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The latest news on Shark Tank from Business Insider
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    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.

    IMG_1126_900x

    • The BetterBack (as seen on "Shark Tank") is a $59 posture corrector that has completely eliminated any back pain I usually experience while sitting at a desk. 
    • I have two slipped discs in my spine and suffer from chronic back pain. I've tried plenty of treatments and products, but this is the only one that has worked.
    • If you have any sort of back pain or posture problems from sitting at a desk all day, this product is actually worth your money. 

    Take it from someone with two slipped discs in her spine — sitting at a desk all day is no walk in the park. In fact, sometimes my back is in so much pain that an actual walk in the park is no walk in the park, either. 

    According to the American Chiropractic Association, half of all working Americans experience some form of back pain — including the youngest rung of the workforce. That means the "aching backs" we used to hear about from our parents now often apply to us, too.

    This is often a result of the poor posture that desk jobs cause us to develop. I know for a fact that I'm not the only 26-year-old with bad posture, but there aren't quite as many people my age who also suffer from severe and chronic back pain. 

    In addition to things like stretch, yoga, chiropractic treatment, physical therapy, and massage, I've tried a ton of different ergonomic chairs, quite a few back rests, seat cushions, balance balls, etc. to combat the constant stress on my back that's caused by my slipped discs and generally terrible posture. After dumping way too much money into treatments that didn't help much, I found one thing that has worked for me — a $59 product you might have seen on "Shark Tank" by the name of the BetterBack

    BB_OpenWbg_720x

    The BetterBack isn't particularly pretty, and yes, its name is a little gimmicky, but it is extremely effective at reducing back pain. It looks almost like a harness, with a soft pad that sits behind your back and a connected set of straps that are placed over your knees as you sit. It uses the tension from the straps to correct your posture and relieve pressure from improper spinal alignment, effectively eliminating discomfort.   

    This is going to sound really dramatic, but hear me out: The Better Back has had a drastic impact on my quality of life at work. 

    After attempting so many ineffective and expensive treatments and testing out so many products to help my back, I honestly never thought that I'd be able to feel "normal" again, or that I'd ever experience what it was like to have zero pain in my spine. But the first time I tried the Better Back, it completely eliminated the buzzing discomfort I was so (frustratingly) accustomed to, which was usually at its worst when sitting at my desk.

    When I try to describe to people the sense of physical relief it gave me, I pretty much come up short of words. And for a writer and someone who generally just talks too much, that's an extremely rare occurrence for me. I'm talking like, angels singing in a choir from above, children throwing flowers at your feet, suddenly a whole new person type of pain relief — I hope that gives you somewhat of an idea. 

    be3b2115932b17bdec1d9519378fdf02_original

    The company suggests that you use the Better Back for about 15-30 minutes a day to help correct posture and re-train your body's sitting position — but I just tend to keep mine on all day. Plus, because it folds up neatly into a built-in zippered pouch, it can also be easily transported for use at home or on airplanes. 

    You don't need to have a diagnosed spinal injury for the BetterBack to help out your discomfort. It wasn't necessarily invented to help severe spinal problems — it just happened to make an extra significant difference for me because of the intensity and persistence of my pain. But if it helped me as much as it did, I can only imagine how helpful it would be to others who experience general discomfort from misaligned posture. 

    If you suffer from back pain, particularly as a result of sitting at your desk all day, I cannot recommend the BetterBack enough. 

    Check out the BetterBack on Amazon for $59.

    SEE ALSO: The 32 best things we ever bought on Amazon for under $25

    Join the conversation about this story »


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    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.

    rapid ramen cooker $7.99

    Nine 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.

    SEE ALSO: The 20 best gifts that got their start on ‘Shark Tank’

    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. 

    Household Essentials Lifter Hamper, $29.99, available at Amazon



    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. 

    BrilliantPad Self-Cleaning & Automatic Indoor Dog Potty + 1 Roll, $149.99, available at Amazon

    Note: Currently only available through third-party sellers



    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. 

    Rapid Ramen Cooker (Red), $6.99, available at Amazon

     



    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    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.

    showerpill product

    • Taking a shower after your workout isn't always possible, but no one likes showing up to class, the office, or a social event sweaty and smelly. 
    • ShowerPill cleansing wipes ($10 for 10)— developed by former college football players, tested by professional athletes, and loved by busy, active people — are the quick and easy solution. 
    • As seen on Shark Tank, these thick, disposable, alcohol-free wipes kill 99.99% of germs without leaving any sticky residue or strong scents and are conveniently packaged to take on the go. 

