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On the Internet, No One Knows You’re Not Rich. Except This Account.

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In February, an Instagram account called @BallerBusters cropped up and began wreaking havoc on the flashy Instagram entrepreneur community.

Its goal: To expose phony entrepreneurs. Using a mix of screen-shotted receipts, memes and crowdsourced information from followers, the account seeks out people who don’t “act their wage.”

Often, these are people who call themselves entrepreneurs and who brag about their money, cars, watches or influence, but seem as if they don’t have the cash to back it up.

In many cases, these #FlexOffenders, as the account likes to call them, use this veneer of a lifestyle to sell mentorship, membership or online classes.

Recently, the account targeted a drop-shipping entrepreneur who says he is a teenager. He claimed to have purchased an $8 million penthouse; BallerBusters found photographs showing that the home was an Airbnb rental property.

Another target was a young thought leader who sold entrepreneurship courses and then blocked complaining critics, including those who said they were owed refunds.

BallerBusters also regularly calls out entrepreneurs for showing off fake watches and posing in rented private jets.

Instagram has always been good for all kinds of braggers. But the administrator behind @BallerBusters believes a new breed of scammer is running rampant on social media: the young business guru.

They are pervasive on Instagram. Their avatars feature corporate head shots or photos of themselves onstage, apparently mid-TED Talk. Their online following looks huge; that can be because they have bought a large number of followers. Their feeds portray a lavish life full of cars, money and women used as props.

The person who runs the @BallerBusters account said they had heard from hundreds of people who believe they have been scammed. (The New York Times agreed to grant the admin anonymity; they believed they would be targeted.)

These teenagers know that making money on the internet is possible, and often they have friends who have done it. But they end up paying for bad advice.

“They’re flaunting private planes, fake watches, posing with all this stuff and creating a life for themselves on social media that’s not true,” the administrator behind @BallerBusters said, of the people who the account chooses to expose.

“These young people share this common thought that school doesn’t work,” Stephen T. Johnson, an entrepreneur and a founder of Flipmass, a monetization platform for social publishers, said of followers of the account.

He added that the fact that many faux entrepreneurs are young themselves just makes their sales pitch more effective.

“If me and my friends are following someone who looks like us, but has nicer things than us and says, ‘I’m going to teach you to be like me,’” Mr. Johnson said, teenagers can’t help but take them up on the opportunity. “If you’re all talking about him, like, ‘Wow, did you see the new car he bought? Did you see he’s going to teach only 10 people how to do this, too? We have to be those 10 people.’”

Victims pay for bogus entrepreneurs’ courses and mentorship programs, or to be added to an Instagram account’s “close friends” stories circle — a private group that receives exclusive content.

Mr. Wong said that often these scammers don’t even teach their own classes. They create a script or slide show and hand it off to subcontractors. “It’s like claiming you’re an expert yoga instructor, selling your yoga classes, then getting your sister-in-law who has no yoga experience to teach,” Mr. Wong said.

The administrator behind @BallerBusters said their research methods are rigorous. They will comb through screen-shotted messages and legal filings, speak to industry sources, and conduct a social media audit before committing to exposing someone.





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The 2020 Audi A6 Allroad gets US pricing and availability

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The A6 Allroad might lack the firebreathing V8 of its big RS brother, but it may be the better looking wagon.


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So we’ve known about the return of the A6-size Audi Allroad for a while now, and frankly because we’re automotive journalists and entirely too predictable, we’ve been super-excited for it. Audi has been keeping us in the dark about one of the most important aspects of the car, aka the price, but not anymore.

Now, if you happened to forget the particulars of the forthcoming 2020 Audi A6 Allroad, don’t worry because we’re going to do a refresher. To start, this Allroad is based on the larger A6 platform rather than the smaller A4 platform, which we got in the last go-around. Audi plans to offer it with its 3.0-liter turbocharged V6 as its only engine and the seven-speed S Tronic gearbox as the only transmission.

While that may be a bit of a bummer for those of you hoping for the return of the V8 Allroad that we last saw way back in 2005, the good news is that the 3.0-liter TFSI motor is good for a respectable 335 horsepower and 369 pound-feet of torque, so this Allroad shouldn’t be slow.

