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The fortunes of some of the world’s richest people took a hefty swing this past week. Images: Getty
The fortunes of some of the world’s richest people took a hefty swing this past week–in both directions. Indian tycoon Gautam Adani‘s ranking among the world’s richest continued to drop and his group on Wednesday announced it was cancelling a $2.5 billion stock offering for Adani Enterprises that it had just completed. His fortune is now less than half what it was two weeks ago, following allegations by a short seller of stock manipulation and accounting fraud. (Adani Group denies the allegations.)
The S&P 500 was up by a modest 1.6% this week and the Nasdaq up 3.3%. This week’s biggest gainers outperformed those indices. Mark Zuckerberg had his biggest day yet, with shares of Meta Platforms catapulting 23% Thursday following the social media company’s latest earnings report, which exceeded analysts’ expectations.
And the gender mix of the world’s top 10 richest changed–a little bit. L’Oreal heir Francoise Bettencourt Meyers moved into that elite group–one that had been all men earlier this week.Here’s how some of the world’s richest people fared last week.
The net worth change is from close of markets Friday, January 27 through Friday, February 3.
All figures in this article are in USD.Gautam Adani Net Worth: $61.7 bil Down $34.9 bil
Gautam Adani. Image: Getty
Adani, who was was the third-richest person in the world as of January 24, continued his slide down the ranks of the world’s richest in the past week–part of the ongoing fallout from allegations last week by short-seller Hindenburg Research that Adani’s group of companies engaged in stock manipulation and accounting fraud. On Wednesday, Adani Enterprises announced it was cancelling a $2.5 billion share offering that it had just completed. Adani’s fortune plunged $35 billion this past week–following a $31 billion drop the previous week. Altogether, his net worth has been halved in the past two weeks and he now ranks the 17th richest globally, worth $61.7 billion, according to Forbes, just behind Meta’s Mark Zuckerberg.
Two companies that Hindenburg Research accused of assisting the Adani Group in the alleged conspiracy include Elara Capital (India) Private Limited and Monarch Network Capital, which Forbes reported on Wednesday were two of the underwriters Adani Enterprises disclosed in its $2.5 billion share offering earlier this week.
Adani overtook fellow Indian billionaire Mukesh Ambani last February to become the richest person in Asian and the 10th richest in the world; in September became the second richest with a fortune of $155 billion.Mark Zuckerberg Net Worth: $66.8 bil Up $12.1 bil
Founder and CEO of US online social media and social networking service Facebook Mark Zuckerberg had his biggest one-day increase in ten years.. Image: Getty
Zuckerberg, who has been pushing development of the Metaverse, seemed to shift course during Meta’s earnings call on Wednesday, declaring 2023 the “year of efficiency” and discussing generative AI tech that has attracted other big names such as Microsoft and Alphabet.Elon Musk Net Worth: $184.2 bil Up $2.9 bil
Elon Musk. Image: Getty
Following the better than expected fourth-quarter earnings reported by Tesla on January 25, the stock had another good week, rising nearly 7% and lifting Musk’s fortune by $2.9 billion. On Friday, the IRS updated its guidelines for defining a crossover or SUV, qualifying the Tesla Model Y for additional clean vehicle tax credits. Musk ranks as the No. 2 richest person in the world after LVMH’s Bernard Arnault.Francoise Bettencourt Meyerset Worth: $84 bil Up $2 bil
Earlier this week the world’s ten richest people were all men. That changed on Friday, when Francoise Bettencourt Meyers moved into the No. 10 spot, up No. 12 at the end of last week. She and her children are one-third owners of cosmetics giant L’Oreal S.A., shares of which rose nearly 2% on Friday. That was enough to land her above former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer (at No. 11) and India’s Mukesh Ambani (at No. 12).Brian Armstrong Net Worth: $3.1 bil Up $540 mil
The CEO of the cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase Global saw his wealth jump 20% this week, notably after a federal judge in New York on Wednesday dismissed a class-action suit against Coinbase; the suit alleged that dozens of tokens offered by Coinbase were unregistered securities and were not properly sold to customers. The dismissal indicated to investors that there is “low risk medium-term” for exchanges, whIch are not yet subject to regulation by the Securities and Exchange Commission, said Owen Lau, a senior analyst at Oppenheimer & Co. Coinbase shares ended the week up nearly 22%, and Armstrong’s fortune climbed $540 million.
