Share via Shortlink Share on FacebookShare on TwitterShare on LinkedinShare via Email Share via Shortlink Glenn Sanford (Photo courtesy of eXp Realty)Glenn Sanford built a multibillion-dollar residential brokerage in his own, untethered image. Sanford, a former top producer at Keller Williams, founded eXp Realty in 2009 with the ambition to build the first fully virtual brokerage of scale. A few years later, he crisscrossed the U.S. in a 43-foot Winnebago to build his agent army, selling them on the promise of technology and incentivizing them to bring others to his ranks. eXp exists only in the cloud, and agents use avatars to interact in a Sims-like world. While other firms are still developing end-to-end platforms, eXp already offers a full set of digital tools to list, market and sell homes. The pandemic supercharged one of the most explosive growth stories in residential brokerage. In 2020, eXp swelled to 50,000 agents and generated a record $31 million in profits. eXp World Holdings — which owns the brokerage and VR platform Virbela — saw its stock shoot up 9x over the past year, giving it a market cap of $5.4 billion and landing Sanford, a three-time college dropout, on Forbes’ billionaires list. Critics say eXp attracts agents with high commission splits and a revenue-sharing program that prioritizes recruiting new agents over selling real estate. But Sanford argues that his model is the fairest way to scale a business. One of “the most democratic ways of distributing income and equity,” he said, is “by sharing it with the people who are actually on the ground doing the work.”Born: October 15, 1966Lives: Pacific NorthwestHometown: Alberta, Canada; Oklahoma CityFamily: In a relationship with Debbie Biery; Divorced with two daughters (ages 25 and 27)Where did you grow up? I was born in Alberta and moved to British Columbia when I was three. We lived there until I was 13. My dad and uncle sold a cereal manufacturing business to Kellogg’s in 1978. My dad had been investing in the oil and gas business, so he decided moving to Oklahoma was a good idea. We moved initially to Oklahoma City, then about 45 minutes outside the city, to a dirt road community where we were at least 2 miles in any direction from paved roads. What were you like as a kid? We moved quite a bit, so I wouldn’t say that I had a lot of really deep friendships. But I really enjoyed things like computers, chess and long-distance running. On some level, I think, it allowed me to be a better entrepreneur over time because I was less concerned about what people thought … I was able to approach entrepreneurship with more of a creative bent to satisfy my needs and try things out. I’ve seen a newspaper clip from when you were 15 and developed accounting software for local businesses. What seeded that interest in technology? I recognized that anything repetitive could be done with a computer rather than by a person. It was something that stuck with me — recognizing that the personal computer was something that could be leveraged. I did a little bit of keyboarding while I was at university. It was back in the days when you could go to an Apple user group meeting and meet all these eclectic computer enthusiasts from different walks of life and trade software. You didn’t finish school. I was in and out of university, and it never quite stuck. But I went three times. I didn’t think much of geography, American history and all those other courses like psychology … I almost walked out the first time. The second time, I got distracted because I kept starting new businesses, including becoming a stockbroker. I think I ran out of money and moved back in with my parents. The third time, I just didn’t want to do the hours left in my degree.What was your first job? I had the obligatory paper route back when I was 11 or 12. When I was 15, I was doing software development work. The summer I graduated high school, I did landscaping. I worked at a number of Taco Bells. When I was in the first year of university, I sold cars. When I dropped out the first time, I was selling Kirby vacuum cleaners door to door. I cut my teeth on sales there. Eventually I [was] the top salesperson, until I found I was selling them for about $1,000 and my boss was buying them for $200. I couldn’t sell another Kirby vacuum cleaner because all of a sudden the value wasn’t there any more.How did you get into real estate? When I got into the business in 2002, I was $40,000 more in debt than I’d been before I started my previous startups. I ended up working for a local Realtor on his website. He thought I should become a real estate agent. I said, “OK, but I’m not going to approach my friends and family to buy real estate. I’m going to build this online and work the leads.” I ended up doing phenomenally well. In 2004, I went to Keller Williams and was there for three years. Lead generation, and helping agents convert those leads into closed transactions, was a sweet spot for me. What happened when the financial crisis hit? In 2007, we decided to break out of Keller Williams to start our own brokerage. By the second half of 2008, we had to get rid of some offices in a hurry just to be able to stay afloat. We raised a little bit of money and went back to the drawing board. We got to the point where we recognized that high-speed internet was pretty ubiquitous, so [we said], “Why don’t we start the real estate brokerage that so many of the industry pundits and futurists have been talking about?” In 2015, you drove a Winnebago across 26 states in 10 months to pitch eXp to agents. I’m all about science experiments. In 2009, one was, “How do we build a real estate brokerage without physical bricks and mortar?” But it was really a timing thing. Our lease was coming up on the house we were in. We had flown 56 times in 2014. So the idea was, “Why don’t we just take our house with us, and let’s start to see a bit of the country. Let’s meet some of our agents.” We also thought it would make a good story — offering a company that runs 100 percent virtually and doing it without actually going to a physical office. Where do you live now? We have a condo [in Blaine, Washington] and a boat that I’m sitting on. Though at the end of the year, we were actually in an RV, so we’ve got a pretty mobile lifestyle. I’ve been in meetings all day in our virtual office, and I’ve been doing it from the boat.You took eXp public in 2013 via reverse