Here’s why some coins have ridges on their side

If you look closely at a quarter or a dime, you’ll see tiny grooves all along the edge. They were put there for a very important reason. The process is called “reeding,” and it all goes back to when the US Mint was first created.

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The next game from the team behind ‘Grand Theft Auto’ is drop dead gorgeous

The company that makes “Grand Theft Auto” isn’t known for pumping out games. You may recall that the last “GTA” game came out in 2013 — that’s the most recent release from Rockstar Games.

But a new game from Rockstar is just on the horizon: “Red Dead Redemption 2.”

Red Dead Redemption 2

The relentlessly gorgeous “Red Dead Redemption 2” is still at least one year away — it was recently delayed to “spring 2018.” When it does arrive, it’s headed to the Xbox One and PlayStation 4. 

So, what’s “Red Dead Redemption 2” all about? Is it basically “Grand Theft Horse?” Let’s dive in.

Unlike “GTA,” the “Red Dead” series is set in the American frontier, circa mid-1800s. That means campfires and starry skies.

It also means gunslingers and six-shooters and bandit masks. This isn’t just a tale of America’s “Wild West,” but a tale of cowboys, robbers, and the evolution of American society.

Major centerpieces of the era, like cross-country railroads, directly play in to “Red Dead Redemption 2.”

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A CEO who sold 2 companies to Google gives his best advice on taking career risks

Luis von Ahn

Luis Von Ahn isn’t new to the tech game.

The CEO and founder of language app Duolingo previously sold two other tech products to Google early on in his career.

The first was ESP game, a computation game created to develop difficult metadata, which Google licensed as the Google Image Labeler in 2006. The other company was reCAPTCHA, a system used to ascertain whether or not a computer user is human. The tech giant acquired reCAPTCHA in 2009.

So, what advice does von Ahn have for young people looking to break into the world of tech startups? Well, if entrepreneurship is your calling, he recommends getting started early.

“With taking risks, you should try to do it earlier in your life,” he tells Business Insider.

That is to say, if your dream is to found your own tech company instead of heading off to work for a Silicon Valley giant, don’t dawdle. Instead of worrying about snagging a choice job offer with a great salary straight out of college, consider joining a smaller operation or laying the groundwork to start your own company.

As von Ahn says, making a major career gamble only becomes more difficult as you get older.

“The best time to take a risk is early in your life,” he says. “Once you’re about 30, it’s pretty hard to take a risk. You’ve either already gotten married or you’re thinking about getting married. You’re about to have kids or you’ve just had kids. It’s not a good time to take a risk, because financially you’re kind of in a bind.”

Meanwhile, he says that younger tech workers are better able to make it work with less pay and stability.

“When you’re 22, you can survive on $1,000 a month,” he says. “You could totally survive on that. If you’re going to take a risk, I would say early on is a pretty good time to do it.”

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The ex-CEO of Ve Interactive is being investigated for allegedly spending money on luxury flats, fine wine, and other ventures

David Brown Ve Interactive

  • An explosive Sunday Times report claims David Brown, former CEO of Ve Interactive, is being investigated for fraud.
  • Ve Interactive is a former UK tech unicorn which fell apart spectacularly earlier this year, with Brown stepping down, and the company going into administration.
  • Brown allegedly spent thousands of pounds of company money on renting luxury flats in central London, a hire purchase agreement on a £200,000 Land Rover, fine wine, and high-end furniture.
  • He also allegedly spent Ve Interactive money propping up several other businesses, but didn’t declare this to investors.

The former CEO of Ve Interactive, an ad tech unicorn which fell apart spectacularly earlier this year, is being investigated over claims he spent £11.5 million of company money propping up his other ventures.

According to The Sunday Times, David Brown is also being probed over renting three luxury flats and a £200,000 customised Range Rover, and lavish expenses which included spending £45,653 on wine. A source with knowledge of the matter confirmed the investigation to Business Insider.

Brown is the founder of Ve Interactive, but stepped down as CEO in March after the company failed to pay staff on time. The company went into administration in April, before being rescued by its new management team.

According to The Sunday Times, that new team has called in legal firm Edwin Coe to investigate the way Brown allegedly spent Ve Interactive’s money.

