TIME Transportation

This Glow-in-the-Dark Spray Could Make Cycling at Night Way Safer

A new safety initiative being tested in the U.K.

Car giant Volvo is turning in a slightly different direction for its next project: cycling safety.

Last week, the automaker and its partners unveiled a reflective spray called LifePaint, which cyclists can spray on their clothes and bicycles to boost safety at night. The spray, which is reflective for up to 10 days, is invisible in daylight but becomes bright white at night when a car shines its lights on a treated surface.

LifePaint, created in partnership with design firm Grey London and Swedish startup Albedo100, is in trials at six cycle shops in London and Kent. If it proves popular with cyclists, Grey London said in a statement, the project will expand domestically and beyond the U.K.

TIME Workplace & Careers

Jury Clears Silicon Valley Firm in Sex Bias Suit

APTOPIX Silicon Valley Sexual Discrimination
Jeff Chiu—AP Ellen Pao, center, walks to Civic Center Courthouse in San Francisco, March 27, 2015.

A jury rejected claims made by Ellen Pao about Kleiner Perkins

A jury cleared venture capital firm Kleiner Perkins of gender discrimination in lawsuit by former employee Ellen Pao following a trial that has put a harsh light on the skewed demographics in Silicon Valley.

After three days of deliberations, the jury rejected allegations that Kleiner Perkins passed Pao over for a promotion and then fired her because of her gender. It also cleared the firm of Pao’s claims it had retaliated against her.

The verdict was a major victory for Kleiner Perkins, an early investor in companies like Google and Genentech. The trial had shed an unflattering light on internal bickering within the firm and big egos along with the negative image that comes with a high-profile sexism lawsuit.

“Today’s verdict reaffirms that Ellen Pao’s claims have no legal merit,” Kleiner Perkins said in a statement. “We are grateful to the jury for its careful examination of the facts.

“There is no question gender diversity in the workplace is an important issue. KPCB remains committed to supporting women in venture capital and technology both inside our firm and within our industry.”

For Ellen Pao, the jury’s decision marks a major blow. Speaking to reporters just after the verdict, she emphasized that despite the loss, she hoped her case may help other women and make companies think twice about how women are treated.

“I have told my story and thousands of people have heard it,” Pao said. “My story is their story. If I’ve helped to level the playing field for women and minorities in venture capital, then the battle was worth it.”

During more than four weeks of testimony in San Francisco Superior Court, attorneys for Pao and her former employer, blue-chip investment firm Kleiner Perkins, presented witnesses, emails and documents that portrayed widely different narratives of Pao’s career at the firm.

The trial, which has been closely followed in Silicon Valley and by the media, offered a rare and intimate window into the gender dynamics of one of Silicon Valley’s most prominent investment firms. The case has been particularly significant for the tech industry, which has long struggled with diversity.

Pao, who filed the gender discrimination lawsuit following a seven-year career at the firm, claimed that she had been overlooked for promotions in favor of men with less experience. She also described how she was excluded from all-male dinner parties, subjected to a bawdy discussions of porn and given an inappropriate gift of erotic poetry by a senior male colleague for Valentines Day.

In turn, Kleiner aggressively defended itself in court by painting Pao as a difficult employee who lacked the qualifications necessary to be a venture capitalist. Witness after witness from the firm contradicted Pao’s accounts of misbehavior or said she twisted the facts to make insignificant events seem like serious problems.

Much of the trial’s testimony focused on Pao’s performance and whether she should have been promoted. In making her case, Pao claimed responsibility for a number of successful investments and pointed to her good relationship with companies in which Kleiner had invested. Kleiner, on the other hand, said failed to build expertise — or “thought leadership” — and constantly bickered with colleagues.

Kleiner eventually fired Pao in 2012, shortly after she had filed her lawsuit. She is now interim CEO of online forum Reddit.

After the verdict, Steve Sammut, a juror in the trial, explained to the media that he and his peers had focused their deliberations, in part, on how Pao’s performance reviews. He said they supported the firm’s defense by showing that Pao got dinged for the same weaknesses year-after-year, suggesting she never improved on them. Meanwhile, performance of male colleagues seemed to show improvements. Their critiques varied year-to-year.

“For Pao’s reviews, we went back and looked for areas to improve and they tended to stay the same, for other individuals they tended to drop off,” Sammut said.

The trial also brought into question Kleiner’s workplace policies, or lack thereof. Pao’s side argued that the venture capital firm didn’t have a real harassment policy in place until 2012, and that the partners often got away with inappropriate behavior without being punished.