merger with a Canadian penny stock company, way before the current SPAC craze. In 1988 or 1989, my dad helped about 10 or 12 companies become public through reverse mergers. I would sometimes help in terms of investor relations, or do some other work behind the scenes. I always wanted agents to be shareholders of eXp. At the time, there were significant limitations in the ability to actually have nonaccredited shareholders as part of your company. I had somebody I had known for quite a number of years who wanted to do a “shell deal.” He and I got together and said, “Hey, this makes a lot of sense. Let’s see if we can do this, because this would solve for helping our agents be shareholders.” eXp has a revenue-sharing program for agents based on their ability to recruit others. Critics have called it a pyramid scheme. There are a lot of people who don’t like alternative ways to handle compensation, because it competes with the more traditional business approach. Historically, the wealth of companies has been limited to a handful of large, elite shareholders. When you look at some of the fastest-growing companies, they broke into those industries with a network marketing compensation plan.What do you think of the current SPAC frenzy? It’s a really interesting approach to becoming public, because [with] the IPO process, you have to really be on the inside track with the right investment bank and everything’s got to be positioned really well. The amount of brain damage that it takes to go through that whole cycle doesn’t make as much sense as if there’s a company that comes with $200 million or $500 million of capital that’s looking for a project. I don’t think [though] that SPACs can be a long-term viable vehicle, because the quality of investments will go down and then the returns will start to really hurt shareholders. You debuted on the Forbes billionaires list this month. What does success mean to you? It’s never really been about wealth. I’ve got a couple toys that I probably would have no matter what. I always want to work on things that are interesting to me. I never expected to even be remotely close to being a billionaire. It was never on my bucket list. It’s more about having the freedom to be able to do things that I like to do when I’d like to do that. I think eXp created more millionaires in the residential real estate industry — at least on paper — than any other real estate brokerage. I consider that to be more of a measure of success.You’ve described eXp as a “bread-and-butter” brokerage, with average price points of $350,000. But that’s the part of the market most threatened by technology and iBuyers. Are you concerned your agents may go the way of travel agents? Not yet. iBuyers have not seen a down market yet. We saw a little bit of this last year [at the height of the pandemic] when the iBuyers basically quit buying homes. And yet agents continued to list and sell homes and continued to do the work that was necessary to keep the housing market running.Many brokerages claim to be tech-enabled. Is their tech really all that? Where does eXp fall? I would say that eXp is a hybrid. It’s a real estate brokerage that has certain tech enablement features. Where we really use technology is the disintermediation of bricks and mortar, rather than trying to go to a bunch of agents and saying, “Here’s a bunch of really cool technology tools that will help you do more business.” At the end of the day, an agent will have a hard time measuring whether they’ve gotten one additional transaction from that technology stack. And so that’s the part where I sort of scratch my head and go, “That sounds like smoke and mirrors, rather than true technology.”Has eXp finally won over skeptics of a cloud-based, avatar-using brokerage? I don’t think the avatar portion of the skepticism has entirely gone away. But the idea of a cloud-based brokerage is now recognized as a truly legitimate business whose time has come. We were simply the pioneers of that model. If you go out another 10 years, some 20 or 25 percent of agents will be connected to a brand or brokerage where the physical office isn’t even really in its current state. Who would you consider your biggest mentor? My dad was certainly my biggest mentor early on. I recognized that this thing called “business” provided a lifestyle that was a little bit different from those who had a traditional job. When I was young, we lived in a single-wide manufactured home and parked it in a trailer park in Abbotsford, British Columbia. So I always thought that it was riskier to take a job than it was to start a business. What are your hobbies? I get 15 to 30 miles of running in every week. And I’ve been enjoying boat ownership since 2017. I did judo from the time I was 17 — I like to do a little coaching when I can. I’m an introvert by nature, so I love going on long walks in the forest. Is there a single piece of advice you live by? The purpose of the business is to serve the needs of the owner. If more broker-owners truly designed their business to serve their needs as human beings, they can get some more of those benefits so that they can have the freedom and flexibility to actually live a life. And then another is my favorite Zig Ziglar quote: “You can get anything you want in life if you just help enough other people get what they want.” This content is for subscribers only.Subscribe Now Tags eXp realtyglenn sanfordResidential Real EstateSPACThe Closing
Retail sales suffered their biggest annual fall in nearly three years this month as shoppers tightened their purse strings post-Christmas.The Confederation of British Industry (CBI) distributive trades survey’s balance for reported sales volumes plunged to -22 in January from +9 in December, its lowest level since March 2009, when Britain was last in recession. The figures came a day after official data showed the economy contracted by 0.2% in the last three months of 2011, raising fears that the country was entering recession – and its first double-dip since the 1970s.Chris Williamson, chief economist at Markit, said: “Today’s CBI distributive trades survey provides the first glimpse of retail conditions in January, and confirm fears that consumers retrenched after a mini spending spree in December. Aggressive discounting helped push up sales in the run-up to Christmas, but the New Year has started with something of a hangover on the high street.”
