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- If you need an ugly Christmas sweater that will speak volumes at your next holiday party, consider shopping at Tipsy Elves.
- The "Shark Tank" alum responded to the growing demand for ugly sweaters by making it easy to shop funny designs and comfortable fabrics online.
- The celebrity-favorite brand has hit the jackpot in this niche clothing category, selling over two million products and making over $70 million in sales to date.
- Check out all of Insider Picks' holiday gift guides for 2018 here
- 23 festive and fun Christmas decorations under $25
- 16 festive outdoor holiday decorations that'll brighten up your yard
- The best Christmas stockings you can buy
- The best places to buy Christmas and holiday cards online
- One of Mark Cuban's latest investments is in Paladin, a startup in the legal technology area, a company he and its founders touted at Business Insider's IGNITION conference on Monday.
- Paladin's service is designed to pair up lawyers looking to fulfill their pro-bono obligations with those who can't afford legal aid.
- The company's founders argue that Paladin is in the right place at the right time — those in need are facing a growing number of legal crises, while there's a growing focus on the social consciousness of attorneys and firms.
- 12/04/18--07:06: 15 'Shark Tank' home products that are actually useful
- Barbara Corcoran says she loves business partnerships between people with different skill sets.
- When she's trying to figure out if a partnership will work on "Shark Tank," Corcoran simply asks contestants, "What do you do?"
- She said her most successful investments on "Shark Tank" support teams with opposite yet complementary talents.
- Barbara Corcoran was a real-estate mogul before she became a judge on "Shark Tank."
- As the head of The Corcoran Group, which she sold in 2001 for $66 million, Corcoran ran a "mean and lean" business by not being scared to fire underperformers.
- She explained at IGNITION why she relished firing 25% of her sales staff every year.
- Mark Cuban spoke at Business Insider's IGNITION conference Monday afternoon.
- The "Shark Tank" star and Mavericks' owner wasn't there to discuss the show, instead he spoke about Paladin, a startup he backs which pairs up lawyers pro bono with those who can't afford legal aid.
- He didn't mention the ABC show at all and he didn't need to — he let his clothes do all the talking.
- Cuban wore socks with sharks on them. Subtle.
- Barbara Corcoran was a real-estate mogul before she became a judge on "Shark Tank."
- She built up her real estate empire in her 20s, 30s, and 40s, and then she started focusing more on motherhood.
- She explained at IGNITION 2018 that her story is proof that women can have it all, but not at the same time.
- Shark Tank investor Barbara Corcoran talked to Business Insider at Ignition 2018 about the type of entrepreneurs who are most likely to be successful.
- Although she has "rich kids" of her own, she finds that those who grew up less privileged are more determined to succeed.
- Watch the video above to see why she would rather invest in poor kids.
- Trump is a "phenomenal salesman," according to investor Barbara Corcoran, who spoke to Business Insider about the US president at Ignition 2018.
- Corcoran first knew Donald Trump as a salesman during his New York real estate days.
- She explained how Trump was nearly bankrupt when he sold the land along the West Side Highway to develop what now includes Trump Place apartments and condos.
- Watch the video above to learn the sales techniques Trump uses that makes him the "best salesman" Corcoran has ever met.
The Insider Picks team writes about stuff we think you'll like. Business Insider has affiliate partnerships, so we get a share of the revenue from your purchase.
You can't go a weekend in December without being invited to at least one ugly Christmas sweater-themed function. Once a tacky piece of apparel that you might've been a little embarrassed to wear in public, the ugly Christmas sweater is now fully embraced as an essential part of the holiday season. The uglier and more outrageous, the better.
Surprisingly, one of the most popular places to find a fun sweater for your holiday party wasn't born out of Santa's workshop. Instead, it's the brainchild of a former corporate lawyer, Evan Mendelsohn, and a former dentist, Nick Morton.
With an interest in internet marketing and a good eye for growing trends, Mendelsohn noticed one holiday season that it was difficult to find new Christmas sweaters online. He thought he could fill the void. He was joined by his former college roommate and then-endodontist, Morton, and in 2011 they began selling holiday sweaters online.
