of child abuse is one too many," Surbaugh wrote. "We sincerely apologize to anyone who was harmed during their time in our programs."

    Boy Scout leadership has hired the law firm Sidley Austin law firm to handle its possible Chapter 11 filing, according to the Journal. The law firm didn't immediately respond to INSIDER's request for comment.

    Read more:The Boy Scouts is officially changing its name to just 'Scouts' as it starts to accept girls

    The sexual abuse allegations against the Boy Scouts of America stretches back decades, but the issue has become more pressing in recent years, partly because of the organization's slump in membership. Earlier this year, the organization announced it would begin accepting girls and change its name to Scouts BSA in a bid to attract more members.

    This post has been updated with a statement from the Boy Scouts of America.

    Correction: A previous headline for this article said that the Boy Scouts of America considered using bankruptcy to stop sexual harassment lawsuits. We have removed the language.

    For more stories, head to INSIDER's homepage.

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: The reason some men can't grow full beards, according to a dermatologist

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    steph curry

    • Golden State Warriors point guard Stephen Curry said on Wednesday that his comments about not believing the moon-landing were a joke.
    • Curry said people who look up to him should make sure they do their homework after he was criticized for the influence his comments could have.
    • Curry also said he would accept NASA's invite to go to their facilities and see evidence of the moon landing.

    Golden State Warriors point guard Stephen Curry on Wednesday told ESPN's Nick Friedell that his comments about not believing the moon landing were a joke.

    Curry had said on The Ringer's "Winging It" podcast with Andre Iguodala, Kent Bazemore, and Vince Carter that he didn't think NASA's moon landing was real.

    NASA responded on Tuesday by inviting Curry to their facilities and offering to show him moon rocks and tell him more about the expedition to the moon. Curry told Friedell that he would take NASA up on their offer.

    "One thousand percent," Curry said. "Obviously I was joking when I was talking on the podcast."

    Curry said he hadn't responded the coverage of his comments because he was "silently protesting" the outrage over it.

    "I was silently protesting how stupid it was that people actually took that quote and made it law as, 'Oh my God, he's a fake moon landing truther,' whatever you want to call it, yada, yada, yada. So I was silently protesting that part about it, how the story took a life of its own."

    Some criticized Curry for the comments, the latest in a developing trend of NBA players espousing conspiracy theories. Boston Celtics point guard Kyrie Irving had previously said he believed the Earth was flat. Cleveland Cavaliers guard Jordan Clarkson said he thought dinosaurs were pets for giant humans.

    On Tuesday, ESPN's "Pardon the Interruption" hosts Tony Kornheiser and Michael Wilbon blasted Curry for his comments, calling them "embarrassing" and a segue into further historical denials about slavery and the Holocaust.

    Read more: ESPN's Michael Wilbon and Tony Kornheiser blast Stephen Curry for saying the moon landing was fake: 'Does that mean you don't believe in slavery?'

    Curry apologized for potentially misleading younger fans that look up to him and believe what he says.

    "I am definitely going to take [NASA] up on their offer. I am going to educate myself firsthand on everything that NASA has done and shine a light on their tremendous work over the years. And hopefully, people understand that education is power, informing yourself is power. For kids out there that hang on every word that we say, which is important, understand that you should not believe something just because somebody says it. You should do your homework and understand what you actually believe."

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: The legendary economist who predicted the housing crisis says the US will win the trade war

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    The Insider Picks team writes about stuff that we think you'll like. Business Insider has affiliate partnerships, so we get a share of the revenue from your purchase.

    sfl amazon prime free two hour delivery miami baltimore 20150319

    Everything seems to get more chaotic around the holidays — there's a rush at work and your calendar continues to fill up with events and parties to attend. Suddenly, it's the week before Christmas and you realize you forgot to find a gift. The good news is, you're not alone — plenty of us fall victim to last-minute gifting. You can still find thoughtful gifts that they'll appreciate, even just a few days before the holidays — we even have a list if you need some inspiration

    So you don't need to worry about finding the right gift, but you do need to worry about making sure that gift ends up under the tree. Luckily, if you like to shop online, many retailers have "buy by" dates that let you know when you need to purchase a product to guarantee it arrives by December 25. 

    Amazon is one of the major retailers that's released a detailed holiday delivery calendar.

    It outlines what shipping options are available, and until when, to ensure delivery before Christmas. If you have Amazon Prime, you'll have a longer window for delivery. Even if you aren't a Prime member, you can sign up for a 30-day free trial of the service now, so you can take advantage of the holiday shipping options. The following dates only apply to the contiguous US, and of course, it's a good idea to double check the delivery dates in your cart at checkout to be sure you'll get your gifts in time.