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Biometrics and AI are set to reimagine the experience of how we travel for business.
Biometrics and Artificial Intelligence are poised to change the face of business travel experiences by streamlining movements and contributing to a more frictionless journey.
Airlines have faced massive criticism when borders reopened after Covid lockdowns and tourists jumped at the opportunity to travel again. Lost baggage, delays, cancellations and general dismay ensued.
But for those that are travelling, movement is changing with the use of biometrics and artificial intelligence, with companies re-imagining the airport experience, and putting customer ease and satisfaction front of mind.
Melbourne-based company Elenium Automation designs and manufactures self-service technologies, working with more than 25 airports globally to create an automated passenger experience.
Image source: Supplied
Elenium CEO Aaron Hornlimann says his “ultimate vision” for the future of the travel industry is an entirely contactless journey through the airport, from the check-in kiosks to boarding, reducing time wasted in queues and the potential for human error.
“The reason we were founded was to disrupt the aviation passenger experience. We felt it was very agricultural, almost like herding cattle through a station,” he says in an interview with Forbes Australia.
Introducing biometrics to airports will replace the need for boarding passes and passports with facial recognition technology, which allows customers to “glide” through the airport in an entirely automated experience.
“We weren’t the first to market with some of these technologies,” Hornlimann admits, adding that “some of the airports in Australia have had automated bag drop for more than 10 years, but it was still a very slow and clunky process that often didn’t work. We’ve eliminated all that complication.”
Elenium’s bag drop technology takes as little as 15 seconds to use and has success rates of above 95%, Hornlimann says.
Image source: Supplied
While biometric technologies like the ones Elenium manufactures are now positioned to become increasingly prevalent, there was initial concern from airports about passengers lacking human interaction.
“I think because technology has become part of our everyday lives, for the large part driven by the mobile phone, there’s greater acceptance,” Hornlimann explains, “and what we’re finding in the customer feedback is they actually prefer going through an automated system if it works well, because they have more control over their whole experience.”
An automated system does present clear benefits, which could potentially entice the return of uneasy corporate travel customers. Time isn’t wasted standing in queues, and customers needn’t worry about communication barriers, as they can set their own language preference.
Replacing positions previously held by humans with automations could reduce the significant staffing issues seen in the aviation sector over the past year, allowing airports who use the technologies to prioritise the human resources they have to areas where they are needed.
Aside from the obvious changes the travel industry has faced as a result of the Covid pandemic, there is also significant systematic change taking place as improving technology is seeing smaller airports having an increased capacity for larger and longer commercial flights. For Elenium, this means increasing demand from a wider catchment of airports looking to improve their passenger experience. For business travellers, this means increasing accessibility to high-quality airports.
Given the demand for modernised airports, it is not surprising that Elenium isn’t the only company attempting to create an easier, seamless travel experience. Amadeus IT works with biometric technology developed in Sydney to speed up the boarding experience and eliminate time spent in queues.
In an interview with Forbes Australia during the 2023 Illuminate corporate travel showcase in Sydney, Amadeus IT’s managing director of the Pacific region, Kaylene Shuttlewood, explained their technology “includes bag drop, right through security and then right through the boarding gate as well. You don’t need to try and find your passport or your boarding pass, it’s all done by the biometric scan of your facial ID”.
Amadeus IT’s managing director of the Pacific region, Kaylene Shuttlewood, explains the technology on offer.
Amadeus IT has been developing this technology for some time, however, production was expedited by Covid, when contact-free customer experiences became increasingly important.
“The demand is certainly there. We’ve seen the last couple of years that the whole airport passenger experience needs to be seamless… they don’t want passengers to dwell or stand in a queue.
“And of course, it requires less people on the front line to manually check documentation and to provide boarding passes,” Shuttlewood says.