They sold just over 5,000 sweaters during their first year and quit their jobs in 2012 to pursue their company Tipsy Elves full time. The last six years have shown that the risk was worth it.
In December 2013, they appeared on an episode of "Shark Tank," during a season that saw fellow memorable pitches like Doorbot (later, Ring), Freshly Picked, Kodiak Cakes, Plated, and The Bouqs Co. While a number of these now-successful companies didn't receive funding, Tipsy Elves did, from judge Robert Herjavec.
The orders, partnerships, and celebrity exposure moments have continued to roll in since. Tipsy Elves has now done over $70 million in sales and sold over two million products.
While its operations and growth plans are streamlined and strategic, its products are far, far from serious. The whimsical and oftentimes downright crude designs strike a chord with younger audiences and cut straight through the formal stuffiness of the holidays.
If you want to be amused, entertained, or faced with the struggle of picking out only one sweater to buy, scroll through its online shop. Rather than sugar-plums, you'll find visions of Santa riding a unicorn and angels with beer bongs dance through the designers' heads. You can show off your knowledge of pop culture with a Kardashian-inspired sweater, or sit yourself under the tree as a wrapped present. Hanukkah celebrants, you're not left out.
Sweaters range from $40 to $60, but you're not simply paying for the novelty, then putting up with the uncomfortable itchiness. They're actually soft and substantial, made from high-quality acrylic that won't shrink.
We can't guarantee that your Tipsy Elves sweater won't offend anyone, so consider your audience as you put one on in the upcoming weeks. We would take the risk, though, in the name of unadulterated holiday fun.
Check out more ways to prepare for the holidays:
Mark Cuban made a name for himself and made lots of money entertaining people, whether through his ownership of the Dallas Mavericks basketball team or as the host of the show "Shark Tank."
Now the billionaire businessman is hoping to use some of his wealth to help those far less fortunate than him.
Cuban is backing a company called Paladin that has designed a system designed to pair up lawyers wanting to fulfill their obligations to do pro-bono work with those who need but can't afford legal services. On Monday, he joined Paladin founders Felicity Conrad and Kristen Sonday at Business Insider's IGNITION conference to explain and tout the new service.
"I'm looking for companies that have an impact," Cuban said. He continued: "What Paladin is doing is important."
The American Bar Association, the professional association for lawyers, recommends that attorneys provide at least 50 hours of work for free each year to non-profit groups or to people unable to afford a lawyer. Many lawyers don't meet that goal. Meanwhile, Paladin estimates that some 86% of the people who need legal services don't get it because they can't afford a lawyer.
Paladin attempts to match up the two sides. It works with law firms, law schools, and corporate legal departments that are looking for pro-bono work for their attorneys and pairs them up with legal-aid organizations that help those in need.
Paladin may be in the right place at the right time
The three think they are founded Paladin at just the right time. There have been a growing number of legal-access crises in recent years, most notably those faced by immigrants due to the policies of the Trump administration, they noted. So there's a growing need for legal aid among those who can least afford it, they say.
At the same time, social consciousness is becoming ever more important in American culture and business, they said. Recent law school graduates want to know what kind of pro-bono work is being done by the firms they're considering joining, Cuban said. Tech and other companies are similarly going to be scrutinizing the pro-bono work of the firms they hire, he said.
"It's going become part of the criteria for selecting a law firm," he said.
That Conrad and Sonday are the founders of Paladin is unusual not just for the tech industry in general, but for the legal technology sector in particular. Even today, women founders represent a small portion of all startup teams and get only a small fraction of the funding of their male counterparts.
But women and people of color are needed for companies in this sector, Sonday argued. Women and people of color are much more likely to be in the group that Paladin is seeking to help than white males. To be able to help them, it needs to have people who can empathize with their plight, she said.
"I think it's really important that the people building these solutions are the ones that are closest to the problem," she said.
IGNITION is Business Insider's flagship conference featuring the biggest names in business, tech, and media, and it's happening right now. Tune in below!