    • Monday, December 17: Last day for standard shipping (Free for Prime members on qualifying orders. Learn more).
    • Saturday, December 22: Last day for Prime free two-day shipping (No minimum purchase. Learn more).
    • Sunday, December 23: Last day for Prime free one-day shipping (In select areas, on qualifying orders over $35. Learn more).
    • Monday, December 24: Last day for Prime free same-day delivery (In select areas, on qualifying orders over $35; items ordered before noon will arrive by 9 p.m. Learn more). Also the last day for free two-hour delivery with Prime Now (In select areas. Learn more).

    Happy shopping!

    Still shopping for gifts? Browse all of Insider Picks' 2017 holiday gift guides here, or scan this list:

    Join the conversation about this story »

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    amazon ceo jeff bezos blue origin

    • As Amazon continues to grow, traditional brick-and-mortar retailers are suffering losses.
    • However, contrary to the idea that Amazon is killing the retail industry, it could actually be saving it.
    • Amazon leverages data in smart ways to create exceptionally accurate profiles for shoppers — and this is a lesson that any retailer can learn from.
    • It's forcing the retail industry to become more efficient. The stores that survive will be the ones that adapt. 

    For years, retail has been caught in a repetitive trend cycle: Amazon targets specific industries — pharmacies, book dealers, department stores, and grocers — and slays brick and mortar firms like Sears, JCPenney, Toys R Us, and Barnes & Noble. It's aggressive online growth has changed the stakes and put enormous pressure on traditional sellers.

    However, the popular narrative that Amazon is the reason retailers are struggling is a fallacy. Amazon is not killing the retail business — it's saving it.

    Amazon is holding a mirror up to retailers, forcing a bloated industry to become more efficient.

    The most talked-about challenge facing many stores is dealing with their sprawling real estate footprints. Vast property holdings that were once considered hard assets are becoming dangerous liabilities.

    The costs of sustaining these outposts is climbing fast as customers migrate online and downward pressure on prices makes it harder to profit from many locations. In 2017, retailers tried to cut their overheads and 105 million square feet of retail space closed across the U.S. — the most ever recorded.  

    Retailers are also dealing with inefficiencies that have built up in their supply chains and promotional strategies over the years. Many large retailers started off as local businesses that grew regionally and then nationally. But inventory systems that function effectively for a dozen stores don't always scale up easily. Today's big retailers struggle to track what inventory they have, where it's located, and where it's going. The problems are small and hard to find, but dangerous in aggregate. In an industry with thin profit margins, full percentages of profit can be lost by poorly stocked shelves or badly targeted promotions – profit that could be reinvested in staff or technology upgrades.  

    Set against this, Amazon has two fundamental strengths: First, it collects enormous quantities of data. Second, it deploys cutting-edge AI to make sense of it all.  

    For Amazon, every customer interaction is a learning experience that helps the company further refine its eerily accurate profiles. It takes note of what each customer searched for, what they bought, and what they skipped.

    The collection and sorting of that data is a massive undertaking on its own. But Amazon goes a step further: It not only knows what products are likely to sell, but it can predict how much of each item will sell, and in which geographical areas. Its AI algorithms are simply more efficient at determining what products are needed than any human-controlled system.

    Amazon's AI also keeps the right amount of inventory at the right distribution hubs so the product gets halfway to you before you even click "order."

    This is a gigantic competitive advantage for Amazon, but its lessons are transferable and retailers need to take note: Any company can get better at collecting and organizing customer data and drawing lessons from it.

    That data, once properly analyzed and understood, can enable real-time decisions regarding inventory and logistics, ensuring the right products are available, eliminating waste, and helping the retailer stay competitive.

    Take A.S. Watson Group, one of the world's largest health and beauty retailers – and, in full disclosure, a Rubikloud customer. The firm's global network of over 14,000 stores creates huge amounts of raw data, but it was struggling to use this trove of information to make its business more effective.

    The only way to resolve the issue was to automate and improve its promotional planning, inventory allocation, general pricing, and loyalty management business processes using new AI machine learning applications. The Herculean task they undertook to tap into this data was difficult, but now, according to internal estimates, A.S. Watson Group expects their data clean-up to save about 38 percent over three years, compared with its previous processes.

    The transition will be a jarring one for many companies – as it was for A.S. Watson Group – and not everyone will be able to successfully adapt. Retailers that wait too long to adopt new strategies risk falling so far behind that they will never be able to catch up. When the surviving retail giants of tomorrow look back, they'll know what they have to thank for their success: the Amazon model. 

    Kerry Liu is the founder and CEO of Rubikloud, a Toronto-based AI technology company.

    SEE ALSO: Here's why accepting billions of dollars in incentives for HQ2 could be dangerous for Amazon

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: The true story behind the name 'Black Friday' is much darker than you may have thought

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    Clark Valberg, CEO

    • On Tuesday, design platform InVision announced it has raised $115 million in series F funding. 
    • This year, the seven-year-old company will cross $100 million in annual recurring revenue, and CEO Clark Valberg says the secret is that the product has spread through the word of mouth in the design community.
    • InVision has no plans to go public as of now, but Valberg wants the company to work to become fit enough for larger markets.
    • "I think of IPO readiness as a business fitness, even if we never IPO," Valberg told Business Insider. "If we all train for the triathlon, we'd all look great, and we could cancel it at anytime and eat pizza."