When they took control, the new team found Ve was paying for Brown’s central London flat, costing £6,930 a month, plus another costing £4,170 for director Martin King. Brown’s brother Steve reportedly made use of a third flat in east London which cost £3,462 a month.

The team also found Ve had been financially supporting several other unrelated business ventures to the reported tune of £11.5 million.

First up was a consultancy called Thinkers HQ, owned by Brown, his ex-wife, Martin King, and King’s wife, according to the Sunday Times. Thinkers HQ owned several other businesses in turn — a furniture maker called Tree Couture, boutique shop Clerkenwell London, and training businesses Thinkers Connect and Thinkers Academy. There’s also a travel site called Travioor, owned by Brown’s girlfriend Irene Martinez. Most of these hadn’t been declared to Ve Interactive’s investors, bar Traviooz, Business Insider understands.

There was also thousands of pounds’ worth of Tree Couture furniture in Brown’s office. A source told Business Insider that you can actually see Brown’s office used as an example on the Tree Couture website.

Ve Interactive David Brown office

Brown was reportedly about to install a billiards and pool room in one of Ve’s offices before his departure. He also had thousands of pounds’ worth of fine wine.

Brown said all of the allegations were “cheap jibes” and “misinformation,” according to the newspaper. He’s also threatening legal action against the administrators and Ve’s new management, and said there was “significant legal action under way.”

Ve Interactive did not comment. Edwin Coe did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Ve Interactive’s new team was put in place by a consortium of its investors, including Aston Ventures; Mark Pearson, founder of; and US investor Andy Astrachan.

The three formed a consortium called Treyew, which injected £3 million into Ve Interactive when it was struggling to pay staff, in exchange for Brown stepping down from the top job. Aston Ventures partner Morten Tonnesen took over as chief executive.

That new management wants to distance itself from Brown’s leadership, a source told Business Insider.

It bought Ve Interactive out of administration for a headline figure of £2 million but, the source said, has ploughed considerably more money in on paying staff salaries and other costs.

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10 things in tech you need to know today (GOOG, FB, AAPL, AMZN)

Tim Cook

Good morning! Here is the tech news you need to know this Tuesday.

1. Apple just launched a new attack on Android. The iPhone maker has launched a website aimed at persuading people who currently have an Android phone to buy an iPhone from Apple.

2. An internal Google email reveals more evidence of the company’s tip line for reporting whistle-blowers. The email comes from a lawsuit filed by an anonymous Google employee who claims the company runs a “spying program” that encourages employees to report each other for leaking information to the press or public.

3. Facebook activated its Safety Check feature in Manchester after an explosion left over 20 people dead and more than 50 injured. Safety Check asks people in the area of the incident if they are safe, and publicly marks them as such if they say they are.

4. Amazon is preparing to launch checkout-free supermarkets in the UK. It trademarked the slogan “No Lines. No Checkout. (No, Seriously.)” with the Intellectual Property Office in the UK.

5. TransferWise has launched a new business account. It is also planning to introduce a foreign exchange debit card later this year.

6. New research shows that UK venture capital firms are dominated by men. Just 13% of venture capital investors in decision-making roles — partner level or equivalent — are women.

7. The next major game from the folks behind “Grand Theft Auto” just got delayed until 2018. “Red Dead Redemption 2” now has a launch window of “spring 2018.”

8. Someone in 2010 bought 2 pizzas with 10,000 bitcoins. Today, the same amount of bitcoins would be worth $20 million (£15 million).

9. Google DeepMind CEO Demis Hassabis revealed his unusual sleeping habits. His routine allows him to get two days of work done in 24 hours.

10. Cybersecurity firm Symantec believes it was “highly likely” that a hacking group affiliated with North Korea was responsible for the WannaCry cyber attack. The attack infected more than 300,000 computers worldwide and disrupted operations at hospitals, banks, and schools across the globe.

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TransferWise launches new business account and plans foreign exchange card

In this handout image supplied by Sportsfile, Taavet Hinrikus, Co-founder, TransferWise, speaks on stage during Day 3 of the 2014 Web Summit at the RDS on November 6, 2014 in Dublin, Ireland. (Photo by )

LONDON — TransferWise is branching out beyond its core business of online international money transfer, launching a new business account and planning a foreign exchange debit card later this year.