The verdicts did not go smoothly. Early in the afternoon, the jury came back with what it thought was a final decision. But the judge belatedly realized that the jury had miscounted its votes for one of four counts. The judge ordered the jury to return to deliberations over a remaining retaliation claim. They emerged about an hour and a half later with a decision on the final count.

This article originally appeared in Fortune.com.

 

TIME Companies

Tim Cook ‘Deeply Disappointed’ in Indiana Law Called Discriminatory

Apple CEO Tim Cook speaks at the White House Summit on Cybersecurity and Consumer Protection in Stanford, Calif. on Feb. 13, 2015.
Jeff Chiu—AP Apple CEO Tim Cook speaks at the White House Summit on Cybersecurity and Consumer Protection in Stanford, Calif. on Feb. 13, 2015.

But the Apple CEO stopped short of other executives who have said they would boycott the state

Apple CEO Tim Cook, the most prominent openly gay executive, assailed a new Indiana law that critics say could make it legal for businesses there to discriminate against gays and lesbians. But he stopped short of saying his company would boycott the state as some of his peers have.

“Apple is open for everyone. We are deeply disappointed in Indiana’s new law,” Cook said on Friday on Twitter account.

Indiana Governor Mike Pence signed into a law the so-called “Religious Freedom” bill on Thursday, making his state the first to enact such a law among the dozen or so states where such proposals have been introduced.

The bill prohibits local governments from “substantially burdening” any person’s free expression of religion. Opponents claim the law could give business owners a free pass to refuse service to customers whose values conflict with theirs, notably same-sex couples. Supporters, however, claim such laws shield citizens from government intrusion on their beliefs.

While Cook was critical of the laws in his tweet, his peers at other companies came out forcefully against it. Mark Benioff, CEO of Salesforce, said his company is reconsidering any investments it’s made in Indiana.

“We’re a major source of income and revenue to the state of Indiana, but we simply cannot support this kind of legislation,” Benioff told re/code. Salesforce has already canceled all programs requiring customers or employees to travel to Indiana.

Also tweeting his disagreement with the new law on Thursday was Max Levchin, CEO of HVF (Hard Valuable Fun) and a PayPal founder. Eli Lilly, the Indiana-based drug maker, has been an active member of a coalition of businesses, faith leaders, and civil-rights and community organizations united that opposed the bill.

The National Collegiate Athletic Association, a non-profit organization that’s scheduled to host the Men’s Final Four basketball championship in Indiana later this month, also expressed concerns. And the CEO of Gen Con, a 50,000-person gamers’ gathering that’s reportedly Indianapolis’s largest convention in attendance and economic impact, said the law could prompt the group to move the event after 2020, when its contract with the city expires.

Cook, who took the reins from late Apple co-founder Steve Jobs in 2011, only came out openly as a gay man six months ago. Many observers wondered whether that admission would hurt Apple sales in international markets seen as socially conservative, notably Russia and the Middle East. But there is no evidence that has happened.

While Apple has not gone as far as Salesforce in opposing the bill in Indiana, where it operates two stores, the iPhone maker has expressed its concerns earlier this year about whether that bill and others like it would undermine existing civil rights law and damage the business climate of those states.

Apple has been given top marks by gay rights advocacy group Human Rights Campaign in its annual every year since 2002 when it first began.

Cook, who was profiled in the current Fortune cover story, sent out a second tweet on Friday, saying “Around the world, we strive to treat every customer the same — regardless of where they come from, how they worship or who they love.”

In his original tweet Friday, Cook also called on Arkansas governor to veto the similar bill to the one that passed in Indiana. It passed the state’e senate earlier in the day and the governor has said he would sign it.

This article originally appeared on Fortune.com.

 

TIME

WHy People Are Falling in Love With “Ugly Food”

Would you eat an "ugly" cucumber?

The “ugly food movement” is taking off around the world, particularly in Europe and Australia, as an answer to the problem of food waste. So far, it has yet to firmly take hold in the United States, but given this country’s love of solution-driven food trends, it seems a good bet that ugly food might soon take its place beside local food, organic food, and environmentally conscious eating. “Ugly” foods are those that sellers and buyers often reject because of their appearance, like misshapen vegetables and bruised fruits. Farmers dump them. Supermarkets and restaurants reject them. Consumers historically have avoided them.

The problem of food waste is no joke. By some estimates, a third or more of the food produced globally goes uneaten. The costs are in the hundreds of billions of dollars. Marketing so-called “ugly” food is one answer to the problem. Until recently, the European Union had rules actually preventing the sale of oddly sized or misshapen produce. Some of the rules were hilariously granular: a spear of asparagus could not be sold unless at least 80% of its length was green. The curve of cucumbers was regulated down the millimeter.

