Elon Musk pulled his ‘last remaining house’ off the market after vowing to get rid of all his ‘physical possessions’ last year

Elon Musk
Elon Musk on August 13, 2021 at a press event on the grounds of the Tesla Gigafactory near Berlin.

  • Musk listed his Bay Area mansion for $37.5 million in June in a quest to offload all his property.
  • The listing was pulled down last week, according to Zillow records.
  • The billionaire pledged to sell “all physical possessions” in 2020 to fund the colonization of Mars.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Elon Musk almost followed through on his pledge to sell off his entire $100 million real-estate portfolio.

In June, Musk said that he offloaded all his houses – except for one home in the California Bay Area that he rented out for events.

“Decided to sell my last remaining house,” Musk tweeted about the home in June. “Just needs to go to a large family who will live there,” he wrote.

Zillow records show that the home was listed for sale by owner on June 13 for $37.5 million. The listing was then removed by owner on September 11, according to Zillow and first reported by the New York Post.

Elon Musk's Bay Area home in a Zillow listing.
Zillow listing for 891 Crystal Springs Rd, Hillsborough, CA.

The listing touted that the sprawling 1961 mansion has 16,000 square feet of interior space and sits on 47 acres in Hillsborough, California. The home has an 11-car garage, a ballroom, 10 bathrooms for just six bedrooms, and access to hiking trails. “It’s a special place,” Musk wrote in a June tweet.

He purchased the property for just over $23 million in 2017 from Christian de Guigne IV, whose aristocratic family owned the property for over a century.

While there seemed to have been no active push to sell the property as it was listed without an agent, the couple months the home spent on the market speak to Musk’s larger plan to offload all his assets.

In May 2020, Musk tweeted that he planned to sell “almost all physical possessions” and would “own no house.”

He is dedicating as much money as he can to colonizing Mars, and is selling his material possessions to fund this, he told Mathias Döpfner, the CEO of Insider’s parent company, Axel Springer, in a December interview. He’s already sold a smattering of homes in the Bel-Air neighborhood of Los Angeles, including a $7 million home that once belonged to the actor Gene Wilder and a $29 million mansion snapped up by a Chinese billionaire.

“It’s going to take a lot of resources to build a city on Mars,” Musk told Döpfner. “I want to be able to contribute as much as possible to the city,” he continued. “That means just a lot of capital.”

Musk tweeted that his current primary residence is a prefab tiny home worth $50,000 in Boca Chica, Texas, that he rents from SpaceX, his aerospace company.

SpaceX completed the world’s first all-tourist flight to orbit this weekend, opening the door to private space tourism and Musk’s ultimate vision for the company.

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Tim Cook is ‘really stoked’ about AI

Apple CEO Tim Cook.
Apple CEO Tim Cook.

  • In a new interview with TIME, Apple CEO Tim Cook said AI is the most exciting tech of our time.
  • Cook said AI is “already everywhere” and has the potential to improve lives.
  • He noted, as he has for years, that privacy is a major concern with AI.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Apple CEO Tim Cook is “really jazzed” about artificial intelligence.

In a new interview with TIME, he said that AI, or a machine’s ability to simulate human intelligence like logic and reasoning, is the most promising innovation of today for two simple reasons.

It’s “everywhere” and it has the potential to “make people’s lives easier.”

AI is already present in “a number of products that you don’t really think about,” he said. He gave examples you can see if you just look down at your iPhone, from the way it recognizes your face and fingerprint, to “the way that Siri works,” and even how photos are grouped together.

“I see that we’re at the very early stages of what it can do for people and how it can make people’s lives easier,” he said.

“I believe that technology can do so much good in the world,” he said – though “it depends on the creator, and whether they thought through the ways it can be used and misused.” Cook has been thinking about the possibility of misuse in the AI space for years.

In a 2018 speech at a privacy conference in Brussels, Belgium, Cook warned against misuse of the emerging technology while slamming firms like Facebook for weaponizing data for profit. “Advancing AI by collecting huge personal profiles is laziness, not efficiency,” he said at the time.

