Day: April 12, 2019

Mike Gravel’s campaign is proof that more politicians need meme tutors

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In the age of surrealist memes and viral content, why aren’t more politicians seeking out shitposting tutors? 

Mike Gravel joined Twitter on Mar. 30, and has been spicing up the 2020 race ever since. The former Alaskan senator officially added his name to the ever-growing roster of Democratic presidential candidates in a video Monday, calling for a “Gravelanche” to push centrist politicians further left. He doesn’t plan on actually winning; his goal is to simply make it to the debates so he can challenge contenders on their neoliberal policies in favor of more leftist ones. 

“My message, centered around an anti-imperialist foreign policy and fundamental political reform, is one that no other Democratic candidate is making the centerpiece of their campaign,” Gravel said in a statement, according to Rolling Stone. “After the first two debates, I will drop out and endorse the most progressive candidate.” Read more…

More about Memes, 2020 Presidential Election, Culture, and Web Culture

8 Ways You’re Actually Inviting Burglars Into Your Home

According to FBI crime statistics, there were an estimated 7,694,086 property crimes nationwide with losses of $15.3 billion in 2017.

Though you certainly don’t want your home to become the next target of potential thieves, sometimes you might be unwittingly inviting burglars into your home and putting your property (your family as well) at risk.

To avoid ending up in a low-hanging fruit in the eyes of intruders, make sure you’re away from these 8 home security mistakes:

Unlocked doors, windows, and other entrances

unlocked door

The shocking fact is that 32% of homeowners leave a window open and 13% leave a door unlocked. This offers a great opportunity for thieves to sneak into your home without alerting your neighbors.

So, take a few seconds before you leave home to double check all your doors, windows, and other entry points. And don’t forget about your storage shed, basement or garage as well!

No lights on at night

A dark home at night can be a clear sign that your house is vacant. Instead of turning all your lights on when you’re away from home (smart burglars will easily see through this trick), it’s better to install timers on interior lamps. That way, you can create an appearance that the house is occupied.

Uncollected mails, newspapers, and packages

If you plan to go away for a vacation or on a business trip, ask a reliable neighbor, friend or family member to pick up your mails, newspapers, and packages in advance. You may request the post office to hold your mails and ask the newsagent to stop delivering your papers until you come back home.

Leaving ladders and tools out

Leaving a ladder, hammer, saw and other tools in open areas is practically inviting trouble for yourself. Once these fall into the hands of burglars, the next thing you can expect, without any doubt, would be forced entry into your home.

Place your tools in your garage or basement after use. Also, make sure that your basement and garage are well locked.

Untrimmed bushes and landscape

Overgrown bushes not only provide ideal shelter for burglars to hide when casing your house but also indicate that you have been away for a long time. It might lure burglars into your home.

Trim the bushes and mow your lawn regularly to make sure no one can hide in it. If you’re going away for a long period of time, hire someone to attend to the landscape during your absence.

Displaying valuable items in plain view

Are you leaving your garden furniture and lawn decorations in plain sight? Or do you just throw away the box of your brand-new TV or computer on the curb? Watch out!

Thieves select homes to break into by taking note of boxes curbed as trash, especially during holiday seasons. A safer way to dispose of the trashes for valuables is to cut them up and toss them in the trash can.

Leaving spare keys under carpet/stones

You might think it is a great idea to hide your spare keys under the carpet or stones but never underestimate the burglars. They’re good at hide-and-seek games.

Doormats, flowerpots, mailboxes, and stones are normally the first places smart thieves would search for. If you’re afraid that you might be locked out, give a set of keys to a trustworthy family member or your friend.

Showing off on social media

It is understandable that you love to share a memorable experience during a trip on social media. But take heed, posting your vacation details on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram is basically announcing to the burglars that your home is unoccupied and free to break into.

So instead of posting your real-time vacation moments, wait until you come back home to share the photos online.

See Also: Home Security: Try These 10 Ways to Make Your Home Safer – Without a Gun

The post 8 Ways You’re Actually Inviting Burglars Into Your Home appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

Uber has already made billions from its exits in China, Russia and Southeast Asia

Uber’s exits from China, Russia and Southeast Asia were billed as failures from the company, but the ride-sharing giant has already made billions on paper from those moves, according to its IPO filing.

Uber released its much-anticipated S1 on Thursday U.S. time and reporters and analysts are frantically digging into a treasure trove of previously-unreleased details. A number of sections on Uber’s global divestitures begin to paint a clear picture of the strategy that Uber employed when leaving China, Russia and Southeast Asia in recent years.

In each case, Uber decided to leave the market but, upon doing so, take a stake in its rival business in exchange for the assets it had remaining. That not only keeps them involved, but it removes the often substantial cost of competing with a single-market player and gives Uber options to re-enter the market or profit from its partner’s success there.

Already that strategy is bearing fruit. Today, those holdings are collectively worth a cool $12.5 billion on paper, with a least $3 billion in gains so far.

China: $7.95 billion

China was Uber’s first tactical exit and it saw the company sell to local giant Didi Chuxing in August 2016

The Uber filing shows the U.S. firm took an 18.8 percent take in Didi. That, Uber estimates, has since been reduced to around 15.4 percent due to subsequent fundraising from Didi, which last publicly announced a $5.5 billion raise one year ago — previously, it raised $4 billion at the end of 2017.