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The agenda and who to expect for Tuesday, December 4 from 9:00 am to 12:30 pm:
INTERVIEW: Hans Vestberg, CEO, Verizon, speaks with Nicholas Carlson, global editor-in-chief, Business Insider, INSIDER; chief content officer, Insider Inc.
PRESENTATION: Jessica Matthews, founder, CEO, Uncharted Power
PRESENTATION: Geoff Ramsey, chairman, cofounder, eMarketer
INTERVIEW: Randy Freer, CEO, Hulu, speaks with Nathan McAlone, media editor, Business Insider
INTERVIEW: Scott Rosenberg, General Manager, Platform Business, Roku speaks with Jason Guerrasio, Senior Entertainment Reporter, Business Insider
INTERVIEW: Chris Hayes, host, MSNBC's "All In With Chris Hayes"; host, "Why Is This Happening?" podcast; author, "Twilight of the Elites: America After Meritocracy" speaks with Henry Blodget
PRESENTATION: Cindy Robbins, president, chief people officer, Salesforce
PRESENTATION: Martin Whittaker, CEO, JUST Capital
INTERVIEW: Barbara Corcoran, ABC’s "Shark Tank"
INTERVIEW: Brad Katsuyama, CEO, cofounder, IEX, speaks with Matthew Turner, executive editor, Business Insider
CONVERSATION: Andy Main, head, Deloitte Digital, principal, Deloitte Consulting LLP, and Lisa Hammitt, global vice president, artificial intelligence, chairwoman, AI ethicist, Visa
INTERVIEW: Josh Silverman, CEO, Etsy, speaks with Jessi Hempel, senior editor at large, LinkedIn
CONVERSATION: Joe and Anthony Russo, codirectors, "Avengers: Infinity War," cofounders, AGBO, speak with Janice Min, senior content executive, Quibi
The Insider Picks team writes about stuff we think you'll like. Business Insider has affiliate partnerships, so we get a share of the revenue from your purchase.
Ten seasons in and hundreds of products later, the show "Shark Tank" continues to entertain us as well as the panel of celebrity investors with creative pitches. However, that doesn't always mean the products are actually good. Some end up being a little too creative or out-there and border on plain gimmicky or "Who would even use that?"
We looked through all the "Shark Tank" products available for purchase and came away with a selection of star products for the home that made us curse and ask ourselves, "Why didn't we think of this earlier?"
Many solve for the wasteful design of many common products you already use, while others address the annoying inconveniences that everyone experiences.
Check out the "Shark Tank" home products that are worth buying below.
A spring-loaded laundry hamper
This hamper drops down as you add clothes and rises as you remove them, meaning doing laundry will no longer be that uncomfortable chore you never look forward to. It eases the strain on your lower back, so it's especially great for expecting mothers, people with bad backs, and the elderly.
A self-cleaning dog potty
If you've already tried many indoor potty training systems, your search ends here with the world's first self-cleaning dog potty. You can adjust the timer to automatically change a dirty pad one, two, or three times a day, or manually change it with a push of a button. The machine will wrap and seal the waste, keeping your home clean and odor-free. It's best for dogs under 25 pounds.
A rapid ramen cooker
Granted ramen is already a pretty convenient meal to make, this tool makes the process even easier. The water line stops you from overfilling the bowl, the bowl doesn't get overly hot, and you don't need to use a pot and stove. It's perfect for anyone who doesn't have access to a kitchen, including students living in dorms and office workers.
See the rest of the story at Business Insider
Barbara Corcoran is known for her extroverted persona and sometimes edgy advice, but one of her most successful business partnerships was with a particularly quiet woman named Esther Kaplan.
"She's the most conservative person you ever want to meet," Corcoran said at IGNITION, Business Insider's media and technology event. "You almost couldn't even hear her talk. That’s how quiet she was in her manner and the way she demonstrated herself."
But Corcoran quickly saw that Kaplan had just about everything Corcoran needed as she built her own business.