“For artificial intelligence to be truly smart, it must respect human values, including privacy. If we get this wrong, the dangers are profound,” he continued. “We can achieve both great artificial intelligence and great privacy standards. It’s not only a possibility, it is a responsibility.”

He echoed those sentiments in the TIME interview, stating that “privacy is a basic human right,” along with “one of the most consequential issues of our time.”

Once privacy is contended with, Cook said he is “really stoked” and about overlaying the “virtual world with the real world” through AI and augmented reality. He said he is hopeful it can be done in a way “that is not distracting from the physical world and your physical relationships,” but is “enhancing” to your relationships.

“Mainly, I am so optimistic about all the things that can happen in our lives that free up time for more leisure activities and other things that we want to do in life,” he said.

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Using a mix of new technologies, teledermatology is changing how dermatologists provide care during the pandemic

Telemedicine online doctor appointment
  • The pandemic has quickly illuminated teledermatology’s specific applications.
  • A hybrid approach may ensure the capture of high-quality images for evaluation.
  • Advances in technology may expand the types of skin conditions assessed with teledermatology.
  • This article is part of the “Healthcare Innovation” series, highlighting what healthcare professionals need to do to meet this technology moment.

Increased reliance on teledermatology during the COVID-19 pandemic has not only helped patients avoid contracting infection but it’s also given dermatologists a better understanding of how to best employ the technology in daily practice.

“Teledermatology has definitely become more important during the pandemic and has allowed us to keep delivering effective care to our patients while they are in the safe environment of their homes,” Dr. Trilokraj Tejasvi, chair of the American Academy of Dermatology teledermatology task force, chair of the American Telemedicine Association special interest group for teledermatology, and associate professor of dermatology and director of teledermatology at the University of Michigan, said.

As the field scaled up teledermatology in March of 2020, dermatologists quickly learned that the technology has specific applications, Dr. Joseph C. Kvedar, chair of the ATA board of directors, professor of dermatology at Harvard Medical School, and senior advisor of virtual care at Mass General Brigham, said. Patient selection is critical to the success of teledermatology, as is knowing the limitations of some available technologies, he said.

When using teledermatology, understanding the typical workflow of patient care and adhering to HIPAA regulations are also key, Tejasvi said. He adds that professional societies such as the AAD and the ATA offer a variety of online teledermatology educational tools on these topics to their members.

Workflow and HIPAA compliance

Some appointments managed via teledermatology consist of an asynchronous approach with an initial online questionnaire or intake form about medical history and symptoms, Tejasvi said. Patients then take photos of their skin concerns with a smartphone and send images through the online patient portal.

A photo review by the dermatologist is followed by a video telehealth visit with the patient to collect more nuanced information and to provide a diagnosis and recommendations, Tejasvi said. Dermatologists may also prescribe necessary medications and give additional at-home care recommendations.

Video visits have gained popularity during the pandemic because of real-time interaction. However, with the lack of high-quality, static images available through video, a hybrid approach using synchronous and asynchronous elements is becoming the new normal, Tejasvi said.

“You need to use HIPAA-compliant software, whether it is through a system-wide portal or you’re using some private party software,” Tejasvi said. “Patient privacy is paramount.”

Careful patient selection

Patients best suited for teledermatology include those with acne, eczema, psoriasis, or wounds, Kvedar said. These patients may occasionally need to go into a lab for blood work to monitor medications, with follow-up visits via telehealth.

In contrast, patients with skin cancer need in-person visits about every six months to a year, Dr. Kvedar said. Video conferencing apps on phones and laptops are not high enough resolution for this type of monitoring.

However, someone with a new skin growth might be initially evaluated via a teledermatology appointment using photos sent to the patient portal, Kvedar said. Dermatologists can then determine whether the patient needs immediate, in-person follow-up or can wait for a regularly scheduled appointment.

Mole mapping technology is advancing

While teledermatology currently isn’t ideal for evaluating suspicious lesions, high-resolution digital photography has helped with mole mapping in the clinic, Dr. Adam Mamelak, a dermatologist in private practice in Austin, Texas, said. By using high-resolution photos to track moles over time, dermatologists can better recommend interventions, diagnostic testing, and treatment.