    There's a somewhat disparaging joke that circulates within gyms that if you leave a workout or practice without showering, you're "taking a shower pill." For athletes like former UC Berkeley football players Justin Forsett, Wendell Hunter, and Wale Forrester, taking a shower pill was a common practice when their schedules were lined back to back with workouts and classes. Showering every time they sweat wasn't realistic, but they also hated being that smelly athlete sitting in class.

    After noticing there were many athletic products made for hydration, performance, and recovery, but few for hygiene, they developed an athletic body wipe called ShowerPill to combat the hygienic problems that they and their teammates experienced every day. 

    Accustomed to performing on the national stage of the football field, Forsett, Hunter, and Forrester didn't see as much success when they brought ShowerPill to "Shark Tank" in January 2018. The judges weren't convinced by the company's financial numbers, but they did like the idea, and the success of ShowerPill after the show has shown that it has resonated with consumers, too. 

    While most of us aren't college athletes, we can relate to the struggle of not having enough time to bathe ourselves before rushing off to our next commitment. ShowerPill wipes make it easy to clean your entire body so you can walk into class, the office, or other public space without feeling embarrassed about the way you look and smell. 

    showerpill wipe lifestyleThey contain the FDA-approved antimicrobial agent benzalkonium chloride to kill microorganisms and prevent their future growth, as well as aloe vera, vitamin E, and witch hazel to soothe your skin. Like other types of body wipes or wet wipes on the market, they're very effective at killing germs — 99.99% of them, in fact — but unlike other wipes we've tried, they don't leave behind any uncomfortable sticky residue or strong scents. They also don't contain alcohol, parabens, or sulfates, and they're animal cruelty-free. 

    Each wipe is thick and sturdy, working like a washcloth to eliminate sweat, dirt, and body odor. Because it comes in a single-serving packet, you can conveniently store a few in your bag or locker for any future situation that calls for help. 

    I tried the ShowerPill wipes after workouts of varying intensities, from a light run to a class that left me literally dripping with sweat. I expected the wipe to easily clean up my thin layer of sweat and slight odor after the run, but what I didn't expect was how effectively it took care of my body after intense activity.

    I wasn't sticky, and I smelled clean, but not clinically so. Sometimes it's clear from the smell that someone is trying to overcompensate for not taking a real shower by using an excessive number of wipes, but I smelled and felt natural after using just one ShowerPill wipe. Thanks to the single-use, individually packaged design, I could travel light instead of weighing my bag down with an entire bulk-size pack of wipes. Throw a packet in your car, backpack, office desk drawer, and locker, and you're set with a reliable shower backup. 

    showerpill runnerTested and loved by both professional athletes and ordinary folks like myself, ShowerPill wipes were designed for anyone who leads an active, busy lifestyle. However, their use extends beyond post-exercise hygiene. They can also be used to help people in need and crisis when they don't have access to clean bathing water. The company has donated tens of thousands of ShowerPill wipes to homeless relief organizations and victims of the Flint water crisis, Hurricane Harvey, and Hurricane Maria, proving the product's versatility and importance. 

    As shown through the above situations, a "shower" significantly affects not only the way people physically feel but also their sense of personal dignity. A box of ShowerPill wipes is a smart supply to pack on long camping and hiking trips, in household emergency kits, and for other situations where you can potentially lose access to clean water. In the end, you should pull out a ShowerPill wipe whenever you want to feel, smell, and be clean in a convenient, no-fuss way. 

    Shop 10-Count boxes of ShowerPill wipes for $9.99 at Amazon here

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: Why Rolex watches are so expensive


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    Prepare for the year ahead with insights from today's brightest minds. Join us at Business Insider's flagship conference, IGNITION: Media, Technology & Transformation, now in its ninth year.

    IGNITION 2017_Scott Galloway

    This year's speakers are innovators transforming media, technology, and society. The lineup is packed with top executives from some of the hottest tech startups and innovative corporate enterprises. Thought leaders from Dropbox, Hulu, Etsy, and Openwater will be discussing critical topics, from AI and robotics to the future of entertainment, healthcare, finance, and transportation.