    InVision, a startup whose online design platform is used by Adidas, Starbucks and Ikea, has built a thriving business helping companies look their best in the eyes of customers.

    So it's no surprise that as InVision closes a $115 million round of funding, CEO and cofounder Clark Valberg is focused on his company's appearance. Valberg wants to make sure InVision is able to perform like a business that's ready for an IPO so he's putting his seven-year-old company through a rigorous fitness regimen that he likens to training for a triathlon. 

    "I'm not pushing for IPO," Valberg told Business Insider. "I think of IPO readiness as a business fitness: even if we never IPO, if we all train for the triathlon, we'd all look great, and we could cancel it at anytime and eat pizza."

    After the most recent round led by Spark Capital and joined by Goldman Sachs and existing investors, InVision has raised a total of $350 million in venture funding. This gives the startup, which has no plans to go public at this time, a valuation of $1.9 billion. And this year, the company says it will cross $100 million in annual recurring revenue.

    While the average person might not use InVision in daily life, InVision is the design platform behind the websites and apps of brands that people see everyday, such as Adidas, Amazon, IKEA, Netflix, Starbucks, Uber and more.

    The secret is how InVision grew so fast is that its product often spreads through word of mouth, Valberg says. Designers use InVision, and if they like it, they recommend it to their other designer friends, and that's how the product proliferates quickly.

    "Make sure [the product is] doing as much of the heavy lifting as possible," Valberg said. "If you have a significant sales team, try to get your product to do as much of the sale as possible."

    When an app's design is good, the experience is seamless and people barely notice the design. But when it's bad, it's obvious. Whether it's having to click through too many pages or illegible fonts, bad design can cause a user endless frustration. Still, convincing some larger, older companies why design is important has been a challenge, Valberg says.

    Big D companies and smaller D companies

    At InVision, employees refer to companies that are design-forward "big D" companies, while companies where design is less of a priority are "smaller D" companies.

    And when it comes to "smaller D" companies — oftentimes banks or financial institutions — InVision may have to send an entire design team over to explain in person why better app or website design can be the difference in millions more in revenue. These teams have to start a dialogue with the company and create some example design frameworks to win it over.

    Read more: All 700 employees at this startup work remotely. Here's why one of its top execs says it's given them a major edge over the competition.

    With its latest funding, InVision plans to invest in building a design community with educational resources for its customers, as well as double down on products like screen design tool InVision Studio, which was recently released in version 1.0 and has been downloaded hundreds of thousands of times.

    For startups looking to create a sustainable business, Valberg advises that they focus on their product and improving relationships with customers. And of course, better design is a must.

    "Ultimately, that customer experience lives on the screen," Valberg said. "The things that people like about your product are design qualities. It's an adventure. These things make or break. The rest of the market is waking up to the idea that design is a deciding factor in winning the heart and mind of every customer on the planet."

    SEE ALSO: VMware's newest Amazon partnership proves that the $65 billion company can thrive in the cloud wars after all, says Wall Street

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    NOW WATCH: The legendary economist who predicted the housing crisis says the US will win the trade war

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    Michael Cohen and Donald Trump

    • Republicans have downplayed the fact President Donald Trump has been implicated in serious crimes by federal prosecutors and Michael Cohen. 
    • Democrats have said no one is above the law in response to the implications against Trump. 
    • On Wednesday, the president's former lawyer and fixer was sentenced to three years in prison for the nine charges to which he's pleaded guilty.

    The contrast in reactions from Republicans and Democrats on the sentencing of Michael Cohen and the potential legal repercussions for President Donald Trump could not be more stark.

    A number of top Republican lawmakers have shrugged off the fact Trump has been implicated in serious crimes by his former personal lawyer and federal prosecutors. Meanwhile, Democrats have rallied behind the message that no one is above the law – not even the president. 

    Republican Sen. Chuck Grassley on Wednesday said Cohen is a liar who cannot be trusted, echoing recent statements made by Trump. During a conference call with reporters, Grassley said, "To what extent do you want to put confidence in what a liar says?"

    Read more:Here's a glimpse at Trump's decades long history of business ties to Russia

    Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham, a close ally of Trump who will become chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee in January, also downplayed Wednesday's developments. "Any time a former lawyer of yours goes to jail it's probably not a good day, but I have yet to see any evidence coming from Mr. Cohen of collusion,"Graham said

    In an interview on the matter on Tuesday, Republican Sen. Orrin Hatch took things a step further when he said he did not care that federal prosecutors implicated Trump in felonies. 

    "I don’t care, all I can say is he is doing a good job as president. ... I don’t think he was involved in crimes, but even then, you know, you can make anything a crime under the current laws if you want to,"Hatch said

    Comparatively, Democrats have stopped just short of labeling Trump a criminal. 