As part of a massive effort to reduce waste (2014 was formally designated the “European Year Against Food Waste”), most of those rules were scrapped a few years ago. Now, grocers there are actively marketing such products, and apparently, people are buying them, though it’s hard to tell at this point how successful the efforts have been.

Despite the popular name of the movement, marketers generally aren’t using the word “ugly.” More artful terms are favored. A French supermarket chain is selling “inglorious” foods. The British chain ASDA uses “wonky” (which to American ears might sound as bad as “ugly.”) Canada’s Loblaws uses “naturally imperfect.” Celebrity chef Jamie Oliver, who has cast himself as a promoter of the “good food movement,” has signed on with some British chains to support their efforts.

Other chains are approaching warily. Tesco, the biggest British grocer, sells its wonky foods in parts of Europe, but so far hasn’t marketed them in its home country because, it says, British shoppers aren’t ready for them. But the company has called for a public-education campaign to get consumers on board.

The trend is growing in Australia, too, thanks in part to Oliver’s efforts, though several chains there have been somewhat hesitant as well.

While the movement is unquestionably gaining ground, getting the mainstream on board remains a serious challenge. Consumers in developed countries have been conditioned over decades to expect perfect-looking produce (generally, “perfect” means “uniform,” and free of blemishes — “ugly” foods are just as tasty and nutritious as their prettier counterparts). It might take a long time to move people off those expectations. After all, the organic-food movement began in earnest more than 40 years ago, but only in recent years has it started affecting the food business in a big way. “Ugly” food has a big advantage over organic food, though: it’s generally cheaper than mainstream fare, rather than more expensive. That doesn’t hurt farmers or sellers one bit, though, since this is all food that would have ended up in the scrap bin: the revenues represent almost pure profit. And in fact, costs are actually reduced, since the foods that once were rejected had to be shipped back to their source.

The U.S., perhaps not surprisingly, has been slower than Europe to take up the trend, but there are some early indications that it might take off here. Bon Appetit Management, a big food-service company owned by the gigantic Compass Group USA, last year launched Imperfectly Delicious Produce, a program to divert ugly foods from the waste stream to the restaurants and cafeterias the company serves.

But such efforts are rare in the United States so far. Until recently, most “ugly” food that wasn’t simply thrown away has been given to needy people, though efforts like the Food Recovery Network (which Bon Appetit works with) and the Environmental Protection Agency’s Food Recovery Challenge. And such efforts of course do help. But if the private sector can be moved to make “ugly” food not only salable, but commercially popular, that would go a long way toward reducing the shocking amount of food we waste.

 

 

TIME

These States Have the Most Jobs For College Grads

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You'll never guess which little states hold the biggest opportunities

New college grads looking for work online have the best shot at getting jobs in Massachusetts and Delaware, a new study finds.

Since as many as 90% of jobs that require a bachelor’s degree or higher are advertised online, Georgetown University’s Center on Education and the Workforce took a comprehensive look at online job listings around the country to figure out where the jobs are, along with what types of jobs they are.

As might be expected, large states with big populations — notably, California, Texas, and New York — have the most online job ads, but this doesn’t tell the whole story. Georgetown did a deeper dive into the data to see which states have the most online job ads relative to the number of working, college-educated residents, providing a more accurate measure of the labor market for bachelor’s degree-holders in each state. “Strong job growth doesn’t necessarily translate into good job prospects [because] job growth also tends to bring increased competition,” the report points out.

When the numbers are crunched in a way that takes into account the number of workers, a clearer picture of job opportunities emerges: Massachusetts, Delaware, Washington state, Colorado and Alaska have the highest number of ads seeking candidates with bachelor’s degrees or higher per worker, respectively. Higher still is the nation’s capital: Washington, D.C. has three times the national average of online job ads relative to workers with college degrees. “The college-educated job seeker who is willing to move to a state with a high concentration of job ads per worker has a greater likelihood of landing a job than remaining in or moving to states with fewer job ads per worker,” the report says.

West Virginia residents with college degrees, in particular, might want to think about relocating: This state has the weakest online job market, followed by (respectively) Rhode Island, South Carolina, Mississippi and Hawaii. The good news is that the states with markets higher than the national average are geographically disparate, with most regions represented.

When it comes to the kinds of jobs employers looking for college grads are trying hardest to fill, the story is the same as it’s been since the recovery in the labor market began. “We found that two large occupational clusters – managerial and professional office and science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) – dominate the online college labor market, accounting for three out of every five online job ads,” the report says. Employers in the industries of consulting, business, financial and healthcare services are responsible for more than half of all the online job postings seeking college-educated candidates, while STEM jobs have more than three available job postings for every worker, more than twice as many as any other field. The states that saw the biggest growth in STEM jobs between 2010 and 2013 are Wyoming, Missouri and Wisconsin, and relative to the number of college-educated workers, Georgetown says Delaware, Massachusetts, and New York offer the best job prospects for college grads with STEM degrees.