High-resolution, total body photography and dermoscopy, or microscopic examination of the skin surface, combined with artificial intelligence is an impressive advance in mole monitoring, Tejasvi said. However, the technology is cost-prohibitive because of the lack of reimbursement and may require more square footage than practices or institutions want to dedicate to the hardware required. Some patients with a history of melanoma or with more than 100 moles may want to pay out-of-pocket for these services.

Cloud-based systems and apps on smartphones can now run AI interpretations of moles and pigmented lesions, Mamelak said. In some cases, these apps can make patient self-evaluations more accurate, he said. Triage is one such example. “I predict that many of the larger hardware-heavy systems will become obsolete as the mobile apps become more developed,” he said.

AI’s application to dermatology will be manifold, but it will also help primary care doctors triage patients for dermatology referral, Kvedar said, who is an adviser to LuminDx, which is developing such a system. “I think that’s the next phase of care we need to prepare for.”

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Are you a geriatric millennial? It depends on how comfortable you are with TikTok, and whether you remember MySpace.

geriatric millennial
Geriatric millennials are familiar with both old and new forms of communication.

  • The term “geriatric millennial” divided the Internet this spring in a viral Medium article.
  • The author spoke to Insider about why it both resonated with and offended readers.
  • She also shared the hallmarks of a geriatric millennial and how they straddle the workplace’s digital divide.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Author and leadership expert Erica Dhawan never expected the term “geriatric millennial” to go viral.

A self-identified geriatric millennial (which she defines as elder millennials born in the early 1980s), Dhawan told Insider she first heard the term at brunch with friends and related to it. But when she wrote about this micro-generation’s influence in connecting older and younger generations in the workforce for Medium this past spring, it quickly went mainstream and divided the Internet.

While many, like Dhawan, related to the term, others were offended by it.

“I think that the fact that the word ‘geriatric’ carried such a negative connotation really also has the question: What’s wrong with being old?” she said. “The way that individuals reacted, I think should encourage all of us to start a reflection on how we view older members of our society.”

Dhawan said she’s spent a decade investigating, researching, and finding new ways to encourage collaboration and communication in the workplace, which she explores in her new book, “Digital Body Language.” She said that while interviewing American workers, she found that some micro-generations were “impossible to ignore.”

She said that geriatric millennials are unique because they straddle a digital divide between older and younger generations in the workplace, which enables them to bridge communication styles.

The hallmarks of this micro-generation aren’t meant to exclude younger millennials who may have experienced them as well, she added.

“What it’s really meant to do is pinpoint a specific moment in time where the digital tools were primitive and where we were coming of adulthood,” she said. “We can look at all millennials as being the same, but there are differences based on our experiences at different life stages.”

Meet the typical geriatric millennial, according to Dhawan.

You were born in the early 1980s, making you in your mid-to-late 30s or early 40s.

A woman wearing a blue top and white jeans is working on her living room floor with colourful toys next to her.

Dhawan defines geriatric millennials as those born from 1980 to 1985. That means they’re turning ages 41 to 36 this year. 

But age is just one component. “Micro-generations are not simply just the years you were born, but, the strongest indicator is really how you use and engage with technology,” Dhawan said. 

 

You remember PCs, the days of early dial-up, and MySpace.

classic pc

Whereas younger millennials don’t know a world without digital tools as a primary form of communication, Dhawan said, geriatric millennials remember when they were very primitive.

“They were the first generation to grow up with a PC in their homes. They joined the first social media communities on Facebook and MySpace. They remember dial-up connections, collect calls, and punch cards,” she added.

They also remember things like Napster for burning CDs, as well as the regular flip phone. “Those that are maybe two to five years older than us know truly a world of, you know, mobile phones and never had to memorize people’s phone numbers for landline,” she said.

 

 

But you also feel comfortable on TikTok and Clubhouse.

clubhouse app

While geriatric millennials are fluent in the early days of the internet and digital technology, they’ve also been able to easily adapt to newer forms of digital media, like TikTok, which may be unfamiliar to older generations like baby boomers and commonplace among younger generations like Gen Z.