    Democratic Rep. Ted Lieu on Wednesday told CNN, "Michael Cohen specifically says that Donald Trump directed him to make these campaign-finance payments. That means we have a person sitting in the White House right now who is essentially an unindicted coconspirator."

    Similarly, Democratic Rep. Adam Schiff tweeted saying Cohen's sentencing shows "nobody is above the law," including "the President himself."

    Read more: Trump has been implicated in several federal crimes, but here's why experts say he hasn't faced legal consequences

    Recent developments surrounding Cohen and Trump have also increased discussions on impeachment. 

    Democratic Rep. Jerry Nadler, likely the next chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, told CNN on Sunday that the campaign finance violations Cohen implicated Trump in would be "impeachable offenses."

    "Whether they're important enough to justify an impeachment is a different question," Nadler added. 

    Cohen pleaded guilty in August to eight federal crimes, including tax fraud, bank fraud, and campaign-finance violations. The campaign finance violations were related to hush money payments to two women who allegedly had affairs with Trump. Cohen said he made the payments at Trump's direction in order to influence the election. 

    Federal prosecutors in a sentencing memo last Friday endorsed Cohen's allegation, stating he made the payments "in coordination with and at the direction" of Trump. 

    Justice Department policy says a sitting president cannot be indicted, but that is not settled law and there is now a broader discussion about what legal repercussions Trump might face moving forward.

    More recently, Cohen also pleaded guilty to lying to Congress about his involvement in a plan to build Trump Tower in Moscow. This came after a new plea deal with special counsel Robert Mueller, who is investigating Russian interference in the 2016 US presidential election and possible collusion with and the Trump campaign.

    Trump denies collusion occurred, refers to the Mueller probe as a "witch hunt," and has called Cohen a liar

    On Wednesday, the president's former lawyer and fixer was sentenced to three years in prison over the nine counts he pleaded guilty to.

    SEE ALSO: Michael Cohen says he felt it was his 'duty' to 'cover up' Trump's 'dirty deeds,' is sentenced to 3 years in prison

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    NOW WATCH: Anthony Scaramucci claims Trump isn't a nationalist: 'He likes saying that because it irks these intellectual elitists'

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    • An Australian businessman has undertaken a $500 million project building a replica of the ill-fated 1912 Titanic cruise ship.
    • The design of the new vessel, dubbed Titanic ll, will be a close replica of the original, right down to the dimensions, architecture, and the layout of the rooms.
    • The ship will be able to accommodate 2,400 passengers and will feature modern day navigation technology and safety systems, including an adequate number of lifeboats and life jackets for passengers. 
    • Ticket prices are not yet available, but the ship could set sail as soon as 2022, USA Today reports.
    • Here's how sailing aboard the Titanic ll could compare to the original Titanic.

    The story of the Titanic is one that has intrigued many for years — and for those who are most entranced, there may soon be a way to relive the glory and wonder of one of the most luxurious cruise liners in the world.

    By 2022, a new ship modeled after the Titanic could set sail for 2,400 passengers, thanks to Australian businessman Clive Palmer, who shelled out $500 million for the project.

    The Titanic ll, though outfitted with 21st century navigation and safety technology, will be a close replica of the original vessel.

    Here's how sailing aboard the Titanic ll will compare to how passengers aboard the Titanic in 1912 traveled.

    SEE ALSO: A $500 million replica of the original Titanic could set sail across the Atlantic in 2022

    The RMS Titanic was the largest passenger ship of its time in the early 1900s, and the Titanic's builders called it "unsinkable."

    Source: CNN

    The ocean liner spanned 882 feet in length and was 106 feet wide.

    Source: CNN

    Compare that to the largest cruise ship today, and it's dwarfed in comparison. The Royal Caribbean's gargantuan "floating city" Symphony of the Seas runs 1,188 feet in length and spans 215 feet across at its widest part.

    Source: Cruise Mapper

    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    • After a shaky start, wearables like smartwatches and fitness trackers have gained traction in healthcare, with US consumer use jumping from 9% in 2014 to 33% in 2018.
    • More than 80% of consumers are willing to wear tech that measures health data — and penetration should continue to climb.
    • The maturation of the wearable market will put more wearables in the hands of consumers and US businesses.

    The US healthcare industry as it exists today is not sustainable. An aging patient population and rising burden of chronic disease have caused healthcare costs to skyrocket and left providers struggling to keep up with demand for care. 

    FORECAST: Fitness Tracker and Health-Based Wearable Installed Base

    Meanwhile, digital technologies in nearly every consumer experience outside of healthcare have raised patients’ expectations for good service to be higher than ever.

    One of the key mechanisms through which healthcare providers can finally evolve their outdated practices and exceed these expectations is wearable technology.