Despite the difficult year faced by airlines in 2023, and concerns over a sluggish return to business travel, Hornlimann doesn’t think we should be worried.
“The impacts of video conferencing will be lasting, and the aviation industry will have to work out how they compete against that.”
Additional reporting by Elise Shaw
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These experts provide a rare look inside the world of marketing agencies. What tactics are they focusing on right now? What can an aspiring marketing professional do to prepare themselves for working at an agency?
Those are just some of the questions I get their unique insight on in the videos below.How to Aim for a Career in Digital Advertising: An Interview with James Loomstein Here are some key takeaways from the video:
There has been a big shift from the days when marketing agencies used to have hundreds of employees spread out across multiple locations. That’s something you don’t see anymore.
In regards to designing, James says the ability to create a beautiful website was a great skill to have years ago. In the world of big data, even designers need to fundamentally understand where businesses are going and what challenges they are trying to solve.
Instead of aiming for a breadth of knowledge, James recommends focusing on a deep understanding of one in-demand subjectTips for Finding An Ad Agency For Your Buisness: An Interview with Adam Proehl Here are some key takeaways from the video:
Before looking for an agency to market your business, first figure out exactly what it is that you’re trying to solve. For example, do you want better search engine rankings? Do you want to sell more products or services? Narrow down what your goals are.
There are often legitimate arguments within a business as to whether they should outsource their marketing or do it internally.
If you need high level expertise of the particular field your business is in, it’s near impossible to find that kind of expertise in a marketing agency. That’s when it would be better to do your marketing internally. If you’re trying to solve a short term need that doesn’t necessarily require high level subject matter expertise, hire an agency.Focusing On Your Demographic: An Interview With Joelle Blaikie Here are some key takeaways from the video:
Joelle has found that one of the most valuable tactics in marketing right now is really understanding the demographic you’re trying to reach.
What is your demographic using to search the web? What kind of content are they looking for? These are good questions to ask when trying to learn more about your demographic.
Joelle gives the example of the demographic she has been working with lately: Moms. What she has learned about this demographic is that they’re very social, enjoy connecting with other parents, and spend most of their time online browsing Facebook or Pinterest.
With that insight, Joelle has focused her marketing dollars on the social networks where her demographic spends the most time. She found this kind of focused approach to be much more effective.
Please visit SEJ’s YouTube page for more video interviews.
The future of business relies on real-time data analysis and prescriptive insight that results in immediate action—across all areas of an enterprise. BI platforms heavily focus on data visualization, which can do a great job displaying information for a large audience. However too often, information is collected and delivered to decision-makers using BI and analytics platforms, only to lay dormant for too long or misinterpreted and acted upon incorrectly. A company which stands tall in providing a platform that automatically turns data into clear, understandable narrative is Automated Insights, Inc.
Automated Insights (Ai) was founded in 2007. The company is headquartered in Durham, North Carolina with offices in New York, Seattle, and Portland. Ai is the creator of Wordsmith, the world’s first publicly available natural language generation (NLG) platform. Ai became the first NLG company acquired by a private equity firm (Vista Equity Partners, a $30B+ Private Equity firm), in 2024. Ai’s NLG platform enables companies to turn their data into written analytics and understandable narrative.
Ai was founded with a primary focus in the sports industry, generating content such as sporting event recaps and personalized fantasy football narratives. Since then, the company has seen NLG horizontally adopted across industries. Ai’s mission is “Making the World’s Data Understandable.” The company has customers across different industries, including financial services, consumer goods, sports, media, gaming, etc. One area Ai is seeing rapid growth in is business intelligence—whether that’s business and partnerships with BI and analytics platforms themselves or with individual enterprises who have dashboard(s) with these platforms and are looking for an automated process around manual reporting and written insights.
Meet the Maestro
Marc Zionts, the CEO of Automated Insights, is a technology executive and entrepreneur who has been successfully leading companies since 1987. He earned his Bachelor’s degree and Master’s degree in Management from the Georgia Institute of Technology and remains active at Georgia Tech as an Alumni Mentor. Zionts is also an Independent Board Director for Pivot 3, TEOCO, a TA Associates portfolio company, and Friends of the Earth, a Washington D.C. based environmental group. Since joining Automated Insights in 2023, the company more than doubled its revenue in 2023 and is set for triple-digit growth annually as it moves forward in 2023 and beyond.