Dear Editor,There is now land giving away galore at the Office of the Guyana Lands and Surveys Commission (GLSC) at Corriverton.On February 13, 2018, nearly 800 prospective and current cattle and rice farmers flocked the GLSC’s office to apply for lands located at the #52/66 Communal Pasture. Some even came all the way from the USA allegedly making gifts to certain officials in an attempt to get preferential treatment. It is also alleged that many local applicants followed suit. There was a haste to dispense of monies for favours – a typical Guyanese sickness!This pasture comprises 17,000 acres and has been in existence for decades but in the last 12 years or so, there has been a gradual fencing of portions of this pasture by cattle farmers who have been trying to stake ownership.This was accelerated since this coalition took office. These cattle farmers have been digging and fencing huge areas which makes it impossible to drain the Pasture since water is now being trapped in these canals. The drainage and irrigation system bore no structured design. This was evident during the heavy rainfall last year. The savannah was heavily flooded and the water took a long time to recede.Unfortunately, this has now progressed to the stage where the GLSC at Corriverton has been inviting and receiving applications from farmers inviting them to show an expression of interest. The Application Form is on the GLSC letterhead. These prospective applicants have been told that they should apply for the lands at that particular location.On many occasions, Agriculture Minister Noel Holder would have made statements on his visits to Region Six in support of the development of our cattle and dairy farming. This was also supported by Prime Minister Moses Nagamootoo and the Junior Finance Minister Jaipaul Sharma. However, from the applications made, it is evident that many of these applicants, nearly 90 per cent, are rice farmers and many applicants do not own any cattle, especially those from abroad. It is apparent also that those overseas applicants have real estate intentions or intentions to rent the lands at a later date, especially when it is a known fact that many of the lease land owners reside abroad and are renting their lands for hefty rental fees.Moreover, many cattle farmers would have complained to the PM’s representative in Region Six, Gobin Harbhajan, about the constant problems and struggles they face with rice farmers and it is clear that should rice be planted in localised areas within this savannah, then bloody and murderous conflicts may arise among these farmers.It is indeed baffling why the Commissioner of the GLSC, Trevor Benn has not seen it fit to discuss this matter at length with Regional Chairman David Armogan so that a collective decision can be made at the Regional Democratic Council (RDC) level. Many times, the GLSC would try to impose its will in the region and the RDC have had to block the applications after the matters were reported by the affected Neighbourhood Democratic Councils (NDC).I have two cases at the Kilcoy/Hampshire NDC where communal pastures of more than 200 acres have been applied for and claimed by avaricious individuals to the detriment of the residents who now have no pastures to rear their animals. Although the applications to the GLSC were blocked by the RDC upon my intervention, the individuals went ahead and fenced the lands.These communal pastures should remain as that and should not become the private property of greedy individuals. There are lands available in remote areas – let them apply for those. Everyone should have access to these pastures to rear their cattle and it is the function of the Government to provide access roads and proper drainage to facilitate this. Why would Trevor Benn desire to commit such an injustice?Yours sincerely,Haseef YusufRDC Councillor –Region SixChairman (Kilcoy/Hampshire NDC)
Marathon runner Shane McCarville hopes to set a new Irish record at this weekend’s Quadrathon Marathon in Inishowen.Shane hopes to complete his 48th marathon so far this year in Donegal which will officially set the record. Overall he hopes to run 70 marathons and ultra-marathons this year.Here he gives a few tips on anyone thinking of doing a marathon.SIMPLY CLICK ON THE VIDEO TO PLAY. DDTV – SHANE TO SET IRISH MARATHON RECORD IN DONEGAL was last modified: August 17th, 2013 by StephenShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window) Tags:InishowenMarathonsQuadrathonrecordShane McCarville
A soft embryo of a Cambrian worm, exquisitely preserved, makes Graham Budd (U. of Uppsala, Sweden) ask some hard questions about it and other recently-discovered embryo fossils in the Jan. 15 issue of Nature:1These fossils raise several questions, to say the least. First, how could they possibly be preserved? Second, why are they concentrated in a period (600-500 million years ago) that is already unfairly overstocked with exceptionally preserved fossils, such as those of the Burgess Shale in the Canadian Rockies? Third, do they tell us anything about animal evolution?He spends most of his article on the third question, but seems to end up with more questions than answers about the “miraculous preservation of these embryos.”The BBC News has a report and pictures of the embryos.Ask yourself how soft tissues could be exquisitely mineralized and preserved for 600 million years, when many later fossils have been reworked by storms, glaciers, moving continents and asteroid impacts. More interesting than the data that seem to fit the reigning myth are the anomalies that do not. This find does nothing to help evolutionists in their Cambrian explosion predicament (08/21/2002). Graham Budd has been pushed by the disconnect between his expectations and the facts to the ultimate no-no in science: invoking miracles.(Visited 9 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0
Crossing a full Brahmaputra from Dibrugarh to Dhemaji North Bank in Assam by ferry takes an hour, but now requires more than double that time as the river takes a meandering path and is heavily silted. People still prefer the ferry because the land route is more than 400 km long. They are waiting for the Bogibeel bridge, which will cut short the travel time to just half an hour.Also read: Understanding the Brahmaputra and the annual flooding in AssamThe Brahmaputra and its tributaries are known for changing course ever so often, leaving behind a heavily silted river bed. People have adapted to this behaviour of the rivers. They grow paddy and vegetables along their banks when the flood waters recede and move home when the rivers change course. But in recent years, hydroelectric projects built upstream in Arunachal Pradesh have added to the amount of siltation.Deforestation has not helped either. Neither has the unusually heavy rainfall influenced by climate change resulting in all the tributaries dumping silt. Downstream from Dhemaji, Lakhimpur district has witnessed some serious flooding and siltation. During the monsoon, the Ranganadi hydroelectric dam in Arunachal Pradesh releases large volumes of water from the dam site, inundating large tracts of agricultural land in Lakhimpur. And once the flood waters recede, much of the land is covered by sand rendering it useless for cultivation.It is in middle Assam that the Brahmaputra dumps the most silt. Here, Morigaon district is severely affected by floods with the river bisecting it. At places, the the river is more than three km wide. Because of siltation, the river is divided into several parts. People now wade through this part of the river, unthinkable in the past years.
Ali, a former managing editor of Silicon Alley Reporter and reporter on Inside.com, did not immediately return a request seeking comment. Managing editor Ernie Sander is expected to take on added responsibilities in Ali’s absence.After launching the company with paidContent in 2002, Ali added a number of events as well as paidContent:UK, mobile-focused mocoNews.net, and contentSutra.com, which covers India’s digital content market. Guardian reportedly paid about $6 million for ContentNext.“I am leaving the company while the editorial is still at the peak of its reputation, even though we are half the teams we used to be,” Ali writes.In the note, Ali says his future beyond ContentNext is unclear. “Very likely it will be another startup, in a larger media and marketing space.” Nearly two years after selling the company to U.K.-based Guardian News, Rafat Ali Friday said he is stepping down as founder and editor of ContentNext Media Inc., publisher of digital media news site paidContent.org.In a note posted to the paidContent site, Ali—who founded the company eight years ago—says his departure will be effective in early July. He will stay on as an advisor through the end of the year.“For most of you who know me, this isn’t coming as a huge surprise,” Ali [pictured] writes. “I have been wrestling with this for months now, and the two-year mark under the Guardian and the eight-year mark since I lunched the first site, seems appropriate enough as a closure point.”