 

TIME Careers & Workplace

5 Tips to Increase Clicks and Shares on Your Social Media Posts

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Different social media have different moods

Inc. logo

This post is in partnership with Inc., which offers useful advice, resources and insights to entrepreneurs and business owners. The article below was originally published at Inc.com.

Have you ever tried to unravel the mysteries of what makes a blog post or article go viral, capturing readers’ interest so that they share it again and again across social media platforms?

To explore this question, the content marketing company Fractl teamed up with content analyzer Buzzsumo. They reviewed shares of 1 million articles from 190 top publishers (including this one) across five social media platforms over six months–2.7 billion shares in all. The findings were thought-provoking (check out the full report at the bottom of this post):

1. Different social media have different moods.

It turns out 70 percent of the 500 most-shared items on LinkedIn were positive in sentiment. Similarly, 65 percent of the top shares on Pinterest were positive. That contrasts with Twitter, where only 40 percent of the top 500 shares were positive, 46 percent were negative, and 14 percent were neutral. Google+ was only slightly more upbeat, with 45 percent positive stories, 38 percent negative stories, and 17 percent neutral.

On Facebook, negative stories were much more successful, making up 47 percent of the top 500 most-shared, with 36 percent positive, and 17 percent neutral. Correct for the relatively uplifting effects of Buzzfeed, Upworthy, and ViralNova, and you have an even darker mood: Only 30 percent of the most-shared stories are positive, and 57 percent are negative.

Does this mean that LinkedIn users are happy-go-lucky souls and Facebook users are incorrigible curmudgeons? Not necessarily, the study’s authors warn. “The emotional landscape of each network may be more a reflection of the publishers who are succeeding best at sharing on a particular platform,” they note. Still, it seems likely that matching the emotional mood of your content to the prevailing mood of shares on each platform may help you get more attention and more page views.

2. Surprise and mystery always appeal.

Wondering just what sorts of stories or posts will appeal most to readers? Analyzing the pieces’ headlines only, the researchers discovered what many readers already know: Pieces that make you go “huh!” as in “I didn’t know that,” or “huh?” as in “I want to know more,” are always the most popular. “Headlines that incorporated surprise and built on the reader’s feelings of curiosity dominated the Top 10 regardless of topic or content format,” the study’s authors report.

But if you’re tempted to write clickbait headlines whose stories don’t deliver the goods–don’t. Keep in mind that we’re looking for shares here, and not just fooling people into clicking a headline and then regretting it. You’ll get nowhere unless readers find your content compelling enough to read through and pass on to their friends.

3. No surprise–Facebook dominates shares.

Well, of course it does. With 1.3 billion active users, there are so many more people on Facebook than any other social platform that it can’t help but have many more shares than the others. Still, although Facebook has about 62 percent of the total users of the five social media platforms, it gets about 82 percent of the shares, indicating that users are either more engaged with Facebook, likelier to share content there, or both.

On the other hand, Twitter appears to be punching above its weight. Though the Pew Research Institute recently named it the smallest of the major social networks, Twitter saw four times as many shares as similarly sized LinkedIn.

4. It’s tough to get huge amounts of attention.

Even among top publishers, getting a lot of attention for content can be tough slogging. Ninety-three percent of the publishers in the study averaged fewer than 5,000 shares per article. and only two, BuzzFeed and ViralNova, averaged more than 25,000 each. But those two had impressive share rankings with more than 60,000 shares on average per article.

Why? Probably because they put a lot of thought into the science of garnering shares. This analysis of Buzzfeed and Upworthy by study author Kelsey Libert provides some clues as to what they’re doing right.

5. You can stop feeling guilty.

If you’re like most people (including me) you’re in a constant state of guilt over the many social media platforms you’re ignoring. I, for instance, have a Pinterest account that I never use, even though I’ve written about Pinterest.

I’ve been feeling bad about this, but it turns out there’s no need. Even for large publishers, it’s tough to get significant traction on more than one platform at once. Though the study’s authors set out to name the five best publishers at getting shared on multiple social media platforms at once, there weren’t enough to fill up the roster. My interpretation: It’s fine to limit your attention to one or two platforms.

TIME Careers & Workplace

How to Respond When Someone Asks You to Work for Free

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May your conversations go as seamlessly as possible

The Muse logo

This post is in partnership with The Muse. The article below was originally published on The Muse.