    Want to hear how Keller Rinaudo is working to build a life-saving drone-delivery service in the most remote regions of the world? Learn how Dropbox CEO and cofounder Drew Houston built his $12 billion company? Hear from AOL cofounder and entrepreneur Steve Case about his investing approach that he calls "Rise of the Rest"?

    Check out the remarkable lineup of speakers confirmed so far:

    • Victoria Canal, singer-songwriter
    • Steve Case, chairman and CEO, Revolution; cofounder, AOL
    • Barbara Corcoran of ABC's "Shark Tank"
    • Randy Freer, CEO, Hulu
    • Scott Galloway, founder, Gartner L2; professor of marketing, NYU Stern
    • Drew Houston, cofounder and CEO, Dropbox
    • Dr. Mary Lou Jepsen, CEO and founder, Openwater
    • Janice Min, media consultant, NBCUniversal Cable Entertainment and Valence Media
    • Keller Rinaudo, CEO and cofounder, Zipline
    • Joe and Anthony Russo, codirectors of "Avengers: Infinity War"; cofounders, AGBO
    • Josh Silverman, CEO, Etsy
    • Padmasree Warrior, U.S. CEO and CDO, NIO

    One ticket, two days, 50-plus insightful speakers, over 600 executives.

    Register now for IGNITION 2018.

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: INSIDE WEST POINT: What it’s really like for new Army cadets on their first day


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    bombas founders shark tank

    • The founders of sock company Bombas appeared on "Shark Tank" in 2014.
    • They landed a deal with Daymond John and, in 2017, Bombas brought in nearly $50 million in revenue.
    • To prepare, the founders rehearsed their answers to all potential questions — and follow-up questions — that the Sharks might ask.


    "If you over-prepare, you're going to do fine."

    So said Randy Goldberg, cofounder of sock company Bombas.

    In 2014, Goldberg and his cofounder, David Heath, appeared on "Shark Tank," ultimately landing a deal with Daymond John: $200,000 in exchange for 17.5% of their company, plus the financing of the inventory.

    Goldberg and Heath told Business Insider that they prepared for their appearance by compiling a spreadsheet with close to 300 questions that the Sharks had asked entrepreneurs on previous episodes. Over and over again, Goldberg and Heath rehearsed their answers to these questions.

    But they didn't stop there — they also figured out which follow-up questions the Sharks might ask, and simulated how those conversations would play out.

    "We would say, 'Well, OK. This response leaves this question open,'" Heath said. "So you want to then be on the defensive if they come back and ask it this way."

    Heath added that "a big part of our strategy was trying to control the narrative, and control which line and direction the questioning would take based on our responses."

    To ensure that their time in the tank went smoothly, the founders also broke down exactly which types of questions each person would answer.

    All that preparation helped them stay calm when Kevin O'Leary (a.k.a. "Mr. Wonderful") called them "sock cockroaches," when Lori Greiner said she didn't like that they planned to use their investment money to hire more people, and when Mark Cuban said their sales shouldn't be plateauing.

    Today, Bombas is one of the biggest "Shark Tank" successes: Heath told Business Insider's Richard Feloni that the company had been profitable since 2016 and brought in "just under $50 million" in revenue in 2017.

    John told Feloni that Bombas was his best investment, largely because the company's social mission — donating socks to homeless shelters — is also good for business.

    Bombas might not have landed the deal with John in the first place if they hadn't been so well-rehearsed.

    "Even if you're talking about questions that you didn't specifically work on," Goldberg said, "the fact that you prepared so many other things gives you the confidence to feel like you can answer anything."

    SEE ALSO: The 'Shark Tank' founders who were called 'sock cockroaches' on national TV before landing a $200,000 deal have become one of the show's biggest success stories

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: I woke up at 4:30 a.m. for a week like a Navy SEAL


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    Shark Tank vibes jack mann

    • On an episode of "Shark Tank," Vibes founder Jack Mann received a $100,000 offer from Kevin O'Leary. He turned it down.
    • Mann was initially nervous about messing up his pitch, so he hired a speech coach, who taught him an unusual memory technique.
    • The memory technique involved associating keywords from each paragraph with a different image. Mann delivered his pitch seamlessly.

    Between the day Jack Mann was approved to appear on "Shark Tank" and the day the episode was filmed, there were about five weeks.

    "It was a stressful time that month; I'll tell you that," Mann told Business Insider. Mann is the founder of Vibes, a company that makes reusable earplugs designed to preserve sound quality. Vibes was just three months old when the episode was filmed.