3:03 I’m 51 years old, and I wear braces. Some days, I almost forget I have them on. Other times, when I’m doing something outwardly grown-up, like buying wine or meeting with my daughter’s fifth-grade teacher, I’m achingly aware that my teeth are sporting accessories usually seen on kids who don’t remember a time before YouTube.But I’m not alone. The American Association of Orthodontists reports that as of 2016, 28 percent of the patients being treated by its members are over 18. That’s more than 1.6 million people. And I can tell you from experience that many of them have probably wondered at least once if they’re too old for this.I’ve been down this metal-mouthed road before. The first time I had braces, I was 13 years old, it was the 1980s and, unlike today, braces didn’t even attempt to disguise what they were.Back then, braces were silver, they couldn’t be hidden, and it seemed like orthodontists weren’t even trying. There were none of these clear brackets, or see-through, removable aligners, or rainbow-colored elastic bands to match your school colors. No one thought to put braces on the back of your teeth. Get real, kid.I didn’t even go to an orthodontist for my first set of braces. My regular dentist told my mother he could handle it himself. I’m not sure that’s a choice an informed patient would make today. But again, 1980s.With my 9-year-old daughter, Kelly, on a bullet train in Japan just weeks after I got braces. Of the two of us, Kelly would seem the more appropriate age for orthodontics, but I’ve since learned that “appropriate” is relative. Gael Fashingbauer Cooper My teenage braces did their job. My teeth look fairly straight in my college photos and my wedding album. But I never had a retainer or any follow-up treatment. I mentally put braces in the past, with acne and algebra, and moved on.But as the years went by, I noticed what I called an “overbite” and what I later learned was really an “overjet.” In an overbite, the upper teeth overlap the lower. In an overjet, the teeth kind of lean forward. No one ever called it out to me — thank you friends for not being jerks — but in this age of social media, I began to hate selfies, to wonder why smiling didn’t come naturally to me, and to stare at my friends’ dazzling Facebook grins with envy.It’s embarrassing to write this, but I saw my overjet as a personal failure, on par with getting a cavity for not brushing. Somehow in my head, admitting that I needed orthodontic treatment was like admitting I messed up. It sounds stupid when I write it down — it’s not like I caused it by yanking my teeth apart with a crowbar — but there it is. I still remember how tears caught in my throat over a decade ago, the first time I asked a dentist for an orthodontist referral. Comments And as promised, the braces are working. With 20 months down and about four to go, I can see that the overjet has shrunk to nearly nothing. The gaps where the extracted teeth once were have filled in. And I notice surprising changes every day. My lips now make more of a model-esque Cupid’s bow, something I used to envy in Facebook photos of others. Both edges of my smile rise up evenly now. I’m slowly acquiring the look I envied in those photogenic friends, even if only I notice it.Dr. Brent Larson, the president of the American Association of Orthodontists, and Dr. Lee Graber, secretary-general of the World Federation of Orthodontics, patiently took me through the changes in braces technology over the years, and answered all my questions about adult orthodontics.”As long as you’re alive, teeth can move,” Dr. Larson said.Dr. Graber told me his oldest orthodontics patient was 88, was delighted with his braces, and is now “still going strong into his 90s.”But it wasn’t the technology changes that finally made me decide to get braces at 50. I had to cross a mental line that I honestly didn’t think I could ever get myself over. And maybe you have your own mental line. It might not be braces, but it’s some kind of risk that for whatever reason, is important to you. Maybe it doesn’t matter to anyone else, but you think about it all the time, and wonder if you can ever force yourself to make it happen.The braces on the left date to 1929, and feature actual gold bands on the top teeth. They’re a heck of a lot less subtle than the modern braces on the right, which like mine, feature translucent brackets. Even the wires are impressive: They’re heat-activated nickel-titanium wires developed with help from NASA. American Association of Orthodontists I read recently that Warren Buffett, the Nebraska billionaire, reportedly has three boxes on his desk — IN, OUT and TOO HARD. Who can’t relate to that? I mentally put “braces” in my TOO HARD box for years and years.Not all life improvements are doable. Money prevents us from some. Family or job responsibilities eliminate others. But somewhere in your mental TOO HARD box, there might be a big dream you can actually accomplish.When people would write in to Dear Abby and say they dreamed of going back to college, but worried that they’d be however-many years old when they graduated, they’d get the blunt response: “How old would you be by then if you didn’t get your degree?”The point was clear: You can keep growing and changing and improving yourself as you age, or you can get older and always regret never taking the plunge.If you need to point to someone who discovered that it wasn’t too late to make a major change in her life, you can point to me.I’m 51 years old, and I wear braces. Share your voice Tags Top 5 foods I’ll devour after braces 2 Culture Wellness Now playing: Watch this: I still remember how tears caught in my throat over a decade ago, the first time I asked a dentist for an orthodontist referral. I kept that little green card for probably a year — the hygienist had casually scribbled on it, “severe overbite.” My teeth weren’t causing me any physical issues, but that one word, “severe,” made me think I was a lost cause. It didn’t help that she also cheerily remarked that an orthodontist would probably have to break my jaw to treat my teeth. What? Am I torture-victim Theon in Game of Thrones? Eventually, I threw the card away and tried not to think about it.You know how you can set email reminders to pop up regularly, daily or weekly or whatever? For about three years, I had a reminder that popped up every Wednesday that just said “call about ortho.” And like a tired kid punching the snooze alarm, I slammed it shut and did nothing. I slept