"I was able to recognize she was my opposite," Corcoran added. "She was great at file systems, personnel systems, computers, finance, legal. Everything that I sucked at. And I was great at marketing, recruiting, brainstorming, PR, the bullcrap area of business. And she hated it. So, we were perfect partners."
Opposites attract, and in Corcoran's case, they helped make for excellent business partnerships. Corcoran has taken that lesson from her real-estate mogul days as the founder of The Corcoran Group — which she sold in 2001 for $66 million — to her present role as a judge on reality-TV show "Shark Tank."
To figure out if potential investors have that ideal mix of talents, Corcoran simply asks, "What do you do?"
When she asks that deceptively simple question, Corcoran is trying to figure out whether the contestants contribute different yet complementary talents to the business.
"You can start to size up as to whether they're compatible partners with opposite skill sets," Corcoran said at IGNITION.
Ultimately, as she's said previously, Corcoran explained that her most successful Shark Tank investments have been partnerships — like Cousins Maine Lobster, in which Corcoran invested $15,000 in 2012. Today, the food-truck business has restaurants and locales nationwide.
"It's almost like two for the price of one," Corcoran said at IGNITION. "I'm paying the same money, getting the same stock, but I'm getting two great entrepreneurs instead of one. My odds of winning are much better."
NOW WATCH: 7 things you shouldn't buy on Black Friday
When Barbara Corcoran headed The Corcoran Group, her New York real-estate firm, she secretly loved Fridays — but not for the reason you might think.
That was the day Corcoran fired underperforming salespeople.
"I couldn't wait to say to someone in the sales area, 'Hey do you have a few minutes for me on Friday?'" Corcoran said at Business Insider's flagship conference IGNITION.
It might sound cruel, but Corcoran explained that getting rid of weak employees was an important way to keep her business strong. In fact, she fired a quarter of her sales staff every year.
"I just loved Fridays," Corcoran said at IGNITION. "It was like — do you ever call in sick from work one day and stay home and clean your whole apartment really well, and how good that feels? That was every Friday of my life, that was the way it was. I started Monday fresh as a button."
Along with the fact that she simply couldn't keep subpar workers on the payroll, Corcoran said keeping underperformers on staff can cause personnel issues. Top salespeople aren't likely to respect a company where underperforming salespeople are able to stick around.
To ensure that standards were high at The Corcoran Group, she told new hires that, in order to stay on the team, everyone was required to make one sale in their first three months.
"What actually happened is that people got ready to fire themselves because they knew what the requirement was," Corcoran said at IGNITION. "We ran mean and lean because of our clarity of hiring and our clarity of firing."
The Corcoran Group otherwise had high retention rates. Corcoran previously told Business Insider's Alyson Shontell that she kept company morale up by fostering a workplace culture in which employees cared for each other.
"I did what my mother did," Corcoran said previously. "I adored my children ... I pushed them forward, got them to believing they could do a lot more than they were doing. And they did! Because people don't really know what they're capable of."
And one key way she cared for her employees was by ensuring that underperformers and "complainers" didn't stay for too long in the company.
"One negative person will take the energy out of 15 great people quietly," she said.
Mark Cuban appeared at Business Insider's IGNITION conference Monday to discuss his latest backing, Paladin, a company designed to pair lawyers with people who can't afford legal aid. (You can read more on Paladin here.)
While he didn't come to talk about his role on the ABC show, he subtly reminded everyone he's a shark.
As Cuban sat on stage, I spied the Mavericks owner wearing quite the conversation starter. Cuban's socks fittingly had tiny sharks on them.
Take a closer look:
Even if you were at the conference, you probably would have missed them if you weren't seated in one of the first rows.
You can follow along with our IGNITION coverage here.
Michelle Obama and Indra K. Nooyi say women can't have it all. And Sheryl Sandberg is sick of people only wondering if women can balance work and family — when, meanwhile, folks rarely ask men if they're spending enough time with their kids.
"You can have it all, but I don't believe it's possible to build a huge business and at the same time be a doting mother without the guilt and with the satisfaction of raising the child," Corcoran said. "I’m the most organized person I've ever met and, if I couldn't do it, I'm wondering who could do it."