When close friends have career conundrums, I’m quick to ask more questions. Like a good friend should be, I’m eager to help.

But other times, I’ll get messages from people who I barely know or haven’t spoken to in years. The most astonishing are the ones from people I’ve just met or, in fact, have never met. They usually start with some polite greeting, move into a “realization” that I’m a career counselor, and then make a direct request that I have a look at their resume or talk (read: counsel) them about their careers—for free.

It’s a bizarre experience when someone asks you to work for free. It’s flattering at first to be recognized for your expertise, but it doesn’t take long to grasp that they don’t appreciate it enough to actually want to pay you what it’s worth. In the end, it feels pretty awful.

Sadly, it keeps happening—and it’s not just career counselors. This seems to be a rampant problem in creative industries, especially. Graphic designers, writers, photographers, and more all experience this on a regular basis.

So, how do you respond when someone asks you to work for free without screaming, “Would you ask your dentist to work for free?” I’ve spoken to a few more seasoned career counselors, and this is what I’ve come up with.

1. Assume the Best Intentions

It’s always easier to respond when you assume the best. In this case, assume that the person does want to pay you. If you’re interested in having someone as a client, respond with, “I’d be happy to help,” then go ahead and launch into your services, corresponding fees, and next steps.

Of course, these inquiries might not be the best place to be developing clients, since their initial assumption was that your work wasn’t worth payment. With this in mind, you may want to consider declining your services.

2. Say No

The next step, then, is to just say “no.” A mentor of mine suggested something along the lines of, “I’m flattered that you’re seeking my advice (or services), but unfortunately I’m not taking on additional clients at the moment.” This way you are clearly declining the request, but you’re also assuming the best in people by responding to them as if they were seeking to be your client.

3. Offer Alternatives

To ease the blow a little bit, since many times you will want to preserve what little relationship you may have had with this person, offer up other professionals who might be able to help. I’ve frequently directed people to other career counselors whose work I’m familiar with. This way, not only are you offering another solution, you might also have the opportunity to educate this contact about the value of your work (if, for example, the other recommended professionals have their fees posted on their website).

4. Throw in a Bonus

Finally, depending on your profession, you might be able to throw in a free resource to show that you care, you just can’t work for free. I’ll sometimes direct people to specific articles on The Muse or to a particular career assessment that I’ve seen help others in a similar situation. While I’ve seen others handle this in a much more statement-y fashion, I can’t bring myself to retaliate against someone who is probably going through something unpleasant at his or her job, or worse, doesn’t have one.

All that said, I still wouldn’t work for free, and I hope you won’t either. I’ve written quite a few of these uncomfortable emails, and they’ve all worked out. May your conversations go as seamlessly as possible, too. Good luck.

More from The Muse:

TIME Careers & Workplace

These Are the Top 6 Tech Skills to Know in 2015

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These skills will help you stay relevant to the industry

Inc. logo

This post is in partnership with Inc., which offers useful advice, resources and insights to entrepreneurs and business owners. The article below was originally published at Inc.com.

We’re not big on setting resolutions only in January at Pluralsight. We believe it’s important to strive for excellence year-round, rather than just once a year. That said, there’s value in using the year’s starter months to reassess your current skill sets and identify areas for improvement, growth, and learning.

Technology is one area that no one in any industry can afford to grow complacent about–tech is changing so quickly that skills you mastered last year may already be outdated. In such a quickly evolving industry, information decays at a rate of 30 percent a year, according to Research in Labor Economics, rendering nearly a third of last year’s tech-related knowledge irrelevant.

But don’t panic–there’s a solution. Staying up-to-date with emergent technologies and trends–as well as the skills needed to master them–will help you offset the lightning-fast pace of skills disruption and keep you ahead of the curve. Continuous learning is the key to maintaining an ongoing competitive advantage, both for individuals and organizations.

On that note, here are the top six tech skills that Pluralsight has identified as not just “nice-to-know,” but “need to know,” in 2015:

1. Coding.

As I’ve written recently, coding is the number-one skill in demand today worldwide. Although coding and computer science are still marginalized in the K-12 education system, it’s clear that the ability to code has become as important as other basic forms of literacy like reading and math. Fortunately, no matter what your age or current comfort level with technology, there are ways to pick up intro coding skills–and many of them are free. Start with Code School, which provides interactive learn-to-code challenges along with entertaining video instruction, or Hour of Code, which offers a free one-hour coding tutorial that’s available in over 30 languages.