on it for literally years. Zzzzz…I can’t believe my boss made me share this photo, but here I am in 1982, the first time I had braces. The brackets were not see-through and subtle like brackets are today. Gael Fashingbauer Cooper It was my husband, who also had braces in the 1980s, who actually woke me up. His top teeth are an orthodontist’s dream, but a few bottom teeth are now crooked. They bothered him, but rather than ignore the issue for a decade like I did, he decided to take action immediately, simply walking into an orthodontist’s office and signing up for a consultation.He convinced me to make an appointment, and I was blown away by how different the experience was from what I had dreaded. The staff was exceptionally friendly, the office was clean, crisp and high-tech, the treatment methods today were as different from those of the 1980s as dial-up internet is from broadband. Brackets are now clear, X-rays are digital, appliances are smaller and more comfortable.But at nearly 50, was I just too old for braces?My treatment wasn’t going to be easy. I couldn’t get away with clear aligners such as Invisalign, my teeth needed more. But that early hygienist had been wrong: No one would need to break my jaw.I did need two teeth extracted to make room for the teeth to move, and believe me, that was the worst part of this experience that’s now going on two years. The teeth were healthy, solid adult teeth that did not want to be evicted, and having them pulled was one of the most unnatural and disturbing experiences I can remember.”That was among the top 10 toughest extractions of my career,” my dentist later told me. You and me both, sister.After the extractions healed, on went the braces. My new orthodontist installed clear brackets, a huge improvement on the silver ones I had as a kid. The clunky silver wire that helped give old-school braces their train-tracks nickname is still there, yes. But in some photos, it’s not clear on first glance I have anything on my teeth at all.Enlarge ImageI’m not the only one at CNET who’s worn braces as an adult. Here’s Iyaz Akhtar showing off his shiny smile at Google headquarters in 2018. He’s since had his braces removed. Iyaz Akhtar This path to a better smile ain’t cheap. A spokesperson for the American Association of Orthodontists said that while her group doesn’t collect information on average costs, the American Dental Association does. In a 2016 survey, that group reported that fees for comprehensive treatment of adolescents ranged from $4,978 to $6,900, and that the range for adults was slightly higher, ranging from $5,100 to $7,045.I had to squeeze my savings to come up with a decent down payment, and there’s a monthly bill similar to a car payment. My dental insurance doesn’t cover any of it, and sometimes, it’s a scramble to pay.Plus, braces require more constant upkeep than I’d have given them as a teen.I can’t eat certain things, from the obvious (caramels or corn on the cob) to the surprising (certain cereals and even rice are a horror to floss out). Cleaning my teeth requires special disposable flossers that I buy online. Brackets pop loose. Wires poke me. Monthly appointments to tighten the braces leave me popping Advil and eating soup. As a teen, I probably would’ve dramatically thrown myself on the bed and demanded to know why my parents were putting me through this.But I’m 51 now, and my sense of what’s painful in life has been tempered by real experiences. I’ve lost loved ones. I’ve worried over biopsies. Two years of dental inconvenience doesn’t make my own top 10 list of life hardships, or maybe even my top 100.
Apple, which initially filed suit against Qualcomm in January 2017, argued that it essentially pays Qualcomm twice, first by purchasing processors and then by paying royalty fees. The tech giant said it should pay fees based only on the cost of the wireless chip inside its iPhones. Apple partners Foxconn and Pegatron, which assemble its devices, agree and have joined the lawsuit. Qualcomm countered that it isn’t a monopoly and said its technology is more than modems so it should be compensated based on the selling price of the phone itself.”In the summer of 2016, Qualcomm went too far,” Cordell said during Tuesday’s opening arguments. “Apple was asked questions by the government. Apple answered the questions, and that enraged Qualcomm.” Then Apple “had the audacity to buy products” from another company, which also “enraged Qualcomm,” he said. At stake in the case are tens of billions of dollars. Apple’s manufacturing partners want a refund of $9 billion for allegedly overpaying royalties since 2013. Under antitrust law, that amount could be tripled. Qualcomm wants damages of its own for breach of contract, though it hasn’t detailed the amount. An even bigger concern for Qualcomm: whether it will have to change its entire business model, collecting far lower royalties based on the price of its chips, not the phones they’re in.The contract manufacturers paid Qualcomm $31 billion for chips from 2010 to 2016 and overpaid $7 billion to $9 billion, Richard Doren of Gibson Dunn said Tuesday during opening arguments on behalf of Foxconn, Pegatron, Wistron and Compal. The overpayment is what could have been tripled under antitrust law. “Why didn’t the contract manufacturers step up?” Doren said. “The reality is they didn’t dare. They are literally between a rock and a hard place” — between their customers and Qualcomm demands. “It’s a delicate and difficult balance. But if you don’t maintain it, you will not survive, and so they stayed quiet,” he said. For consumers, the battle could have resulted in iPhone connectivity speeds that can’t match up to those of Android devices. Apple’s current modem supplier, Intel, doesn’t yet have a 5G chip ready. Qualcomm is the only option for handset makers that want to tap into the ultrafast wireless network this year. We may not see a 5G iPhone until 2020 or even 2021. And if Qualcomm and Apple didn’t resolve their problems, it was unlikely Apple would have Qualcomm modems in its iPhones again anytime soon. Originally published at 10:39 a.m. PTUpdate at 11:11 a.m.: Adds comments from contract manufacturers’ attorneyUpdate at 3:45 p.m.: Adds details about Qualcomm opening argument and settlement. Apple, Qualcomm go head-to-head — with billions at stake • Now playing: Watch this: Apple 4 Aug 31 • iPhone 11, Apple Watch 5 and more: The final rumors Apple and Qualcomm settle licensing dispute amid trial’s opening