    Presently, 33% of US consumers have adopted wearables, such as smartwatches and fitness trackers, to play a more active role in managing their health. In turn, insurers, providers, and employers are poised to become just as active leveraging these devices – and the data they capture – to abandon the traditional reimbursement model and improve patient outcomes with personalized, value-based care.

    Adoption is going to keep climbing, as more than 80% of consumers are willing to wear tech that measures health data, according to Accenture — though they have reservations about who exactly should access it.

    A new report from Business Insider Intelligence, Business Insider’s premium research service, follows the growing adoption of wearables and breadth of functions they offer to outline how healthcare organizations and stakeholders can overcome this challenge and add greater value with wearable technology.

    For insurers, providers, and employers, wearables present three distinct opportunities:

    • Insurers can use wearable data to enhance risk assessments and drive customer lifetime value. One study shows that wearables can incentivize healthier behavior associated with a 30% reduction in risk of cardiovascular events and death.
    • Providers can use the remote patient monitoring capabilities of wearable technology to improve chronic disease management, lessen the burden of staff shortages, and navigate a changing reimbursement model. And since 90% of patients no longer feel obligated to stay with providers that don't deliver a satisfactory digital experience, wearables could help to attract and retain them.
    • Employers can combine wearables with cash incentives to lower insurance costs and improve employee productivity. For example, The Greater Dayton Regional Transit Authority yielded $5 million in healthcare cost savings through a wearable-based employee wellness program.

    Want to Learn More?

    The Wearables in US Healthcare Report details the current and future market landscape of wearables in the US healthcare sector. It explores the key drivers behind wearable usage by insurers, healthcare providers, and employers, and the opportunities wearables afford to each of these stakeholders. 

    By outlining a successful case study from each stakeholder, the report highlights best practices in implementing wearables to reduce healthcare claims, improve patient outcomes, and drive insurance cost savings, as well as how the evolution of the market will create new, untapped opportunities for businesses.



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    This is a preview of a research report from Business Insider Intelligence, Business Insider's premium research service. To learn more about Business Insider Intelligence, click here.

    bii big tech in healthcare ALL Four

    The healthcare industry is undergoing a profound transformation. Costs are skyrocketing, consumer demand for more accessible care is growing rapidly, and healthcare companies are unable to keep up. 

    Health organizations are increasingly turning to tech companies to facilitate this transformation in care delivery and lower health expenditures. The potential for tech-led digital health initiatives to help healthcare providers and insurers deliver safer, more efficient, and cost-effective care is significant. For healthcare organizations of all types, the collection, analyses, and application of patient data can minimize avoidable service use, improve health outcomes, and promote patient independence, which can assuage swelling costs.

    For their part, the "Big Four" tech companies — Google-parent Alphabet, Amazon, Apple, and Microsoft — see an opportunity to tap into the lucrative health market. These same players are accelerating their efforts to reshape healthcare by developing and collaborating on new tools for consumers, medical professionals, and insurers.

    In this report, Business Insider Intelligence explores the key strengths and offerings the Big Four will bring to the healthcare industry, as well as their approaches into the market. We'll then explore how these services and solutions are creating opportunities for health systems and insurers. Finally, the report will outline the barriers that are inhibiting the adoption and usage of the Big Four tech companies’ offerings and how these barriers can be circumvented.

    Here are some of the key takeaways from the report:

    • Tech companies’ expertise in data management and analysis, along with their significant compute power, can help support healthcare payers, health systems, and consumers by providing a broader overview of how health is accessed and delivered.
    • Each of the Big Four tech companies — vying for a piece of the lucrative healthcare market — is leaning on their specific field of expertise to develop tools and solutions for consumers, providers, and payers.
      • Alphabet is focused on leveraging its dominance in data storage and analytics to become the leader in population health.
      • Amazon is leaning on its experience as a distribution platform for medical supplies, and developing its AI-assistant Alexa as an in-home health concierge.
      • Apple is actively turning its consumer products into patient health hubs.
      • Microsoft is focusing on cloud storage and analytics to tap into precision medicine.
    • Health organizations can further tap into the opportunity presented by tech’s entry into healthcare by collaborating with tech giants to realize cost savings and bolster their top lines. But understanding how each tech giant is approaching healthcare is crucial.

     In full, the report:

    • Pinpoints the key themes and industry-wide shifts that are driving the transformation of healthcare in the US.
    • Defines the main healthcare businesses and strategies of the Big Four tech companies.
    • Highlights the biggest potential impacts of each of the Big Four’s healthcare strategies for health systems and insurers.
    • Discusses the potential barriers that will challenge the adoption of the Big Four tech companies’ initiatives and how these hurdles can be overcome.

    Subscribe to a Premium pass to Business Insider Intelligence and gain immediate access to:

    This report and more than 250 other expertly researched reports
    Access to all future reports and daily newsletters
    Forecasts of new and emerging technologies in your industry
    And more!
    Learn More

    Purchase & download the full report from our research store


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

    trust smart speaker makersSmart speakers comprise one of the fastest-growing device segments in the consumer technology market today. Ownership levels have nearly doubled from early 2017 to summer 2018. 