2. Big data.

According to Forbes, big data will continue to grow in 2015, due in part to the rise of the Internet of Things, which has the power to embed technology in practically anything. As ever-larger volumes of data are created, it’s vital to know how to collect and analyze that data–particularly when it’s related to customer preferences and business processes. No matter what industry you’re in, you’ll miss out on key marketing and decision-making opportunities by ignoring big data. You can brush up on big data concepts, technologies, and vendors with these courses.

3. Cloud computing.

TechRadar reported this month that 2015 will be the year that the cloud becomes the “new normal.” The reason, writes Mark Barrenechea, CEO of OpenText, is that costs can be slashed as much as 90 percent through digitization of information-intensive processes. Barrenechea predicts that by year-end, we’ll see “a world of hybrid deployments in which some information and applications reside in the cloud and the remainder resides on-premise.” Learning to utilize the cloud’s flexible power can improve everything from your data security to your collaboration ability. Learn cloud-computing basics with this hour-long online course, which you can view in full with afree trial from Pluralsight, or try this free intro course on the topic from ALISON.

4. Mobile.

As Six Dimensions states, “If you don’t have a mobile strategy, you don’t have a future strategy.” This has never been truer than in 2015, the year in which The Guardianpredicts an increasing number of companies will learn how to mobilize their revenue-generating processes, like making purchases and depositing checks. This is also the year that we’ll hit critical mass with the fusion of mobile and cloud computing, according to Forbes. That means many more centrally coordinated apps will be usable on multiple devices. Here’s a list of beginner-level courses related to mobile technology from Pluralsight, as well as options for mobile apps courses from Lynda.com.

5. Data visualization.

Data keeps multiplying, which means whatever message you hope to communicate online must find increasingly creative ways to break through the noise. That’s where data visualization comes in, which involves using a visual representation of the data to discover new information and breakthroughs. Creative Bloq notes that this technique can reveal details that poring through dry data can’t. Fortunately, you don’t have to be a web designer or developer to create compelling infographics. Here’s a list of 10 free tools you can use to visually enhance your data.

6. UX design skills.

User experience (UX) designers consider the end user’s ease of use, efficiency, and general experience of interfacing with a system (such as a website or application).Smashing Magazine notes that while user experience has long been important, it has become more so recently in relation to the diverse ways that users can now access websites, including mobile and apps. “The more complex the system, the more involved will the planning and architecture have to be for it,” writes Jacob Gube. But it’s not just professional designers who can benefit from understanding UX design–anyone can. Check out this animated video from UXmastery on “How to Get Started in UX Design.”

These six tech trends are reshaping the way businesses in every industry function internally and connect with their customers. Get smart in these areas, and you won’t have to worry about being left behind–at least not this year.

TIME apps

Periscope vs. Meerkat: Which Is the Livestreaming App For You?

Meerkat; Periscope

Don't cross the livestreams

With Thursday’s public release of Periscope, Twitter is trying to torpedo its live-streaming competition by launching its own app that lets users send video to viewers around the world at the tap of a touchscreen. In development for more than a year but bought by Twitter earlier this year, Periscope offers a nearly identical service to Meerkat, the wildly popular ephemeral video app that launched on Feb. 27.

But in this battle for live-streaming dominance, Twitter and Periscope currently have a huge advantage: it owns both the seas and the ports.

Opening into similar screens displaying active video streams, both Meerkat and Periscope put a peek into someone else’s world just a tap away. The competing apps also let users quickly dive into broadcasting immediately, with buttons on their main screens that the launch the camera and begin sharing video with the world instantly. And while these basic capabilities are nearly identical, the two apps have nuances that make them markedly different.

For instance, Meerkat works in a couple of different ways. First, the service’s iPhone app (neither it nor Periscope have an Android app yet) sends a tweet through your Twitter account that tells people you’re currently broadcasting a live video. When other Twitter users click that link, they can watch the video as it’s being broadcast, either through their web browser (if they’re on a desktop or laptop) or through the Meerkat app on their iPhone. Viewers can also comment on the video, posts that stream onto the screen of the broadcaster, and also appear as replies to the original tweeted link on Twitter.

Meerkat

As easy to use as Meerkat is, it’s also almost completely reliant on Twitter integration to operate. And since Twitter decided to get into the water with its own livestreaming app, the social network has blocked Meerkat’s access to some of the features that other (non-competing) apps have. For instance, Twitter no longer lets Meerkat show new users which of their Twitter followers also use the video sharing service. (Early adopters, take note: You may see your Twitter followers on Meerkat, but that’s because you got in before the social network turned off this feature.)

Meerkat has done a good job of working around this roadblock through its Leaderboard, a ranking of the most-followed Meerkaters. This gives new users some ideas of whom to follow if they don’t happen to catch any of their Twitter favorites mid-stream.