TransferWise, one of Britain’s few tech unicorns, announced on Tuesday that it is launching a new “borderless account” — an online account that can hold multiple currencies. It aims to help businesses manage payments and costs in local currencies across multiple countries using just one account.

TransferWise’s CEO and cofounder Taavet Hinrikus told Business Insider: “Those people and businesses who are leading a more international life — they’re either working, studying abroad — they are in a really tough position. Business banking is pretty rubbish on its own but if you think about international banking — really poor.

“We thought, we’re helping businesses and people to make international payments already and we have very fantastic infrastructure to do it. For us, it was about using the infrastructure in a different way to solve another pain point for these people.”

The new account carries no setup costs or monthly fees. Businesses will be charged when they move money between currencies, with 15 different currencies supported at launch. The borderless account opens to businesses, freelancers, and sole traders in the UK and Europe today, with a global rollout planned for later in the year.

TransferWise plans to launch its “borderless account” to consumers later this year and will also launch a debit card. Business Insider first reported that TransferWise was considering launching a currency card of its own last September.

The debit card launch represents a push into the competitive travel money market, by allowing TransferWise customers to spend abroad through their account rather than simply sending money to bank accounts.

TransferWiseMany in the industry will likely see the debit card launch as a response to Revolut, a fast-growing startup that has attracted over half a million users with its ultra-low-fee foreign exchange card. Revolut, launched in 2014, recently launched a monthly free transfer limit in a bid to “to challenge TransferWise.”

The “borderless account” also comes weeks after WorldFirst, an SME-focused online money transfer business, announced its own multi-currency account.

Hinrikus said TransferWise’s new products are part of the company’s efforts to build “one of the few new global financial services brands” and played down the competition.

He told BI: “I don’t think we feel pressure from anything else other than our customers. It’s really about us our continuing to evolve what we’re doing. We’ve always known there are many other adjacent problems next to the one we’re solving.

“We’ve been building our infrastructure for 6 years which allows us to do many wonderful things. Payments is a scale business. The more payments you get going through your rails, the cheaper and faster it is.”

Hinrikus said TransferWise had other new products in the works but wouldn’t be drawn on what they might be.

TransferWise, which was reportedly valued at $1.1 billion last year, announced earlier this month that it is on track to make £100 million in revenues this year and turn a profit for the first time. TransferWise, which has raised over $110 million to date, currently transfers over £1 billion across its platform each month.

Asked whether TransferWise is considering an IPO this year, Hinrikus told BI: “We’re really busy on continuing to grow the business and such we’re not thinking about anything of the kind you’ve mentioned. It’s still very much the beginning. There’s so much more for us to do and we’re continuing to double down on building the business.”

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New research shows that UK VC firms are dominated by men

Reshma Sohoni of Seedcamp

  • Research from the new Diversity VC initiative found just 13% of decision makers in UK VC are women
  • 48% of VC firms have no women in their investment teams
  • Investors say the lack of women in VC is a “wake-up call”

When it comes to boosting the number of women in tech, people often focus on how many women take up technical subjects like engineering.

But there’s another area where women are significantly underrepresented, which potentially has a huge impact on the tech ecosystem.

Venture capital plays a major role in making or breaking tech startups — Facebook, Snapchat, Uber, and many others relied on massive funding rounds to become successful companies.

But new data shows that it’s mostly men who are deciding which tech firms should get millions of pounds in funding.

Diversity VC is an initiative to get more women and minorities in venture capital firms. It profiled 1,500 people across 160 VC firms in the UK and found just 13% of venture capital investors in decision-making roles — partner level or equivalent — are women.

Almost half don’t have any women in their investment team at all. And only 18% of investors across all British VC firms are women.

This isn’t entirely because women don’t actually choose VC as a career option. About a quarter of all venture capital employees are women, but clearly not all of them rise to senior positions.

The picture is even worse in the US. Some 45% of VC employees are female, but just 11% of decision makers are women.

Diversity VC cofounder Travis Winstanley set a goal that by 2020, 20% of VCs in decision making positions should be women.

“In no small part, venture capitalists are funding the future,” he said. “Looking at ten of the world’s most valuable companies, six were fuelled by venture capital funding in their early years, so it is clear that the decisions that VCs impact the society in which we live.”