    With this rapid growth, there are a few pivotal questions that both companies looking to develop and sell smart speakers as well as those looking to sell products, deliver media, and offer access to services like banking over these devices need answers to in order to craft successful strategies. In particular, they need to know who is and isn’t buying smart speakers, and what consumers who own smart speakers are actually doing with them. 

    To offer these stakeholders insight, Business Insider Intelligence asked more than 500 US consumers about their knowledge of smart speakers, the devices they do or don’t own and what led them to their purchase decisions, as well as the tasks they’re using their smart speakers for.

    In this report, Business Insider Intelligence will look at the state of the smart speaker market and outline how each of the major device providers approaches the space. We will then focus on the key factors that affect whether or not someone owns one of these devices. Next, we will use our survey data to outline the reasons why people don’t own devices in order to offer guidance for who to target and how. Finally, we will discuss what consumers are actually doing with their smart speakers — specifically looking at how the devices are used and perceived in e-commerce, digital media, and banking — which can help companies determine how well they’re publicizing their smart speaker services and capabilities.

    The companies mentioned in this report are: Amazon, Google, Apple, Samsung, Facebook, Sonos, LG, Anker, Spotify, Pandora, Grubhub, Netflix, Hulu, Instagram, Snap.

    Here are some key takeaways from the report:

    • Despite their growing popularity, nearly half of respondents still don't own a device — which presents a long runway for adoption. Our survey data reveals a number of key factors that impact whether or not someone owns one of these devices, including income, gender, and age.
    • Smart speakers are establishing themselves as a key platform for e-commerce, media, and the smart home.
    • The introduction of a screen to some smart speakers will expand the possibilities for companies developing for the device — but developers will need to resist the compulsion to use speakers to accomplish too much.

    In full, the report:

    • Provides an overview of the key players and products in the smart speaker market.
    • Highlights critical adoption rates broken out by key factors that define the segment.
    • Identifies how consumers are using devices in important areas where companies in various industries are trying foster greater use of the voice interface.

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    John Kelly

    • President Donald Trump's third chief of staff will likely face a strenuous time in the White House amid a key point in the Russia investigations.
    • The highly publicized nature of the job and the potential for a highly publicized fallout adds more pressure to a potential successor.
    • Several candidates have been mentioned as potential successors — some more outside the box than others.

    After news broke that John Kelly, the former US Marine Corps general who became President Donald Trump's second chief of staff, would leave the White House by the end of the year, the focus shifted to who could be next.

    Trump's first pick, Mike Pence's chief of staff Nick Ayers, already turned the job down (and said he'll leave Pence's side next year), leaving Trump in a more challenging hunt than expected for a replacement.

    Here are a few candidates that have been thrown around in the last few days as potential Kelly successors:

    SEE ALSO: Nick Ayers will not replace White House chief of staff John Kelly as suspected

    Jared Kushner

    Trump is reportedly considering Jared Kushner, his son-in-law and adviser, for the job. 

    A top Republican close to the White House told HuffPost that Kushner, Ivanka Trump's husband, has made it to the president's shortlist. The source and two others close to the White House confirmed Kushner's interest for the job to HuffPost. 

    On Thursday, December 13, Trump told reporters he is down to five finalists, saying he was now interviewing candidates for the position. 

    Kushner and his wife have faced opposition from both inside and outside of the White House due to concerns about nepotism.

    Mark Meadows

    Trump has asked close advisers what they think of Rep. Mark Meadows as a potential replacement for Kelly, Axios reported on Sunday.

    Meadows, chairman of the ultra-conservative House Freedom Caucus and representative from North Carolina, told Politico that serving as Trump's chief of staff "would be an incredible honor."

    "The President has a long list of qualified candidates and I know he'll make the best selection for his administration and for the country," said Meadows, who has already been a close adviser to the president.

    (Update: On December 12, Meadows took his name out of the running for chief of staff.)

    Steven Mnuchin

    Steven Mnuchin, the Treasury secretary, has also been floated around as a potential chief of staff, according to Reuters.

    Reuters reported that Mnuchin, who has served the administration since February 2017, sees his role as Treasury secretary as best suited to help the president. However, The Washington Post reported that Mnuchin might change his mind and take the chief of staff position if Trump pleads with him. 

    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    drake kanye west

    Kanye West lashed out at Drake in a series of tweets Thursday, accusing him of being "fake" and denying he told anyone about Drake's son.

    West accused Drake of pretending to be friendly while hurling stinging insults behind his back. In a series of tweets, West said he'd been trying to meet with Drake for six months. But in that time, West suggested, Drake tried to make songs with Travis Scott and sneak insults about West on them. It's particularly personal since Scott is in a relationship with Kylie Jenner, the sister of West's wife Kim Kardashian-West.