Meanwhile, Periscope also streams videos to web browsers on computers and its iPhone app for mobile users, who can tap on their screen to send “love” hearts that tell the broadcaster they like what they see. Viewers can also comment on the stream using the mobile app, but these posts do not appear on Twitter, keeping the video sharing service walled-off from the social network, and cutting down on tweets. Even through Twitter is all about the tweets, this is a smart move because it cuts down on the social network’s noise — a problem the company is trying to address.

Periscope

With access to Twitter’s social network, Periscope gains a notable advantage over Meerkat because its users can intuitively find their followers on the video-sharing app. For example, if you and a follower both use Periscope, you’ll be able to find each other on the app’s “People” tab. And to compete with Meerkat’s Leaderboard, Periscope also lists its “most loved” users. This distinct difference turns Periscope from a popularity contest into a talent show, rewarding users for posting great video streams, rather than being big personalities.

Another key differentiator for Periscope is how it saves live streams so viewers can watch them later. (And it’s worth noting, this feature can be turned off.) Similar to Twitter’s Vine service (only with no six-second limit), this feature makes it a lot easier for people to enjoy videos on Periscope, because they aren’t up against the clock. But this difference also turns Meerkat into the catch-it-if-you-can exclusive service, indicative of its name. (Those little critters move fast!) Also, users can save Meerkat streams to their smartphones, an option Periscope does not yet allow.

It’s possible that these nuances will be enough to show there’s plenty of room in the water for two video sharing apps. In fact, some investors are betting on that — Meerkat just confirmed a $14 million funding round. And with its one month head start, Meerkat has grabbed high-wattage users like Jimmy Fallon, Shaquile O’Neal, and Madonna. But Twitter never lacks in celebrity firepower, with fan-favorites like comedian John Hodgman, magician David Blaine, and actress Felicia Day already grabbing hearts and eyeballs on Periscope. The competition for users, both high- and low-profile, is not likely to stop there, just as live video streaming is likely to be a fixture in tech’s future. The question is, can Meerkat swim?

Read next: You Asked: What Is the Meerkat App?

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MONEY Millennials

5 Big Myths About What Millennials Truly Want

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Jamie Grill—Getty Images

We've heard a ton about millennials—where they want to live, what they love to eat, what's most important to them in the workplace, and so on. It's time to set the record straight.

In some ways, it’s foolish to make broad generalizations about any generation, each of which numbers into the tens of millions of people. Nonetheless, demographers, marketers, and we in the media can’t help but want to draw conclusions about their motivations and desires. That’s especially true when it comes to the young people who conveniently came of age with the Internet and smartphones, making it possible for their preferences and personal data to be tracked from birth.

Naturally, everyone focuses on what makes each generation different. Sometimes those differences, however slight, come to be viewed as hugely significant breaks from the past when in fact they’re pretty minor. There’s a tendency to oversimplify and paint with an exceptionally broad brush for the sake of catchy headlines and easily digestible info nuggets. (Again, we’re as guilty of this as anyone, admittedly.) The result is that widely accepted truisms are actually myths—or at least only tell part of the story. Upon closer inspection, there’s good reason to call these five generalizations about millennials into question.

1. Millennials Don’t Like Fast Food
One of the most accepted truisms about millennials—easily the most overexamined generation in history—is that they are foodies who love going out to eat. And when they eat, they want it to be special, with fresh, high-quality ingredients that can be mixed and matched according to their whims, not some stale, processed cookie-cutter package served to the masses.

In other words, millennials are huge fans of Chipotle and fast-casual restaurants, while they wouldn’t be caught dead in McDonald’s. In fact, the disdain of millennials for McDonald’s is frequently noted as a prime reason the fast food giant has struggled mightily of late.

But guess what? Even though survey data shows that millennials prefer fast-casual over fast food, and even though some stats indicate millennial visits to fast food establishments are falling, younger consumers are far more likely to dine at McDonald’s than at Chipotle, Panera Bread, and other fast-casual restaurants.

Last summer, a Wall Street Journal article pointed out that millennials are increasingly turning away from McDonald’s in favor of fast casual. Yet a chart in the story shows that roughly 75% of millennials said they go to McDonald’s at least once a month, while only 20% to 25% of millennials visit a fast-casual restaurant of any kind that frequently. Similarly, data collected by Morgan Stanley cited in a recent Business Insider post shows that millennials not only eat at McDonald’s more than at any other restaurant chain, but that they’re just as likely to go to McDonald’s as Gen Xers and more likely to dine there than Boomers.