Beezer Clarkson is the managing director of Sapphire Ventures, an LP which invests in early stage funds.

She said in a statement: “[What] I observe is that often I am being pitched by 100% male [general partners].

“This may be the state of venture today, however I firmly believe that a diverse roster of VCs and LPs brings a wider range of perspectives to the table, which would be beneficial to deal sourcing, investment decision making and ultimately to the startups themselves.

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Ford’s new CEO will have to tell Wall Street a different story (F, TSLA, AAPL, GOOG)

Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York, U.S., May 17, 2017. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid

If you think investors buy into companies because they make money now and will make money in the future, you’d be wrong when it comes to Ford.

The carmaker posted a record annual profit in 2015 and nearly matched it in 2016. But on Monday, Ford ousted its CEO, Mark Fields, and replaced him with Jim Hackett, a former Steelcase CEO who had been running Ford’s Smart Mobility initiative.

Fields’ resignation came fast: following a fractious annual shareholder meeting, he departed last week — Hackett said he was surprised when Chairman Bill Ford offered the job. Under Fields, Ford shares had declined 40%, despite the epic profits and a booming US sales market.

Hackett will now have to craft a story that Wall Street wants to buy. And make no mistake, that’s what Wall Street is looking for. Tesla has surpassed the market caps of Ford and General Motors, based on prognostications about its future — which likely won’t entail profits, but will certainly involve massive cash expenditures.

If this strikes you as being sort of disturbing, then welcome to the inside-out world of the auto industry. For awhile now, the narrative around Detroit has been that it’s old, slow, and about to watch Silicon Valley eat its lunch.Mark Fields

The auto industry is one of those businesses that’s pretty good when it’s good and mostly not too bad when it isn’t (the financial crisis and the Detroit meltdown was an obvious exception). In the US alone, an automaker can expect to sell something like 15 million-16 million new vehicles every year. When the market booms, as it has for the past three years, that number can get close to 18 million. If you’re selling pickups and SUVs, you can expect to rake in the money, as those vehicles are highly profitable.

Everybody knows how this story ends. But that’s boring. Ford’s stock price isn’t going to go to $50 per share (from its current $11) anytime soon. General Motors’ isn’t going to rocket higher, either, despite CEO Mary Barra’s intense focus on ensuring the GM only occupies markets where it earns significant returns. 

Happy endings?

The Tesla story, the Uber story, the Apple car story, the Google Car story — these narratives don’t yet have endings. In fact, only the Tesla story really has a beginningApple probably isn’t building a car, Google can’t figure out how to make money on self-driving tech, and Uber is spending an enormous amount of money to put Lyft out of business, only to see Lyft grow faster than Uber.

There’s nothing wrong with buying a story, but to a certain extent you’re hoping for a happy ending. If you’d bought the Tesla story in 2010, after the carmaker’s IPO, you’d up 1,500%. But if you’d invested in other electric-car companies back then, you could have lost everything, as they disappeared or went bankrupt.

Meanwhile, you could buy Ford’s present-day story and earn a 5.5% dividend. The narrative isn’t radical. There are no flying cars. It’s been the same for decades. And there aren’t yet any glaring problems with the company. So in that respect, Hackett has some time to recraft the automaker’s message. But he doesn’t have forever. When a downturn arrives, autonomous vehicles and electric cars and big data will take a back seat to a fundamental: Can you sell cars and make money doing it?

This column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of Business Insider.

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Google is getting ahead of itself in its quest to make the future happen now (GOOG)

google ceo sundar pichai at google i/o 2017

One of the the most unusual demos at Google’s annual I/O conference last week was of a custom-built automatic cocktail maker powered by the company’s artificial intelligence system, Google Assistant.

Event attendees could order up a mango mixer, say, by just talking to the drink dispenser. The machine, which some developers hacked together to show how Google’s AI can be added to just about any gadget, would quickly serve up a cocktail with just the right ingredients drawn from tubes on its top.

You’re already familiar with using Google’s services on your phone or computer. Google wants to be in many more places than those, and it’s planning on using AI to get there.

As Google officials laid out at last week’s conference, the company envisions a future where its AI is inside everything from dish washers to cars. It helps manage your digital photos. And yes, it even could help mix drinks.

The search giant argued this development will be great for consumers. By injecting a little of its smarts into the stuff you use every day, the company will be improving lives.