“This is a unique cohort that straddles digital natives and digital adapters,” Dhawan said, adding that they’ve spent the same amount of years in both analogue and digital forms of communication, making them fluent in both. 

 

 

Despite your digital skills, you’re also aware of the importance of personal communication.

A woman speaks in a one-on-one professional setting with a bulletin board behind her.

Geriatric millennials also remember the importance of traditional body language, Dhawan said. “The lean-in, the direct eye contact … those are critical traits, even in our digital world.”

That means they’re comfortable with communication styles of boomers and Gen Xers, she added, while adapting to the the communication style of younger, digital native millennials and Gen Z.

“It’s critically important to keep adapting to the times while, remembering the importance of physical, face-to-face communication,” she said.

 

You act as a bridge in the workplace.

workplace

Dhawan believes that being skilled in both digital and personal forms of communication enables geriatric millennials to serve in a hybrid role in the workplace.

For example, she said, a geriatric millennial would know to send a Slack message to a Gen Z co-worker instead of calling them out of the blue, which they might find alarming. But they would also know to be mindful of an older co-worker’s video background and help walk them through such technology.

“They can help straddle the divide,” she said. “They can teach traditional communication skills to some of those younger employees and digital body language to older team members.”

She likened the geriatric millennial’s role to being a translator, akin to learning a new language in a new country. “They can cater to the needs of different people and have different degrees of understanding of the digital world, but also they have a patience for the digital world that maybe future generations won’t because they don’t know a world without it.”

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Ryder CMO shares 3 ways to enhance your company’s tech products and create a better customer experience

people sitting in an office at a meeting
Ryder EVP and CMO Karen Jones says marketers play a crucial role in developing innovative technology products at a company.

  • Transportation and logistics company Ryder has seen notable growth over the past year and a half.
  • Ryder EVP and CMO Karen Jones told Insider that growth has stemmed from technological developments.
  • Jones revealed three ways marketers can boost technology innovation at their organization.
  • This article is part of the “Innovation C-Suite” series about business growth and technology shifts.

Ryder, the Miami-based transportation and logistics leader, has several primary businesses. These include truck leasing and management, dedicated transportation services for clients, as well as supply chain management and fulfillment solutions. Over the past year and a half, all areas of the company have seen exponential growth, Ryder EVP and CMO Karen Jones told Insider. Jones attributed the progress to a strong focus on developing new technology products that meet customer needs, such as e-commerce, electric vehicles, an asset-sharing platform, and digital supply chain capabilities.

“Of course, nobody wanted a pandemic, but it did serve as an inflection point as far as changing the way we operate and responding to shifting consumer habits,” she said. “It spurred the growth of many innovative technology capabilities.”

At Ryder, Jones was the C-suite leader who volunteered to lead an executive team charged with identifying, evaluating, deploying, and investing in emerging technologies. But she says all marketing leaders can help drive the development of innovative technology products.

“For CMOs, it’s a great time to spread your wings and do things that are different because they are customer-facing, technology-oriented and future-focused,” she explained.

These are three ways Jones suggests marketers can take action to boost technology innovation at their organization:

1. Help the organization focus on the customer and technology.

“Marketers are able to think about what customer needs are not being met,” Jones said. “If you start there, it’s really hard for other parts of the organization to talk you out of things because, at the end of the day, marketers build and develop things that improve the customer’s experience and ultimately lead to greater revenue.”

Marketers that want to get closer to technology and understand their industry’s digital disruption may consider connecting with technology accelerators that work with startups. “A CMO might see a customer need that could be solved by a cool technology available through a startup,” she said. As long as marketers are looking out for the best interest of where things are really headed in the industry, the CMO can be the right leader that isn’t just focused on day-to-day operations, she added.

2. Help hire marketing product owners who understand business and technology.

Who are the right people to develop innovative technology products? “Everyone thinks that’s IT,” Jones said. “But you need someone who can sit with the business and with IT, who really understands the customer requirements, the business requirements and translates that to IT so what you need gets built.” That person, she explained, might be in marketing.

“Marketing product owners bring a level of understanding of what the market and the customer requires,” she said. However, the required skill sets aren’t easy to find, even within marketing, which was traditionally about making great ad campaigns and brochures.