arguments Apple v. Qualcomm jury includes pilot, former MLB pitcher, retired nurse Apple, Qualcomm head into latest legal battle, with billions at stake What the Apple-Qualcomm battle means for your next iPhone Qualcomm can’t get back the billions it paid Apple, judge rules Cordell noted that 20% of mobile standard essentials patents come from Qualcomm, while 40% come from Ericsson, Nokia, LG, Huawei and InterDigital combined. Those companies together get paid royalties of $3.34 per iPhone, he said. Qualcomm demands $13, Cordell said. “Does that make any sense?” Cordell says. “Is that fair and reasonable?”While Cordell said Qualcomm asked for royalties of $13 per iPhone, Apple testimony during an FTC trial against Qualcomm in January revealed that discounts lowered the Qualcomm licensing fee to $7.50 per iPhone. During the trial, Apple said it should pay only $1.50 per device, a 5% fee for the cost of each $30 modem used in an iPhone. Chesler, meanwhile, argued that Apple’s contract manufacturers were fine with its licensing terms for about 20 years before Apple instructed them to stop payments to Qualcomm.”After all that time, almost 20 years, in April of 2017, all four of the contract manufacturers stopped paying anything for our technology,” he said. At the end of 2018, they owed Qualcomm about $8 billion. “In fact, they have not paid us a dime in the two years since then. Literally billions of dollars.”He noted that because of the battle, Qualcomm’s “stock has plummeted. People have been laid off. Research and development to develop new technology have been canceled.”Duking it outApple has long made the processors that act as the brains of its iPhones, but the company has relied on Qualcomm’s modems to connect its devices to cell networks. From the iPhone 4S in 2011 to the iPhone X in 2017, Qualcomm was the sole provider of 4G chips that helped Apple’s devices access Verizon, AT&T and other wireless services.Qualcomm is the world’s biggest provider of mobile chips, and it created technology that’s essential for connecting phones to cellular networks. The company derives a significant portion of its revenue from licensing those inventions to more than 300 device makers, mostly handset companies. Some patent holders license their intellectual property on an individual basis; Qualcomm licenses all its patents as a group. For a set fee, a device maker gets to use all of Qualcomm’s technology.Because Qualcomm owns patents related to 3G, 4G and 5G phones — as well as other features like software — any handset makers building a device that connects to a network must pay it a licensing fee, even if they don’t use Qualcomm’s chips. Apple licenses Qualcomm’s technology through its manufacturers, like Foxconn, rather than purchasing a license of its own. See also See All Qualcomm 4G LTE Foxconn Apple 3:14 Tags Aug 31 • Your phone screen is gross. Here’s how to clean it Phones Components Tech Industry Qualcomm’s no license, no chips policy — in which it wouldn’t provide processors to a phone maker until the company signed a licensing agreement — meant it effectively charged Apple twice for its patents, said Ruffin Cordell, an attorney with Fish & Richardson who’s representing Apple.”No license, no chips allows them to double dip,” he said during opening arguments. “They get paid twice for the same product. … The other thing it does is allow them to charge patent royalties that are far in excess of that fair and reasonable level.”Qualcomm’s lawyer, meanwhile, argued during his opening statement that the chipmaker was the one harmed in the situation and that it commanded higher royalty fees because its technology was more valuable than its peers.”The reason they pay us more is because what we created is worth more,” said Evan Chesler of the firm Cravath, Swaine & Moore.Monday marked the start of the five-week, $27 billion trial that was expected to determine whether Qualcomm operates a smartphone modem chip monopoly that charges too much in licensing fees. The jury trial was being argued before US District Court Judge Gonzalo P. Curiel of the Southern District of California in San Diego. The outcome could’ve affected what wireless networks your phone taps into. But Qualcomm attorney Chesler hadn’t yet finished his opening arguments when news broke that the two companies had reached a settlement. (Check out our full report on that here.)Licensing spatQualcomm engaged in four anticompetitive acts, Cordell said Tuesday. It had a policy of not licensing patents to competitors, which he said broke Qualcomm’s vow to the standards body. Qualcomm’s no license, no chips strategy made customers pay twice, Cordell said, while its exclusivity agreements locked out competition. Qualcomm’s agreements with companies also included obstruction/gag clauses that reinforced Qualcomm’s “illegal scheme.””This case is about the fact that Qualcomm has used its monopoly … to set unfair prices and stifle competition and dictate terms to some of the biggest, most powerful companies in the world, that rational companies would never agree to in a million years,” Cordell said. From 2010 to 2016, the iPhone maker paid Qualcomm $16.1 billion for chips and $7.23 billion for licensing fees. But the amount should have been much lower, Apple said. No license, no chips allows them to double dip. Ruffin Cordell, an attorney with Fish & Richardson who’s representing Apple Share your voice Aug 31 • Best places to sell your used electronics in 2019 Comments reading • Apple, Qualcomm make opening arguments just before settlement is unveiled Aug 31 • iPhone XR vs. iPhone 8 Plus: Which iPhone should you buy? Lawyers for Apple, its contract manufacturers and Qualcomm made their pitches Tuesday morning to a jury about why their side was right in the licensing dispute. But before the opening arguments even finished, the parties had reached a settlement. So marked the end of a battle that had the potential to change the mobile industry. Apple had accused Qualcomm of anticompetitive practices that have raised chip prices, restricted competition and hurt customer choice. Qualcomm had countered that Apple’s iPhone wouldn’t be possible without its technology, and it deserved to be paid for its innovation. Apple and its contract manufacturers have paid Qualcomm billions of dollars for chips and licensing, but the bill should have been much lower, their attorneys said Tuesday in opening arguments at the trial that was to determine the future of Qualcomm’s licensing business.