Corcoran said "having it all" can happen at different parts of your life. In her case, she spent her 20s, 30s, and 40s working tirelessly.
"I had from 22 to 46 to hyperfocus on building one thing, not a family, but my business," Corcoran said. "I worked like an animal, 24-7, long hours. Nothing interfered with my thoughts of where I wanted to go."
At 46, Corcoran had her first baby, Tommy. Her schedule then changed drastically. She couldn't come in first thing in the morning anymore — and what's more, her priorities weren't all in The Corcoran Group anymore.
"It wasn't because I was tired of my work," Corcoran said. "I was divided. I wanted to be a phenomenal mom and I wanted to be phenomenal at work. And they fought with each other in my heart."
She ultimately sold The Corcoran Group for a cool $66 million in 2001, and became wholly involved with her son and daughter. "The most satisfying thing I've ever done in my life, the most fulfilling thing I've done, is being a parent," Corcoran said. "And you know I love business, but it can't measure up for me."
Still, there are certain perks that come along with being a multimillionaire parent — namely the ability to afford pricey fertility services that make motherhood possible later in life. Egg freezing costsmore than $10,000 in many cases, while the average couple who goes through in-vitro fertilizationpays $19,000.
And Corcoran recognizes the role that her financial freedom played in helping her have it all.
"I had enough money to pay for five years of in-vitro," Corcoran said. "If I hadn’t had that money, I couldn't have had kids. I would have missed that."
At IGNITION 2018, Mark Cuban teased a 2020 presidential run and discussed his involvement in a legal service called Paladin. He sat down with Paladin cofounders Felicity Conrad and Kristen Sonday to talk about the company and the huge impact it could make.
At IGNITION 2018, Barbara Corcoran, founder of The Corcoran Group and investor on ABC's "Shark Tank," spoke with Insider US editor-in-chief, Julie Zeveloff West, about entrepreneurship. She explained the key to a good business partnership, why she fired 25% of her sales staff, and the roles gender and wealth play in career success.
Julie Zeveloff: This kind of ties into your own background, so you grew up with ten siblings in a two-bedroom apartment. Now you are raising two kids in a five-bedroom apartment, you told me two maids. How do you explain the fact that you still say you don't invest in rich kids? And would you invest in your own kids' businesses?
Barbara Corcoran: Well they'll probably hit me up, I imagine I will.
Corcoran: My son is 24 and my daughter is 13, I'm one of the oldest moms in New York, I hold a record actually.
Zeveloff: I get that.
Corcoran: The reason, it sounds harsh: I don't invest in rich kids, which isn't really true but almost true, because rich kids on "Shark Tank" come with a couple of attributes that disturb me, okay? And then I'll go on to my own rich kids in a minute. They're not in the audience are they? Okay.
Rich kids come in with a couple of disadvantages I feel, okay? They've had the right jobs because they had the right contacts, so they had the right apprenticeships in different right companies in their summer months when they're teenagers. You know, they get the right introductions, okay? Poor kids are usually waiting tables and scrapping, dealing with customers, spilling coffee and getting shouted at, a little different, okay?
Rich kids, when starting businesses on "Shark Tank," the ones I see on "Shark Tank," typically have gone to the finest schools and what comes with going to the finest schools, especially business schools, what comes is a certain attitude that they know it. That's a dangerous attribute to have in anything when you're starting out in anything. But what they do know, is that they know all about business as an observer but they don't know business as a player. Whereas poor kids tend to have had hardship. They've had to be a player earlier. They've had to contribute to the family, they've seen their parents struggle. They know the power of a buck. They've never gone on a fancy vacation, so they aspire to the vacation. I'm giving you all kinds of s---, right? Okay. But I do believe in it.
And then the last is an injured poor kid is, for me, a guarantee that I'm going to make money if he's got the ego to prove somebody else wrong. I had the great advantage of my first business partner telling me I'd never succeed without him, he handed me an insurance policy for success. I would rather die than let him see me not succeed. And so I have many of my partners, Sabin never had a dad, his dad looked him up once he became half-way famous on "Shark Tank." Wanted to start up a relationship again, you know, Sabin is making a lot of money, how insulting is that? Never saw his dad.