“Today, you need someone who has a business, customer, and IT background, as well as a deep level of understanding of the company, and can stitch that all together,” she said. “That’s difficult to find.”

3. Help choose the right areas to focus on.

In a constantly-changing industry landscape, it’s essential to choose the right areas to focus on in terms of technology innovation, said Jones. However, it’s also important to be agile: “We could wake up tomorrow and there could be another area we hadn’t really anticipated or an offshoot of an area we’re working on,” she explained. That means staying on top of what is happening in the industry so you can build the right capabilities and deliver appropriate solutions.

“For Ryder, I think you’ll continue to see e-commerce grow, so it’s important for us to build in that area around customer experience and the fulfillment side,” she said. “Also, the world of electric vehicles and autonomous cars is certainly on a rapid pace, and I think the asset sharing platform we’ve built is going to continue to be a huge priority for us.”

Overall, Jones said, the opportunities for new revenue streams and business models in the transportation and logistics space show no signs of slowing down. “I don’t think it ever stops,” she said. “We are going to continue to find the right applications and develop those technologies that give customers even more insight into the movement of all their goods.”

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Ark Invest’s Cathie Wood touts Tesla and Zoom, dismisses bubble fears, and responds to John Paulson’s bitcoin critique in a new interview. Here are the 8 best quotes.

Cathie Wood
Cathie Wood.

  • Cathie Wood trumpeted Tesla’s growth prospects and predicted Zoom will usurp Cisco.
  • The Ark invest chief also praised Robinhood and brushed off concerns of a market bubble.
  • Wood responded to John Paulson’s dismissal of crypto, arguing bitcoin is more than digital gold.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Cathie Wood predicted Tesla’s stock price will quadruple in about four years, suggested Zoom could replace legacy companies like Cisco in enterprise communications, and praised Robinhood for attracting young people to investing in a Yahoo Finance interview this week.

The Ark Invest chief and popular stock picker also responded to billionaire investor John Paulson’s recent dismissal of cryptocurrencies, brushed off concerns about market bubbles, and reiterated her view that a technological revolution is coming.

Here are Wood’s 8 best quotes from the interview, lightly edited and condensed for clarity:

1. “Our base case for Tesla is $3,000.” – Wood expects Elon Musk’s electric-vehicle company to quadruple its market capitalization to nearly $3 trillion by 2025, partly because its global market share has increased “fairly dramatically” in the past five years.

2. “Many people think of Zoom as nothing more than these video sessions. We think it’s going to start taking more share of the communications stack in technology. Zoom is on its way to usurping the role of players like Cisco. It’s not just about video and stay-at-home or even hybrid, it’s much bigger than that.”

3. “Robinhood has introduced a whole new generation to investing, thinking about their future, and learning the hard way. Some have experimented with options – it doesn’t take long to lose a lot of money with options, and they learn quickly. I actually think Robinhood has done a great service to the investment community.”

4. “John Paulson made an incredible call during the mortgage crisis. What we think he’s missing about cryptocurrencies is they’re much more than a store of value or digital gold. Bitcoin is a new, global monetary system that is completely decentralized and not subject to the whims of policymakers.”

5. “If regulators get together and agree what exactly these cryptocurrencies are, how to define them, that will be a good thing. Certainty will be a good thing for this ecosystem.”

6. “This is the echo of the baby boom. I lived through the baby-boom years and that equity-market move, it was magnificent. I do feel we are in the same place now.” – predicting the bull market will continue for another decade.

7. “We have never been in a period in history where we’ve had five major innovation platforms, involving 14 different technologies, all moving into “S” curves, the curves feeding one another. We’re in a period of explosive innovation. “

8. “Are we in a bubble? We couldn’t be further from it. The average investor doesn’t understand how provocative these next five to 15 years are going to be, as these S curves feed one another and enter exponential growth trajectories that we have never seen before.”

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Big tech firms pledge more than $31 billion and 250,000 jobs to strengthen cybersecurity

cybersecurity and smartphones 2x1
CEO’s from the biggest tech companies in the US met with President Biden on Wednesday to discuss cybersecurity.