Like Allroads of days past, this one sits a good bit taller than a standard A6. In this case, the Allroad is, at its maximum height setting, a full 1.6 inches taller than the A6 sedan. Is that Land Rover Defender or Toyota Land Cruiser go-ford-a-river height? Nope. Will it be useful in places that get snow or mud? Yep.

The new A6 Allroad also offers a ton of standard and optional safety and driver-assistance systems like adaptive cruise control, precollision warning and automatic emergency braking, traffic sign recognition, vehicle exit assist and more.

So, knowing all that (and knowing it’s an Audi), the new A6 Allroad’s price tag shouldn’t be too much of a shocker. The middle Premium Plus trim will set you back a cool $66,895, and the luxe Prestige trim will clock in at $71,395, including destination. That puts it in line with non-tall-wagon offerings from Mercedes and a good bit higher than Volvo’s gorgeous V90 Cross Country wagon.

The 2020 Audi A6 Allroad is just now starting to trickle into dealerships in small numbers, but Audi representatives confirm that it will be more widely available in the early part of 2020.



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TELECOMS AND VIRTUAL REALITY: How telecoms can move beyond connectivity and up the VR value chain to grab a slice of the $24 billion revenue opportunity by 2026

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  • This is a preview of the Telecoms and Virtual Reality research report from Business Insider Intelligence.
  • Purchase this report.
  • Business Insider Intelligence offers even more technology coverage with Connectivity & Tech Pro. Subscribe today to receive industry-changing connectivity news and analysis to your inbox.

While VR headset adoption has lagged behind expectations due to technical issues, the market is now on the cusp of a transformation thanks to the promise of 5G.

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The new standard’s technical capabilities, like low latency, lightning-fast speeds, and support for edge computing, will help VR overcome the barriers that have inhibited its adoption. As a result, explosive growth in the VR market is expected to coincide with the rollout of 5G networks. 

As the chief growth engine for the VR market, telecoms have an opportunity to monetize the immersive tech beyond simply providing the connectivity for it.

Since the VR market is still relatively nascent, early moving telecoms have an opportunity to step in and revolutionize the VR monetization paradigm before the technology is mainstream. Network operators have a particular advantage in becoming VR solution creators and enablers because they have early access to 5G networks. That gives them a head start on prototyping 5G-dependent VR hardware, content, and services. Telecoms that pursue this route have a significant opportunity: By 2026, the annual revenue for telecoms as solution creators for the immersive technology segment is expected to reach $24 billion, per Ericsson. 

In Telecoms and Virtual Reality, Business Insider Intelligence examines how telecoms can expand beyond connectivity to become solution creators in the VR ecosystem. The report explores how telecoms will play a pivotal role in advancing the VR market, identifies what’s to be gained for telecoms that move up the VR value chain, and explores emerging VR monetization models. 

Here are some of the key takeaways of the report: 

  • Since content will remain a chief barrier to VR uptake, telecoms should drive value beyond connectivity in the VR ecosystem by expanding to become solution creators. 
  • Creating VR solutions can help operators stay ahead of the digital revolution as convergence reshapes the industry and become more attractive partners for enterprises. 
  • As 5G spreads and the VR ecosystem takes off, new monetization models will become possible for telecoms as well — like the solutions enabler model.

In full, the report: 

  • Examines how 5G connectivity will help VR reach its potential. 
  • Explores how telecoms can move up the VR value chain. 
  • Identifies consumer and enterprise VR use cases that present the largest opportunities in the near- to mid-term.

Interested in getting the full report? Here’s how to get access:

  1. Purchase & download the full report from our research store. >> Purchase & Download Now
  2. Sign up for Connectivity & Tech Pro , Business Insider Intelligence’s expert product suite keeping you up-to-date on the people, technologies, trends, and companies shaping the future of connectivity, delivered to your inbox 6x a week. >> Get Started
  3. Join thousands of top companies worldwide who trust Business Insider Intelligence for their competitive research needs. >> Inquire About Our Enterprise Memberships
  4. Current subscribers can read the report here.

Join the conversation about this story »





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SKATE REVIEW|TECH DECK|FINGERBOARD|

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SKATE REVIEW|TECH DECK|FINGERBOARD|

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