I have injuries in a lot of my best entrepreneurs and it fills you with passion to prove something. The love of money doesn't make a good entrepreneur. Most great entrepreneurs really aren't focused on the money at all, it kinda just happens because they're focused on being phenomenally successful.
And so, wait, did I even answer your question? What did you ask? Oh, about rich kids, oh let me go on to my own rich kids. I think I lost myself over that ridge, okay? Alright, my own rich kids, I got a couple of very lucky breaks. Thank God, not that I was praying for them, but I got a couple of very lucky breaks. They're both severely dyslexic and what that does for a child, is provide a struggle. It also provides a child with self-doubt, when they don't measure up, they're not the smart kid in class, and so I have two nice, dyslexic kids that had to scrap and claw their way to even learn how to make it at school, with passing grades, you see? And so my son Tommy, I'm very proud of him because he got rejected from all the best schools and then just realized, he saw his life, you know? And he graduated at almost top of his class at Columbia. How did he do that? He clawed his way, he learned and learned, he studied and studied and studied, and studied and studied. So he's a good rich kid. He's used to scrapping.
Now I got my daughter Kate, who can't even read on a second-grade level. I don't know how I'm going to bring her up. I just want to get her to fourth grade, then she can get her driver's exam, you get it? You need fourth grade to pass a driver's exam. But what I love about Kate is that she's a struggler. She's like, I'm trying my best. So I might spoil them with too many Christmas presents but they don't spoil themselves with their struggle and that's kind of saving their a-- in my book. But will I give them money when they want to start a business? I'm sure I will. I'm a sucker like every other parent out there.
I can't pretend I won't. And it's too bad, because God bless the child that makes his own. It's so much more satisfying, you really know, you say I did it and I did it and I did it versus, I did it, but could I have done it? Could I have done it without that help? It's a little different kind of self-confidence.
Julie Zeveloff: Switching gears for a moment. You knew Donald Trump way back in his New York real estate days.
Barbara Corcoran: What a charmer.
Zeveloff: You know, despite whatever you say about him, even you say he's a great salesman. What is his sales technique? Why is he so great?
Corcoran: He is a phenomenal salesman. He's not a great salesman. He's probably the best salesman I've ever been in the company of and I spent a lot of time with Donald because he's five years older than me, I think, four years and he was raising his company right parallel with me raising mine. And so, I did a lot of work with Donald and I can tell you he is the best salesman I've ever met in my life.
I watched him walk into a situation, for example, selling the Plaza Hotel to the Chinese out of Hong Kong, it wasn't Taiwan. Group of Asians, wealthiest families in Hong Kong. And they were there because they were interested in the Plaza Hotel. I was a broker. All my brokers, we were all at the table. We were really hungry to make this deal and I watched him totally not pitch the Plaza Hotel. Bury it and talk about the land masses on the Hudson River and the buildings that would be there. They were not the least bit interested. They just wanted to buy the Plaza Hotel. A customer, I wanna buy it and Donald was near bankruptcy, really needed the money to bail out. And I watched him... I thought he was so off. He wasn't. They bought the land and built all those towers on the west river as we know it today. You know, all those Trump Towers along the river, that was the deal. How did he do that?
I'll tell you what his masterful mind does. He is a genius at picking out the vulnerability of someone's personality. He can smell it. Sense it and trust it. So, for example, if you were to walk into a business meeting with Donald and you were saying, whatever you're saying. I've seen it time-and-time again. He could see what your weakness is and not physically reach over and put his finger on it, but he just could see what your weakness is and play into it. Not the nicest thing in the world but it's a certain gift I've never seen on anyone else. That's exactly what he did in the election. I think he put his finger on what the weakness was, the vulnerability of people and he knows how to touch it. Just so. And people go along for the ride.
He is a phenomenal salesman, I have to say. Really. He could sell anything. And he did.