  • The biggest tech companies in the US met at the White House Wednesday to discuss cybersecurity.
  • Apple, Microsoft, Amazon, Google, and IBM all made pledges to strengthen the nation’s cybersecurity.
  • The firms pledged more than $31 billion total, including 250,000 new jobs and various trainings.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

CEO’s from the biggest tech companies in the US met with President Biden on Wednesday to discuss “opportunities to bolster the nation’s cybersecurity in partnership and individually,” the White House said in a press release.

Following a spate of cyberattacks against various US companies, including the Colonial Pipeline, and JBS meats, Microsoft, Google, Amazon, IBM, and Apple all made pledges during the meeting to strengthen cybersecurity across the sector.

The White House says that Microsoft will “immediately” make $150 million in technical services available to help all levels of the US government upgrade its security protections. The company will also invest $20 billion over the next five years to “accelerate efforts to integrate cyber security by design and deliver advanced security solutions,” according to a press release.

Microsoft is also partnering with community colleges and nonprofit organizations to provide cybersecurity training.

Google announced that it will help 100,000 Americans earn industry-level digital skills certificates that could lead to high-paying jobs in the tech industry. The company will also invest $10 billion over the next five years to help secure the software supply chain, expand zero-trust programs, and strengthen open-source security.

IBM will train 150,000 people in cybersecurity over the next three years while partnering with more than twenty historically Black colleges and universities to “establish Cybersecurity Leadership Centers to grow a more diverse cyber workforce.”

The White House says that Apple is creating a new program to improve security throughout the technology supply chain. In partnership with more than 9,000 US suppliers, Apple will adopt multi-factor authentication, security training, vulnerability remediation, event logging, and incident response.

Amazon said that it would release security awareness training to the public free of charge. The company will also provide a multi-factor authentication device to Amazon Web Services account holders, free of charge to protect against phishing threats and password theft.

“The reality is most of our critical infrastructure is owned and operated by the private sector, and the federal government can’t meet this challenge alone,” President Biden said before the meeting, according to the Washington Post. “You have the power, capacity, and responsibility, I believe, to raise the bar on cybersecurity. Ultimately we’ve got a lot of work to do.”

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Elon Musk’s water filters for schools in Flint are almost ready

Tesla CEO Elon Musk
Elon Musk donated $480,000 to fund new water filtration systems in Flint, Michigan schools. Three years later, the filters are almost ready.

  • Elon Musk donated $480,000 in 2018 to fund new filtration systems for schools in Flint, Michigan.
  • Three years later, the filters are in the final stages of testing before they’re ready for use.
  • Water in Flint was contaminated with lead in 2014 and was fixed by 2019.

Elon Musk donated $480,000 in 2018 to fund new filtration systems for schools and administrative buildings in Flint, Michigan. Almost three years later, they’re in the final stages of production, flint beat reports.

Laura Sullivan, a mechanical engineer from Kettering University, gave an update on the project at a recent school board meeting, the website reported. The next step is to connect the filters to the district’s plumbing and test the water coming out of the fountains for lead and other bacteria.

Flint has struggled with toxic contamination since 2014 when the city switched its water supply from Lake Huron to the Flint River in an attempt to save $12 million annually. Water from the Flint River began eating away at the pipes causing catastrophic levels of lead to enter the water, making people sick.

The level of lead in the drinking water in Flint was around 4,000 parts per billion. The US Environmental Protection Agency states that lead levels in water higher than 15 parts per billion require immediate action to stop the exposure of lead poisoning.

In 2016, it was reported that lead levels dropped to 12 parts per billion, but many citizens remain skeptical if the problem was truly fixed.

Helping provide clean drinking water isn’t the only side project that Musk has taken on aside from his duties at SpaceX and Tesla. In addition to his clean energy goals. Musk has also voiced ideas about ways to solve the housing crisis, build tunnels underground to fix gridlock traffic, help those affected by California wildfires, and more.

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A customer perspective helps marketers play critical role in company-wide innovation, says Ryder CMO

A portrait of Karen Jones, EVP and CMO of Ryder, wearing a suit with a pearl necklace while posing with one hand on her hip and leaning against a railing.
Karen Jones has led the charge to help Ryder incorporate tech innovation throughout the company.