At the same time, McDonald’s was the restaurant brand that millennials would least likely recommend publicly to others, with Burger King, Taco Bell, KFC, and Jack in the Box also coming in toward the bottom in the spectrum of what millennials find worthy of their endorsements. What it looks like, then, is that millennials are fast food regulars, but they’re ashamed about it.

2. Millennials Want to Live in Cities, Not Suburbs
Another broad generalization about millennials is that they prefer urban settings, where they can walk or take the bus, subway, or Uber virtually anywhere they need to go. There are some facts to back this up. According to an October 2014 White House report, millennials were the most likely group to move into mid-size cities, and the number of young people living in such cities was 5% higher compared with 30 years prior. The apparent preference for cities has been pointed to as a reason why Costco isn’t big with millennials, who seem to not live close enough to the warehouse retailer’s suburban locations to justify a membership, nor do their apartments have space for Costco’s bulk-size merchandise.

But just because the percentage of young people living in cities has been inching up doesn’t mean that the majority actually steer clear of the suburbs. Five Thirty Eight recently took a deep dive into Census data, which shows that in 2014 people in their 20s moving out of cities and into suburbs far outnumber those going in the opposite direction. In the long run, the suburbs seem the overwhelming choice for settling down, with roughly two-thirds of millennial home buyers saying they prefer suburban locations and only 10% wanting to be in the city. It’s true that a smaller percentage of 20-somethings are moving to the suburbs compared with generations ago, but much of the reason why this is so is that millennials are getting married and having children later in life.

3. Millennials Don’t Want to Own Homes
Closely related to the theory that millennials like cities over suburbs is the idea that they like renting rather than owning. That goes not only for where they live, but also what they wear, what they drive, and more.

In terms of homes, the trope that millennials simply aren’t into ownership just isn’t true. Surveys show that the vast majority of millennials do, in fact, want to own homes. It’s just that, at least up until recently, monster student loans, a bad jobs market, the memory of their parents’ home being underwater, and/or their delayed entry into the world of marriage and parenthood have made homeownership less attractive or impossible.

What’s more, circumstances appear to be changing, and many more millennials are actually becoming homeowners. Bloomberg News noted that millennials constituted 32% of home buyers in 2014, up from 28% from 2012, making them the largest demographic in the market. Soaring rents, among other factors, have nudged millennials into seeing ownership as a more sensible option. Surveys show that 5.2 million renters expect to a buy a home this year, up from 4.2 million in 2014. Since young people represent a high portion of renters, we can expect the idea that millennials don’t want to own homes to be increasingly exposed as a myth.

4. Millennials Hate Cars
Cars are just not cool. They’re bad for the environment, they cost too much, and, in an era when Uber is readily available and socializing online is arguably more important than socializing in person, having a car doesn’t seem all that necessary. Certainly not as necessary as a smartphone or broadband. Indeed, the idea that millennials could possibly not care about owning cars is one that has puzzled automakers, especially those in the car-crazed Baby Boom generation.

In many cases, the car industry has disregarded the concept, claiming that the economy rather than consumer interest is why fewer young people were buying cars. Whatever the case, the numbers show that the majority of millennials will own cars, regardless of whether they love them as much as their parents did when they were in their teens and 20s. According to Deloitte’s 2014 Gen Y Consumer Study, more than three-quarters of millennials plan on purchasing or leasing a car over the next five years, and 64% of millennials say they “love” their cars. Sales figures are reflecting the sentiment; in the first half of 2014, millennials outnumbered Gen X for the first time ever in terms of new car purchases.

5. Millennials Have a Different Attitude About Work
As millennials entered the workforce and have become a more common presence in offices around the world, much attention has been focused on the unorthodox things that young people supposedly care more about than their older colleagues. Millennials, surveys and anecdotal evidence have shown, want to be able to wear jeans and have flexible work hours to greater degrees than Gen X and Boomers. Young people also want to be more collaborative, demand more feedback, and are less motivated by money than older generations.

That’s the broad take on what motivates millennial workers anyway. An IBM study on the matter suggests otherwise, however. “We discovered that Millennials want many of the same things their older colleagues do,” researchers state. There may be different preferences on smaller issues—like, say, the importance of being able to dress casually on the job—but when it comes to overarching work goals achieved in the long run, millennials are nearly identical to their more experienced colleagues: “They want financial security and seniority just as much as Gen X and Baby Boomers, and all three generations want to work with a diverse group of people.”

What’s more, IBM researchers say, millennials do indeed care about making more money at work, and that, despite their reputation as frequent “job hoppers,” they jump ship to other companies about as often as other generations, and their motivations are essentially the same: “When Millennials change jobs, they do so for much the same reasons as Gen X and Baby Boomers. More than 40 percent of all respondents say they would change jobs for more money and a more innovative environment.”

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