    Drake also insulted Wests's 350 Boost shoes on the French Montana song "No Stylist," for which West demanded an apology.

    Kanye West

    West and Drake have historically been allies in most rap feuds, and at least treated each other with mutual respect in others. West even produced two of Drake's albums, and the two have sampled from each others' work.

    But their relationship crumbled in the fallout of Drake's feud with Pusha T, which culminated when Pusha T released his diss track "The Story of Adidon" in May. The song revealed that Drake had a son he'd never spoken about in public, forcing him to come clean about his child.

    Read more:Drake finally explains why he wore blackface in an old photo uncovered by a rival rapper

    In October, Drake said he confided with West about his son and suggested West betrayed him by telling Pusha T about it. West must have already known about Drake's accusation, because he denied it in a pair of cryptic tweets in September. Pusha T also denied that West told him about Drake's son.

    In his new series of tweets, West reiterated he didn't tell Pusha T about Drake's son. He also said Drake was "playing all these industry games" and suggested he was being an insincere friend by "sending purple emojis" when West was publicly struggling with mental health issues earlier this year.

    Read more:Drake thought Kanye West told people about his secret child but he was wrong — here's everything you need to know about the drama

    The impetus for West's tweets appeared to be Drake requesting his permission to use "Say What's Real" in a new project. The song sampled from West's song "Say You Will," so Drake requires Drake's his permission to use the song again.

    After a six-minute gap between tweets, West said Drake called him. West said he still hasn't cleared the rights to use "Say What's Real."

    Drake responded on Instagram with a string of laughing emojis on a black background.

    champagnepapi drake instagram kanye reaction

    In his tweets, West also appeared to confuse Drake and 50 Cent. He suggested Drake bought the "first two rows" at a Pusha T concert to spite him. In fact, it was 50 Cent who bought up the seats at the front of a Ja Rule concert "so they can be empty."

    Here's Kanye's tweetstorm in full:

    Visit INSIDER's homepage for more.

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    NOW WATCH: 7 things you shouldn't buy on Black Friday

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    jillian michaels

    • The holiday season can be stressful, despite trying to focus on your friends and family. 
    • Fitness expert Jillian Michaels spoke with INSIDER to give advice on how to have a happier holiday season. 
    • She recommends not spending money on gifts, going to holiday parties, and giving back to your community. 

    The holiday season can sometimes be anything but jolly. From family drama to financial woes, the holidays can be a source of real stress

    Jillian Michaels, fitness expert and author of "The 6 Keys: Your Genetic Potential for Ageless Strength, Health, and Beauty," understands that, though the holiday season is meant to be a time for health, family, and friends, it can get pretty overwhelming.  

    Michaels spoke with INSIDER to offer a few tips on how to make this holiday season a happy one. 

    1. Take some time off to focus on yourself.

    "Take the time off work to really chill," says Michaels. "Go to that AM spin class you never have the time to take. Sleep in. Have a boozy lunch with a sibling or good friend from back home you haven’t seen in a while."

    2. But also set aside time to spend with your family.

    Jillian Michaels and family

    "If you have kids, play with them," says the mother of two. "Sometimes life just gets too crazy and we have too many responsibilities. The holidays, however, can present many of us with some downtime. Use it. Play laser tag with your kid, hit the bowling alley, color something together, work on a puzzle — whatever they are into. Take some time to get into their world in ways you might not always be able to."

    3. A great way to spend quality time with your friends this season is at holiday parties.

    "Go to a white elephant party or an ugly sweater party," Michaels recommends. "These ridiculous traditions are actually kind of awesome. Make the most of them. Go, have fun, be silly, [and] cut loose a bit."

    Read more: Even if you're dreading your office holiday party, you still have to go. Here's your survival guide

    4. Make sure you're not overspending on gifts.

    "Your loved ones know you love them," she says. "Make the holiday about spending time together, not spending money on each other."

    5. Know when you have to take a step back to ensure your happiness.

    "If you have family dynamics that can be upsetting or stressful, put your foot down," Michaels says. "Don't engage in topics that seem to take a turn for the worst. Don't allow people to mistreat you. Simply say, I'm not having this conversation right now. And then change the subject. If that person doesn't listen let them know you love them, but you are going to disengage for the night, the hour, end the phone call, etc. and you will re-engage later once they have heard you and respect your feelings."

    6. Give back to your community.

    Jillian Michaels community service

    "If you don't have money, give some time. Give leftovers to the homeless. Donate to a charity you find meaningful. Help out a friend in need," she says. 

    7. Lastly, start thinking about your New Year's resolutions.

    "Any time of year is a great time to make necessary or wanted changes in your life," Michaels says. "The new year, however, does present us with a bit of a psychological clean slate, so why not take advantage of it and let it catalyze you towards some health changes — physically and emotionally."

    Visit INSIDER's homepage for more.