  • Karen Jones has been EVP and CMO of transportation and logistics leader Ryder since 2013.
  • Marketers bring outward-facing customer perspectives to tech innovation efforts, Jones told Insider.
  • Jones has helped Ryder identify, evaluate, deploy, and invest in a variety of emerging technologies.
  • This article is part of the “Innovation C-Suite” series about business growth and technology shifts..

Karen Jones, the executive vice president and chief marketing officer of Ryder, knew she could play a critical role in helping the 87-year-old Fortune 500 company transform in a transportation and logistics sector ripe for digital disruption.

After all, the company – which is known for its commercial truck fleet leasing and management dedicated to transportation and commercial supply chain solutions – still used many processes that relied on manual work. Even fax machines were commonplace as recently as eight years ago. When, four years ago, the company’s CEO issued a challenge to explore and examine innovations ranging from 3D printing and asset sharing to automation and blockchain, it was clear that someone in the C-suite needed to step up.

The organization required a primary driver of innovation across the company – someone who could lead an executive team charged with identifying, evaluating, deploying, and investing in emerging technologies.

It was Jones, the CMO, who immediately raised her hand.

“I think what I bring to the table is more of an outward-facing customer perspective around technology,” Jones told Insider. “Organizations can get lost in their own internal processes, forgetting the voice of the customer.” With 14 years of previous experience marketing technology products at Hewlett Packard, she said, “I know how to develop and bring products to market, so I said I’d love to take this on and lead this for the company.”

Ryder’s priorities for driving tech innovation

Jones and her team quickly prepared to tackle four top priorities. The first was e-commerce, which, though growing fast before COVID-19, exploded during the pandemic. The growth required even more efficient supply chain and fulfillment capabilities. “We knew we needed to add those technologies in a big way to our portfolio,” Jones said.

Next, with 235,000 trucks in Ryder’s fleet, the company had to figure out how to stay ahead of the curve when it comes to the future of electric and autonomous vehicles. “We had to think about what kind of impact that would have on our business,” she said.

Transport company Ryder's logo
Ryder’s venture capital fund, RyderVentures, is dedicated to investing several millions of dollars in future applications.

Asset sharing was also a growing trend, which led Ryder to launch COOP by Ryder in 2018, a first-of-its-kind, Airbnb-like commercial truck sharing platform that connects truck owners with idle trucks and shippers in need of vehicles. Today, COOP has more than 6,000 vehicles on its platform and operates in nine states.

Finally, Jones made sure the company focused on digitizing many internal processes and building out supply chain and logistics capabilities to track shipments. “These were the areas that clearly gave us the long-term growth capability we needed to stay relevant in a market that was changing pretty rapidly,” she said.

The launch of RyderVentures

Most recently, the company went to the next level of finding and funding innovation by launching RyderVentures in October 2020. The venture capital fund is actively investing $50 million over the next five years in next-generation applications.

“Any business leader now in the C-suite needs to be thinking about technology innovation,” said Jones. “I think CMOs play a critical role when it comes to impacting the customer experience through data – I always say marketers were into data and analytics before it was cool.”

Collaborating with the C-suite network to continue transforming technology

Yet, Jones is quick to point out that no C-suite executive works alone. When it comes to technology innovation, the role of the chief information officer becomes even more important, she explained. “Having a great CIO to work with, who can help the organization understand the foundational, architectural requirements is really important,” she said. “Sometimes there can be a little bit of a tug of war between marketing and IT, but we have a great relationship and partnership.”

Jones said her team is always learning. “I think we’re off to a healthy start, and in the last five years, our company has matured greatly on customer-facing technology,” she said. But, she added, the company is not finished “by a long shot.” “While we’ve chosen several areas to focus on, we could wake up tomorrow and there could be another area of innovation to explore that we hadn’t really anticipated,” she said.

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5 tips for parents navigating the uncertainty of back-to-school season this fall

outdoor classroom lunch
Darsi Greens second grade class practices social distancing while eating lunch on the basketball court at Weaverville Elementary School in Weaverville, California.