A Revolutionary Innovative Platform
Ai is particularly an innovator in the natural language generation space, as it is the first company to have a self-service platform for customers to structure, edit, and generate data-driven narratives. Ai also has a rich history of partnerships and integrations with various companies and platforms across many industries. The company’s partners include Tableau, MicroStrategy, TIBCO, Amazon, Zapier, Icimo, to name a few. Below are some valuable words from the client.
“Wordsmith’s NLG-powered narratives within Spotfire provide immediate context to our users’ data. The ability to obtain insights so simply, from within the Spotfire UI, is brand new to the industry.”, said Michael O’Connell, Chief Analytics Officer, TIBCO.
Ai is proud to be recognized for the innovation and extraordinary services it offers to its clients. The company has won the Triangle Business Journal’s “Best Places to Work” award five different years now. CIO Review named Automated Insights as one of 2023’s Most Promising Business Intelligence Solution Providers. The company has won first place in the annual Tableau Conference Hackathon in both 2024 and 2023 and was featured in the Keynote Address at the Tableau Conference in 2023.
Facing Business Struggles
The largest challenge Ai has faced until now is being the first to market in the NLG space, releasing its Wordsmith self-service platform to the general public in 2024. Ai is defining a new category of technology which is directly bundled with natural language processing and the larger category of artificial intelligence. Educating the market and distilling the technology to specific use cases that provide massive value to customers has been a wonderful challenge. The demand for the solution is also a great growing pain the company has encountered, which is why Ai is constantly hiring new employees and forming strong partnerships to aptly address the large inbound demand received. All are very good problems to have!
Strategies for the Future
Automated Insights is focused on building its product development efforts, growing rapidly with the BI and system integrator partners, and continuing to grow the team. By this time next year, Ai will likely be twice the size they are now in headcount and will be growing around the world with an awesome set of partners. Regarding the future of the industry, Zionts says “We’ll be seeing much more interest in how NLG can solve a plethora of data-driven problems enterprises are facing. In particular, we’ve already been seeing enterprises seeking much more transparency in how this technology transforms data into a written narrative and looking for deeper connections and partnerships with NLG providers like Automated Insights”.
Below is the script for the video above. If you want, give it a watch. If you want the info without the sound, read on. Also, while we have you, why don’t you subscribe to Popular Science on YouTube?
So you want to make the world’s farthest-traveling paper airplane. There are four things to consider:No. 1: The Paper
Paper is measured in the weight of a ream—500 pages. The average copier paper in the U.S. is 20-24 pound stock. Guinness World Record rules allow us to use paper that weighs up to 100 GSM (grams per square meter), or about 26.4 pounds. When you’re looking for distance, you want your paper as heavy as possible.
Paper that heavy usually comes in A4—an international paper size not commonly used in the U.S.
John Collins, the paper plane designer who currently holds the world-record, says you want paper that’s been photocopied on.
The heat process from the photocopy machine stiffens the paper. And the ink is not actually ink, it’s a microfine layer of plastic. Those two things—the heat and the plastic—help the paper hold a crease. Use something that’s in the recycle bin, you know? And don’t use something that’s been printed on. That ink will hurt the fibers of the paper. You want something that’s been photocopied onto if you’re using recycled papers.No. 2: Forces and Center of Gravity
For any paper airplane, you’ll have to deal with two major forces during your flight—lift (upward force) and drag (backward force).Your plane needs to generate more lift than drag to go up—when more drag is generated than lift, the plane falls.
You have to engineer in a way for the plane to gain speed to counteract drag. You put a small bend at the back of the plane, upward, so that when the plane has gained sufficient speed, there’s enough air bouncing off of that upward bend to deflect the tail back down and that pulls the nose back up. Now it’s level again.
When designing your plane, you’ll want to make sure the wings are bent upward. This is called a positive dihedral angle, and helps the plane to correct itself if it starts to sway. When one side dips too low, it produces extra lift and the plane will return to its center of gravity.No. 3: Location! Location! Location!