But the company has other reasons for pursuing its vision. Google and other companies see AI as the next major computing breakthrough after smartphones. The payoff for the company that dominates AI could be huge. (Google doesn’t know how to make money off AI yet, but that’s a problem for another day.)

But the aggressive AI push by Google and its rivals begs the question: Do we really need Google (or Alexa or Siri or whatever else) inside of everything?

I don’t think so.

Nothing we’ve seen from Google or its competitors to date has shown that voice commands and AI are easier or faster to use than smartphone apps, computer programs or web apps. AI may help extend Google and others’ reach beyond phones, but it’ll be a very, very long time before anything comes along that’s capable enough to replace an app-empowered smartphone as your primary computing device.

Unfortunately, a lot of what we’re seeing today with AI and voice control is trying to do just that.

During Google’s keynote, one of the demos showed how Panera Bread built an app on top of Google Assistant that allows a customer to order by just talking to it. The demonstrator claimed it was just like ordering at the counter with another human at the store.

It was an impressive feat for a digital assistant. But you could place an order much easier by just tapping on Panera’s smartphone app or visiting its web site. You shouldn’t have to go through a lengthy verbal back-and-forth with a faceless virtual assistant just to get the Panera sandwich you want.

As tech analyst Ben Thompson put it:


I’ve experienced similar frustrations using voice assistants like Alexa to order an Uber or control smart lights. While they technically work, they’re not easier or faster than just using a smartphone app.

The dubiousness of Google’s vision seems even more clear when it comes to AI being embedded into everyday devices like thermostats, as we saw a few weeks ago when Ecobee announced thermostat with Alexa inside. I can’t think of a single scenario where I’d rather talk to a virtual assistant in my thermostat than just use an app on my smartphone. 

Voice-powered AI can be useful for simple web searches; straightforward queries, like “What’s the weather?”; and basic commands, like “Play the new Katy Perry song. But they’re poorly suited for just about everything else you’d want to do. Apple’s marketing boss Phil Schiller put it pretty well a few weeks ago in an interview with NDTV when he asked about the rise of digital assistants in devices like the Amazon Echo.

“Voice assistants are incredibly powerful, their intelligence is going to grow, they’re gonna do more for us, but the role of the screen is gonna remain very important to all of this,” he said.

In other words, if your goal is to kill the screen, you’ve blown i/o 2017 sundar pichai AI first

All of the major tech companies are investing in AI in the belief that it will replace the smartphone as the dominant platform in tech. What none of them seem to realize is that AI won’t replace the smartphone but improve it. It won’t kill the category; it’ll just make it more useful.

Google is the company perhaps least in touch with this reality. At its event last week, it went so far as to claim it’s shifting from a “mobile first” company to an “AI first” one. As exciting as Google’s (and Amazon’s and Microsoft’s and Apple’s) advancements in AI have been, they still don’t come close to its ambition.  

The truth is we’re going to be stuck with smartphones for a very long time — think decades, not years. And while a Google Assistant-powered cocktail mixer makes for a cool demonstration, it goes to show that voice-powered AI these days is more entertaining than practical.

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A photo of Rihanna and Lupita Nyong’o went viral and the internet begged for a movie — now it’s happening

lupita rihanna and friends

The INSIDER Summary:

  • Netflix is developing a movie with Rihanna and Lupita Nyong’o.
  • The idea for the project started out as an internet meme.
  • Twitter users joked about them doing a heist movie after a photo of them together went viral.

Movie ideas come from everywhere, and this one came from a tweet.

Netflix is developing a movie that will pair pop superstar Rihanna with Oscar winner Lupita Nyong’o, according to Entertainment Weekly.

The project will be directed by Ava DuVernay, who made the Oscar-nominated documentary “13th” for Netflix, and who also directed 2014’s “Selma.” Issa Rae, best known for creating the HBO series “Insecure,” is in talks to write the script for the project.

It all started when a photo of Nyong’o and Rihanna sitting together at the 2014 Miu Miu fashion show went viral in April 2017.


It became a meme, with Twitter and Tumblr users demanding that the two pair up as movie characters.


Nyong’o and Rihanna were into the idea.


Fans clamored for DuVernay to get involved, and she obliged.