The best San Diego Comic-Con celebrity disguises This created a massive problem for Comic-Con’s security team and fire marshals. An enormous crowd of people that should have been moving like normal was now standing completely still, and all the exits were being blocked by fans trying to get through this terrifying wall of human flesh.The photo op only lasted a few minutes before security broke it up. So even though many of us snapped a few photos, it was impossible to get the full shot of all the Leias at once. Now if you want to get photos of massive meet-ups between Marvel superheroes, Star Wars Stormtroopers and everything in between, Comic-Con makes it a rule to have these cosplayer photo ops happen outside the building. 7. A fan gets stabbed in the eyeNot everything at Comic-Con is fun. When lines grow longer and the celebrity panels are harder to gain entrance to, fans can find themselves in dangerous situations. In 2010, I spent a lot of time in Hall H, covering panels for StarWars.com and other geeky news outlets. I took quite a few breaks to leave the giant room, unlike the more hardcore fans who refused to leave their seats.Fans who decided to stay the full day inside the room found themselves in the middle of a crime scene when one fan stabbed another fan in the eye with a pen over a seat. This room seats over 6,000 people, and usually there are twice that many people waiting in line to get in. So tensions run high. The attacked man recovered, but the pen stabber was arrested for assault. In true Comic-Con fashion, the next day a few cosplayers decided to dress up as a fan stabbed in the eye. There’s no such thing as “too soon” where Comic-Con gallows humor is concerned. 8. Getting a hug from George R.R. MartinGeorge R.R. Martin gives the best hugs. Bonnie Burton/CNET Game of Thrones first aired on HBO in 2011, and author George R.R. Martin was just starting to become a household name back in 2012. I was attending a private party held by Big Bang Theory co-creator Bill Prady at Comic-Con that year and was delighted to learn Martin would be there. I loved Martin’s books long before the TV series came out, but I was also such a diehard fan that I ended up writing a scathing letter to the editor of The New York Times when a TV critic accused Game of Thrones of having romance so women would tune in. When Martin’s publicist found out I was at the party, he came over and said Martin wanted to thank me for writing that letter — which was pretty amazing considering I didn’t have the courage to say hello on my own. Martin told me he appreciated me standing up for female fans of the show and gave me an Iron Islands copper coin featuring the image of Balon Greyjoy. I also got one heck of a hug. 9. Bringing down the house in Geek Girls panelsHere I am sitting next to geek girl goddess Adrianne Curry dressed as Leeloo from The Fifth Element on one of the many geek girl panels at Comic-Con. Bonnie Burton/CNET Female fans of Star Wars, Star Trek, Doctor Who and so many other properties are constantly having to prove their geekdom. In 2012, women at Comic-Con were routinely accused of being “Fake Geek Girls” and, in response, Comic-Con featured quite a few panels focusing on female fandom to remind the guys we weren’t going anywhere. I was honored to be on a few of these panels alongside female actors, writers, directors, comic book creators and celebs. In one of my favorite memories, I sat next to America’s Next Top Model winner and avid cosplayer Adrianne Curry, who was dressed as Leeloo from the movie The Fifth Element. Curry talked at length about her love and knowledge of all things Star Wars, video games and sci-fi in general. It was refreshing to see a woman, who also happened to be a reality TV star, stand up to harassment and wave her geek pride flag for all to see. Back then, geek girls were treated like a novelty instead of the norm. So these kinds of panels were a great way to remind everyone that female fans knew their stuff. We weren’t showing off our fandom to impress the guys, we were celebrating our geeky obsessions as equals. 10. Jane Wiedlin and Milo Ventimiglia become honorary StormtroopersThis Is Us actor Milo Ventimiglia gets inducted into the 501st Legion at Comic-Con. Bonnie Burton/CNET When you see celebs geek out over the same things you do, there’s a sense of solidarity that can’t be matched. At Comic-Con, it’s fun to see A-list actors freak out over the latest Star Wars Lego set, or get tongue-tied around their favorite comic book artist. Enlarge ImageGo-Go’s band member Jane Wiedlin proudly holds up her 501st Legion plaque. Bonnie Burton/CNET Over the years at Comic-Con, I helped the official Star Wars Stormtrooper cosplayer group the 501st Legion with a few honorary inductions for celebrities. These are always meant to be a surprise for the celebrity nominated by the group, and can be tricky to pull off at Comic-Con.Usually, celebrities are ambushed at Comic-Con by a group of Stormtroopers who present them with a 501st Legion plaque and badge. It’s a huge honor for any Star Wars fan, and the celebrity in question is always delightfully shocked by the impromptu ceremony. In 2009, I was at Comic-Con to help present Go-Go’s band member Jane Wiedlin and This is Us actor Milo Ventimiglia with their honorary inductions into the 501st Legion. The ceremonies took place on different days during the convention but still managed to surprise Wiedlin and Ventimiglia, who were both gobsmacked.While not everyone can be honored by Stormtroopers, it’s a fun reminder that even the celebs you admire the most love geeky movies or TV shows as much as you do. Survival tips from Adam Savage, Jim Lee and more insiders Comic-Con is nearly 50: A glimpse of pop culture at its start First-time cosplay is terrifying, complicated and exhilarating Game of Thrones writers Benioff and Weiss pull out of panel Post a comment 62 Photos TV and Movies Comics Tags 3:00 Now playing: Watch this: The last time I attended one of Savage’s Comic-Con parties, it was in a packed nightclub where all his past cosplay costumes were on display. I was in a VIP area surrounded by fans and a few celebrities like director Guillermo del Toro. Savage’s parties are a good way to see your favorite geeky celebs in one place, if you can get in. Pro tip: If you really want to see celebs in party mode, hang around outside the Hard Rock Hotel on Saturday nights for the Entertainment Weekly party. It’s usually the hottest ticket for celebs who want to let loose without the paparazzi harassing them. The year I attended the party, I sat at one of the outdoor fire pits next to The X-Files star Gillian Anderson and Sherlock co-creator and actor Mark Gatiss. 