It’s not easy to find a space big enough. Collins’ world-record breaking airplane was thrown by quarterback Joe Ayoob at the McClellan Air Force Base in Sacramento, CA. Collins says you need the perfect weather conditions.
All of our best throwing days were 52 to 62 degrees, 25-30% humidity. If the air thickness is wrong, or if the wings aren’t stiff enough to take care of the air quality, the plane tends to die in that last third. You want perfectly stable.No. 4: The Throw
The best form isn’t like a pitcher in baseball, or even like an NFL quarterback—it’s like a javelin thrower.
The great thing about Joe is that he had a way, a knowledge, of changing his throw to match the sport that really was invaluable in, like, looking how to throw the paper airplane the best way. We worked together for about 18 months and he was working on his throwing technique the whole time.
To summarize: Find 100 GSM A4 paper, design your plane with the proper center of gravity and center of lift, and throw it the right way in the right place under the right conditions. Congrats, you’re now a world record holder.
For more, check out the video, above. You can also subscribe to Popular Science on YouTube.
The cellphone industry has a new king. South Korea’s Samsung is #1 in the market, unseating the Finnish-based Nokia after fourteen years. As 2012 wraps up, Samsung is responsible for 29 percent of all cell phone shipments, up from last year’s 24 percent.
However, the increasing adoption of smartphones places added stress on the Galaxy maker and could empower iPhone maker Apple.
Wayne Lam, a senior analyst for iSuppli’s wireless communication research, wrote Tuesday that the competitive reality of the cellphone market in 2012 was ‘live by the smartphone, die by the smartphone’, adding:
Smartphones represent the fastest-growing segment of the cellphone market – and will account for nearly half of all wireless handset shipments for all of 2012.
Samsung’s successes and Nokia’s struggles in the cellphone market this year were determined entirely by the two companies’ divergent fortunes in the smartphone sector.
While Samsung will see its share of smartphone shipped hit 28 percent in 2012 – an eight percent increase over a year ago – Nokia saw its share fall to five percent in 2012, down precipitously from sixteen percent a year ago, according to the research firm.
Meanwhile, Apple continues to play in smartphones only, targeting only the high-end market. Now, part of Nokia’s decline can also be traced to its move from the Symbian operating system to the Windows Phone software supplied by Microsoft.
Because of the rapid shift away from simple feature phones to smartphones, it is unclear whether Samsung can hold onto the overall #1 cellphone spot as long as Nokia. Like Nokia, Samsung sells both so-called dumb phones and smartphones, allowing it to lead Apple by almost 20 points.
The South Korean company has 29 percent of cellphone shipments versus ten percent for Apple, says iSuppli.
As such, Samsung must ensure its feature phone customers migrate to its smartphones, or at least sell enough smartphones to balance the dropping dumb phones. Currently, Samsung and Apple together control a combined 48 percent of the world’s smartphone shipments.
While this year saw the implosion of smartphone sales by Nokia and RIM and the resulting movement to other smartphone providers, prompting the eight point rise of Samsung’s top standing to 28 percent, the future isn’t as clear cut.
The two-way race between Samsung and Apple could become a bit more crowded in 2013 as Microsoft’s Windows Phone gains more fans. As well, Apple is expected to unveil a number of new and updated products, including the iPhone 6, a Retina-based iPad mini and perhaps the first US-made Mac since the 1990s.
Perhaps the most intriguing game-changer in 2013 that could spell trouble for Samsung is the seeming decision by Apple to return to an earlier mid-year product announcement schedule. Since the iPhone 4S, Apple’s competitors have had most of the year to unveil their rival smartphones and tablets, position them as better than the iPhone or iPad.
Additionally, not only would the slow launch drain away some potential buyers, but the timing made Wall Street uneasy. With a target on its back as the top cellphone and smartphone maker, Samsung should be in for an interesting 2013.
As for Apple, it has always performed well as the underdog.
In all races, it is better to be the challenger than the leader of the pack.
Wouldn’t you agree?
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