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    NOW WATCH: A Harvard psychologist reveals the secret to curbing your appetite

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    • Guccinearly doubled its sales in 2018 — and consumers under 35 accounted for 55% of those sales.
    • Gucci's creative director, Alessandro Michele, led the brand in a millennial and teen-friendly direction by showcasing pop culture references and fresh designs.
    • Celebrities like Lil Pump and Kylie Jenner have further popularized the brand through Instagram and music.
    • The resurgence of 90s fashion trends has made logos like Gucci's popular among younger consumers who saw the styles growing up and can now wear them.

    Narrator: Millennials love Gucci.

    Lil Pump: Gucci gang, Gucci gang, Gucci gang, Gucci gang!

    Narrator: Scroll through any fashionable millennial's social media, and chances are, you'll see Gucci's iconic double G logo, whether on belts, bags, or even capes. Gucci is pretty much everywhere these days. Kylie Jenner even made headlines for carrying her baby in a $625 Gucci baby carrier.

    In the first half of 2018, Gucci's sales nearly doubled. And 55% of those sales were made to consumers under 35. Considering how 18 to 35-year-olds contributed to an 85% growth in the luxury goods market in 2017, this is a big deal.

    Jessica Tyler: Millennials definitely matter in the luxury market. A lot of luxury brands have been partnering with streetwear brands and focusing on social media to try and reach millennials more because it's such a big market for them.

    Narrator: But why do millennials and teens love Gucci so much?

    Gucci's founder, Guccio Gucci, originally designed leather goods for the aristocratic upper classes, specializing in horseback riding gear. As Gucci grew in popularity, it became synonymous with high-class elegance and glamour. In the 1960s, Gucci was associated with people like Jackie Kennedy. One of the Gucci bags that Jackie Kennedy was photographed wearing was even renamed "The Jackie." Today in 2018, Gucci is still very much an expensive luxury brand, but it's no longer exclusively for the elite.

    DiNardo: I think that Gucci is working from the top down, to rebrand themself in a way that is very millennial-friendly, and I think that they aren't afraid to turn the tables upside down on what it means to create luxury, to sell luxury, to be a luxury company.

    Narrator: In 2015, Gucci brought on Alessandro Michele as their new creative director. Under Michele's leadership, Gucci has come to embrace streetwear and the influence of popular culture.

    DiNardo: Alessandro Michele is creating pop culture references at a time in which people are really searching for a little bit of nostalgia with something new. And it's a formula that's really working. I think also, Gucci is very honest about what they're doing, and genuine, and that they know that their designs are a little bit out there, to say the least, they're a little tongue-in-cheek, but they're in on the joke, they're a part of the game. And they love it.

    Narrator: Recently, Gucci even collaborated with Dapper Dan, a Harlem-based designer who became famous in the 80s for creating knock-off designs of luxury brands like Gucci. Gucci's logo has come to represent more than just luxury or wealth, and millennials are embracing that, especially as logos continue to take over the fashion world again.

    DiNardo: There are several reasons why brand logos are making a big comeback. One, the most obvious being that everything 90s is back. And we know that "logomania" was a huge part of 90s fashion. Another reason why logos are making such a big comeback, is that we're coming off of such a strong period of minimalism, that, where else do you go but the exact opposite, with fashion? And another reason why I think the logo is making a comeback, is that we're at a more comfortable place, in society, in culture, in our economy, in wanting reassurance in the money that we have, and the money that we spend.

    Narrator: Back in 2015, Gucci was actually considering using their logo less in designs. In the aftermath of the 2008 Recession, consumers were less interested in conspicuous consumption.

    DiNardo: So conspicuous consumption, as defined by Veblen almost 120 years ago, really is this idea of waste. It's having what you absolutely don't need, but indicates certain symbols to society of status, so, obviously, luxury items are the epitome of that, items that, you know, are not in your essential list, in order to survive. But to thrive, in certain social circles.

    Narrator: Designs emblazoned with luxury logos seemed a little too gauche at a time when so many people were struggling financially.

    DiNardo: I think now that we're at a comfortable state in the economy where people are feeling, it's okay to have a status shoe, a status bag, a status t-shirt again, and there isn't such the stigma of paying $180 for a logo t-shirt as there once was.

    Narrator: Millennials and teens also love Gucci because so many of them grew up seeing Gucci on celebrities or in magazines.

    DiNardo: A lot of the people who are embracing the trends now, just touched on the very tip of it in their youth, but now can fully expand into it, ad nauseam, as adults, with disposable income to do so.

    Narrator: So, can other luxury brands copy Gucci's success?

    DiNardo: I think what other luxury brand houses could do to continue, or try to emulate the formula of Gucci, really is to try to be authentic to themself. I think what Gucci, you know, does so well, which is really hard to imitate their formula, is that they're just natural, it's just a very natural way that they're approaching the market, and approaching attention, and it doesn't feel contrived. I think Gucci in 2018 represents excitement in fashion, again, it gives people something to look forward to, something to talk about.

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