6. Slave Leia photoshoot brings Comic-Con to a standstillThis is only a small section of the large gathering of Slave Leia cosplayers at Comic-Con. Bonnie Burton/CNET Every year, at the Lucasfilm area on the convention floor, cosplayers will gather to take an epic group shot. Usually it’s Stormtroopers or all the Jedi Masters posing en masse for fans to snap photos. But in 2009, there seemed to be a record number of Slave Leia cosplayers. Not just women but men donning the sexy costume made famous by Carrie Fisher in Return of the Jedi. Almost 100 Slave Leias gathered to pose with a giant Jabba the Hutt statue proudly standing inside the Lucasfilm area. When that many Slave Leia cosplayers show up in one small area for a photo op, you can imagine how many fans refused to budge. Not only were no fans moving, more of them were rushing to the spot to see if they could get the best angle for a photo. The best San Diego Comic-Con celebrity disguises Share your voice It’s not San Diego Comic-Con unless you’re surrounded by Star Wars cosplayers. Bonnie Burton/CNET I’ve been attending San Diego Comic-Con for over 20 years — as an author, Lucasfilm employee and hard-core comics and pop culture fan — and every year seems crazier than the last. Sadly, I’m not attending this year’s event, so I’m feeling a little nostalgic recalling some of the wackiest things that have happened to me at the convention. Ready? Here we go… 1. Stan Lee and Mark Hamill singing me Happy BirthdayStan Lee on one of the many comic book convention panels promoting his World of Heroes YouTube channel. Bonnie Burton/CNET My birthday falls in July, so I’ve often spent it at SDCC. One time, a waiter dressed like Batman brought me a birthday cake, and another time I used a lightsaber replica to hit a pinata shaped like Darth Vader on a friend’s houseboat. But one of my favorite birthday memories from Comic-Con involves Star Wars actor Mark Hamill and the late, great Marvel superhero comics creator Stan Lee.In 2012, Lee was briefly my boss when I created and hosted a web series called Geek DIY for his YouTube network World of Heroes.During our World of Heroes press tour, I was on a Comic-Con panel in one of the biggest convention rooms, Hall H, with Lee, Mark Hamill and a few others who had shows on Lee’s network. I was anxious about talking in front of a room full of comic book fans and thrilled to be breathing the same air as Lee and Hamill.As fate would have it, it was my 40th birthday that day, and when I told Lee he gave me a huge hug and urged me not to be nervous. We took the stage and sat down. Then Lee winked at me and told the crowd to sing Happy Birthday to me. Both Lee and Hamill led the audience in a very special happy birthday sing-a-long, which still can’t be beat as one of my best SDCC memories ever. 2. Meeting the real Loki by accident At Comic-Con, it’s not uncommon to see cosplayers looking like such dead ringers for Tony Stark, Wonder Woman, Shazam or Thor you do a double-take and think they’re the very characters you’ve seen on screen. In 2013, I found myself enthralled with a cosplayer dressed as Loki. Everyone was just starting to catch Avengers fever with Marvel superhero movies like Iron Man, Thor and Captain America. Thor: The Dark World was about to come out, and fans were buzzing with excitement at Comic-Con. I was in the secret labyrinth of hallways inside the San Diego Convention Center trying my best to get to a panel. Sometimes, if you know the right security people, they’ll let you take a shortcut through these halls, which are often used by celebrities avoiding crowded hallways full of fans jostling for autographs or coveted selfies. As I was rushing behind the stage, I almost ran right into an impressive cosplayer dressed as Loki — the Asgardian god of mischief and adopted half-brother of Thor. The cosplayer not only had the perfect Loki costume, he could have been the twin of Tom Hiddleston, who portrayed him in the movies. He even had the actor’s British accent down perfectly.I said, “Wow, your Loki cosplay is killer!”He responded, “Thank you. That’s very kind of you to say.” Then he walked off toward Hall H with a few people around him, hurrying him away. The very best cosplay we saw at Comic-Con 2019 After my panel, I found out Hiddleston had stormed the Hall H stage dressed like Loki as a surprise for fans. It was during Marvel’s panel to promote Thor: The Dark World.Turns out I didn’t compliment a random Loki cosplayer. I complimented Hiddleston himself! Loki probably would have found that amusing.3. Chewbacca actor Peter Mayhew saying hi to my Chewbacca puppetActor Peter Mayhew poses with my Chewbacca sock puppet from my Star Wars Craft Book. Bonnie Burton When I worked at Lucasfilm as a senior editor for StarWars.com, I always felt honored when my path crossed with that of late Chewbacca actor Peter Mayhew. Whenever he visited Lucasfilm headquarters or attended one of the many comic book conventions I went to, Mayhew always said hello and gave me one of his famous Wookiee hugs.When I was doing the first book signing for my Star Wars Craft Book at SDCC in 2011, I was super nervous about meeting fans as an author. Mayhew stopped by to say hello and pose for a photo holding my Chewbacca sock puppet. His visit to my signing gave me the much needed confidence boost I needed to chat with fellow fans who wanted my signature.4. Star Wars Revenge of the Sith movie title revealIn 2004, I was backstage when Lucasfilm made a big announcement — the name of its next Star Wars film, Revenge of the Sith. Back then internet spoilers weren’t a thing; and social media hadn’t taken over our lives. So it was still a big deal when a movie name — especially for something as big as Star Wars — was revealed.Back in 2004, Saturdays at Comic-Con were called “Star Wars Saturdays” and everyone in Hall H expected surprises. Fans in Hall H that day were treated to video montages of behind-the-scenes moments during filming with actors Ewan McGregor playing Obi-Wan Kenobi and Hayden Christensen as Anakin Skywalker. Finally, after the last montage video, the movie’s title was revealed to the world and the crowd went wild. Over 6,000 fans screamed the name of the movie over and over. Originally published July 18, 9:09 a.m. PT. Now playing: Watch this: Comic-Con When the house lights came up, the panel’s host wore a black T-shirt with the movie’s new title in red. The second he said the limited-edition T-shirt was on sale at the Star Wars store on the show floor, people jumped from their chairs and ran for the doors to get theirs. I ended up volunteering at the store to make sure the excited mob of Star Wars fans didn’t trample anyone in the process. It was both terrifying and thrilling.5. Partying with Adam SavageIf you ever party with Adam Savage make sure you get a selfie. Bonnie Burton/CNET These days, celebrity-infested parties are common, but in the mid-2000s it was pretty rare to see TV and movie stars mingle with fans at SDCC social functions. One of my favorite parties was thrown annually by MythBusters co-host Adam Savage. I had worked with Savage when he was at ILM and I was at Lucasfilm. We became fast friends, and when he became a MythBusters megastar, he would invite his pals to his hotel room for a small, friendly gathering over the years. At these private parties, I would meet fellow geeks, but also the original cast of Mystery Science Theater 3000, Star Trek actors, beloved voice actors, prominent scientists and popular comedians. But soon his intimate gatherings started to get bigger and he couldn’t accommodate all the guests in his hotel room. He moved his party to a slightly bigger hotel room, then later to a conference room, then to a restaurant and eventually a nightclub. More Comic-Con 2019 3:00 0 DC Comics Wonder Woman Stan Lee Mark Hamill Marvel Batman Thor Captain America Doctor Who Star Trek Star Wars Iron Man The Avengers