  • COVID-19 forced many schools to enact remote learning last year, and that could continue this fall.
  • As parents face the challenge of helping children learn from home, there are ways to ease the process.
  • Stay in touch with your child’s teachers, enforce realistic expectations, and help them with their studies.
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COVID-19 undoubtedly changed K-12 classrooms for the near future.

When school resumes in the fall, even if education returns to pre-pandemic “normal” – with students attending classes all day and in person – teachers are likely to use more online tools and virtual resources than they did pre-COVID-19. The push into remote learning due to the pandemic opened up resources and opportunities that many schools might not have used before the pandemic. This has led to rethinking the K-12 education system as a whole and how online learning can continue both when students are in school or studying at home.

That means parents need to be prepared to continue the role of facilitator of learning and technology specialist for their school-aged children.

Read more: An inside look at Stanford Graduate School of Business’ pivot to remote learning – and why it plans to keep some of its innovations post-pandemic

A daunting challenge continues

The pandemic exposed deep inequities in our society – not just in health issues but in everything from which families could afford childcare to how easily schools could transition to remote learning. But any parent may feel daunted by the prospect of managing their child’s or children’s remote learning.

One’s education degree doesn’t always matter, nor their level of education. For example, a second-grade teacher might struggle in the role of instructional aide for their teenage child taking physics. Likewise, a high school teacher might be unable to break down the basics of teaching reading to their own kindergartner learning at home. Parents with high school diplomas or less may do just as well assisting their kids with schoolwork as those with a law or medical degree.

Furthermore, consider parents who had three children at home in three different grade levels – or even three different schools. Some juggled three different teachers working in different formats, learning platforms, and time schedules.

As teacher educators who are reevaluating how to prepare teachers for future learning disruptions, we’d like to offer parents and caregivers some tips for the upcoming back-to-school season.

1. Get to know the teacher

Your child’s teacher may be unaware of your concerns, so don’t be afraid to ask questions. For example, if your child remains in virtual learning full- or part-time, you may want to ask the teacher about meeting times; whether video and audio should be on at all times; and how to use the learning platform to submit work or ask questions. Parents could meet with their child’s teacher – virtually or in person. Fostering a positive working relationship with your child’s teacher can improve academic performance.

Consider the day-to-day changes that your child will experience upon returning to the classroom. For example, children will begin to work in collaborative group settings and may be required to resolve conflicts with peers. The small changes may affect your child’s transition, so it’s beneficial to check in with the teacher regularly.

2. Embrace technology

Even children new to a specific learning platform are likely to be digital natives who can figure out how to use the newly introduced technology on their own.

Allow your child the opportunity to explore different learning websites and apps, either ones recommended by the teacher or ones that adhere to expectations determined by you. These might include active read-aloud activities, educational games, and virtual field trips.

Even if your child is not in a virtual learning environment, online learning tools can help reinforce topics taught in class and provide additional help for a child struggling with a specific lesson or topic.

3. Keep expectations high

Encourage your child to complete homework, assigned activities, and reading. This requires affirming their knowledge and ability to do the work on their own. Routines are critical during this transition period coming out of the pandemic, but foster your child’s independence through flexibility in those routines. Remember that some good came out of the pandemic, as families were reminded to slow down and readjust as needed.

4. Focus on your own strengths

Learning occurs in all aspects of our day-to-day lives. As a parent-turned-teacher, consider everyday tasks such as cooking, household chores, and managing finances to be true learning experiences for your child. Discuss with your children your own transition from pre-pandemic to post-pandemic in terms of technology use, work habits, and stress, among other things.

5. Encourage reading

Provide at least 30 minutes a day for your child to read books of their choice. All children, no matter their age, should be encouraged to read daily to increase their literacy.

If your child continues to attend class virtually, library books may not be as readily available. In that case, try e-books – with and without read-aloud components. Also consider assisting your children in using the internet to research types of books they may want to read.

Lorrie Webb, department chair and professor of curriculum & instruction, Texas A&M-San Antonio and Rebekah Piper, assistant professor of education and human development, Texas A&M-San Antonio

The Conversation
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