Didi’s $56 billion valuation means it is the third highest valued startup in the world behind only ByteDance, parent of TikTok, and Uber, which it counts as an investor

The really interesting part of the filing its Uber’s estimate for the value of its Didi stake: that was $5.97 billion as of the end of 2017, and $7.95 billion at the end of last year. That’s a $2 billion paper increase in just one year, although the Uber filing doesn’t provide a value for the initial merger deal. Didi is also in the money having invested $1 billion into Uber in exchange for shares.

One notable piece is that an investigation into whether the deal constitutes a monopoly is still ongoing, some two and a half years after the transaction was first announced.

“It is not clear how or when that proceeding will be resolved,” Uber notes in its document.

Finally, the original deal included a clause forbidding Didi from making “certain investments outside of Asia” for a six-year period. The company breached that — it acquired Uber rival 99 in Brazil and expanded its business into Mexico, among other moves — which saw Uber take back some shares, although its net gain was only $152 million.

Didi has struggled over the last 18 months so safety concerns bubbled to the fore following the murder of two female passengers last year. Operationally, too, there have been challenges. Didi reportedly lost $1.6 billion last year — that’s more than Uber — and it reshuffled the organization by laying off 15 percent of its staff recently. Despite buying out Uber, it is up against increased competition after a consortium of automakers inked a $1.45 billion ride-hailing joint-venture while new government rules have made the business of ride-hailing, and in particular recruiting drivers, more challenging in China.

Still, as China’s dominant firm and with an increasingly global presence, you’d imagine that Uber’s stake is likely to become more lucrative in the future.

Southeast Asia: $3.22 billion

Uber’s exit from Southeast Asia in March 2018 never seemed a copy of its China play, where it was burning a reported $1 billion a year. Instead, I argued that the deal was actually a win for the U.S. firm because it took a decent slice of Grab as part of the agreement and Uber’s filings show that is already proving to be the case.

Uber noted that the exit deal saw it take an initial 30 percent stake for $2.28 billion, which has since diluted to around 23 percent following Grab fundraising, which remains ongoing with a goal of $6.5 billion for its Series H. (That may be why the Uber stake was initially announced as 23 percent rather than 30 percent.)

Grab’s most recent valuation was $14 billion, according to sources, which means Uber’s stake is already worth $3.22 billion, a nearly $1 billion jump on paper in just a year.

Uber’s investment in Grab has already made it a $1 billion profit in just over one year

With the company in a dogfight with Go-Jek, its Indonesia rival that’s backed by the likes of Google and Tencent, it seems unlikely that Grab and key shareholder SoftBank will do anything other than keep on raising. That’ll likely dilute Uber — which, as a shareholder rather than an investor, isn’t likely to invest again — but it’ll increase Grab’s valuation and thus the value of Uber’s stake.

That leads us to the next detail of Uber’s Grab investment: its stake is classified as “available-for-sale debt security.” That’s to say that Uber could potentially dispose of its stake in the future.

Indeed, the Uber filing notes a clause in the deal that would allow the U.S. firm to sell “all or a portion of its investment back to Grab for cash” if the company hasn’t gone public by March 25 2023, five years after the deal.

That’s the first real line in the sand that we’ve seen for a Grab IPO and, with a buyback already expensive as Uber’s stake is worth more than $3 billion, the clock is ticking.

Russia: $1.4 billion

Finally, Uber’s third tactical retreat is Russia, where it formed a joint venture with local rival Yandex.taxi in July 2017. The combined business covers ride-hailing and food delivery in over 127 cities in Russia.

That gives it a different kind of relationship to its deals with Didi and Grab, where it one of many minority shareholders, and Uber’s S1 gives fewer details of the Russia JV.

Yandex, like Uber, is testing self-driving vehicles that could used in its taxi service in the future

What we do know is that Uber estimates its share of the business is 38 percent, a slice that it says is worth $1.4 billion. That’s a valuation of around $3.68 billion which is on par with the $3.7 billion that the companies announced at the time of the deal. Like the other deals, the business is the dominant one in a huge market — Russia has a population of more than 140 million people — so it stands to reason that the business will grow and thus Uber’s value within it will increase.

Yandex, the parent of Yandex.taxi, also stands to gain and not just from the joint venture. Uber allocated the company two million shares (then worth $54 million) which, at a proposed $55 per share, would more than double to $110 million at IPO and that’s not counting its potential value in the future.

A change with Careem acquisition

Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi said that Southeast Asia would be the company’s last global retreat, and he seems to have been good to his word so far. Indeed, Uber announced its largest acquisition last month with a planned $3 billion purchase of Middle East-based rival Careem, which is present in 15 markets.

The Uber filing explains that the deal, which has not been completed, is $3.1 billion with around $1.4 billion in cash.

“We have structured the acquisition and proposed integration of Careem with the goal of preserving the strengths of both companies, including opportunities to create operating efficiencies across both platforms. We expect to share consumer demand and driver supply across both platforms, thereby increasing network density and reducing wait times for consumers and drivers in the region, while simultaneously achieving synergies from combining back-end support functions and shared technology infrastructure,” Uber wrote in a statement.

That’s certainly a new approach for Uber worldwide and, post IPO, it’ll be interesting to watch it actively play a role in consolidating other businesses into its own rather than going the other way. Still, those three global retreats are likely to pay off handsomely despite being billed as the result of failure.

A graphic from Uber’s filing shows its global presence, and the importance of its investments in China, Russia and Southeast Asia