    Mann told Business Insider that, going into the show, he was less nervous about preparing answers to the Sharks' questions and more so about delivering his opening pitch. Specifically, he was worrying about his mind going blank in the middle.

    "I hadn't done much public speaking previously, and definitely hadn't done anything to that magnitude on television," he said.

    So he hired a speech coach, who guided him in using a specific memory technique.

    As Mann explained it, you simply associate a keyword in each paragraph of your speech with a different image. Then you work your way clockwise through the group of images, "rather than think through what's the next thing you were trying to say."

    For example, Mann said, you might use an image of a house to remember to talk about your background and where you're from.

    "Things really go wrong when you forget what you're trying to say and you slip up," Mann said — something that's happened before on the "Shark Tank" stage. "So I found that [technique] helpful."

    Mann delivered his pitch seamlessly and received a $100,000 offer

    Mann's memory technique is similar to another, research-backed strategy, called the "method of loci" or the "memory palace."

    Using that strategy, you associate each item you're trying to remember with a specific image and place. As you walk through the different places in your mind, you're reminded of the items they're linked to.

    Ron White, a two-time national memory champion, previously told Business Insider that he taught a six-year-old girl to memorize the names of all 44 US presidents using much the same technique.

    Ultimately, Mann delivered his pitch seamlessly and went on to receive an offer from Kevin O'Leary (a.k.a. "Mr. Wonderful"): $100,000 for 35% of the company, with a royalty of $2 for every pair of earplugs sold until O'Leary got his money back. Mann turned down the offer, and has "zero regrets" about it.

    As of 2017, Vibes had grown from an initial $33,000 investment to $2 million in sales.

    "I'm happy with where we are today, where we've grown, and where we're going to continue to grow," Mann said.

    SEE ALSO: 'Shark Tank' founders who were called 'sock cockroaches' on national TV prepared answers to about 300 questions before they even appeared on the show — and they landed a $200,000 deal

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: I woke up at 4:30 a.m. for a week like a Navy SEAL


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    shaan patel

    • "Shark Tank" contestant Shaan Patel bombed his answer to a question he knew the Sharks were going to ask him.
    • The question was whether Patel, a medical student, wanted to be an entrepreneur or a doctor.
    • Despite stammering through his answer, Patel secured a $250,000 deal from Mark Cuban.


    No matter how much you practice a big business pitch, nothing compares to the pressure of actually delivering it.

    For Shaan Patel, that lesson was made painfully clear on a 2016 episode of "Shark Tank."

    Patel went on the show to pitch his SAT tutoring company Prep Expert to a panel of celebrity investors. Although the investors were impressed by Patel's credentials — he scored a perfect 2400 on his SAT in high school — he nearly blew his chance at a lucrative deal when he flubbed the answer to a question he knew they were going to ask him.

    The question was whether Patel, who at the time was earning a medical degree in dermatology from the University of Southern California, wanted to be an entrepreneur or a doctor. 

    Patel told Business Insider he had prepared for that very question on the flight to Los Angeles for filming of the show. In fact, when producers of the show asked him to write down 25 potential questions he might face from the panel, that was the first one he wrote.

    But when it came time to answer the question in real life, Patel stammered his way through an answer that left the Sharks unconvinced about his commitment to his business.

    "It was so funny because on 'Shark Tank' when they asked me that question, I totally stumbled," Patel said. "I could not give them a clear answer and I looked like a total goofball. Like, how did you not think they were going to ask you that?"

    The Sharks didn't spare Patel their criticism.

    "Your biggest problem, Shaan, is that you're not 110% committed," Kevin O'Leary said.

    "I give my money to people that will die for their business," he continued. "They'll give up their lives for it. That's the kind of general I want to back. You're not that kind of general."

    "I'm not sure that you know the direction you want to be," Lori Greiner said, with Robert Herjavec adding, "I can't invest in a part-time entrepreneur."

    Despite the harsh words, Patel managed to come out on top when he accepted a $250,000 offer from Mark Cuban for 20% of his company and any of Patel's future business ventures.

    In the two years since the show aired, Prep Expert has grown tenfold, with sales increasing from $1 million to $10 million and the company expanding from one full-time employee to 10. Prep Expert now offers live classes in five US cities, and between live and online courses, has tutored 30,000 students, a couple of whom have gone on to score perfect scores on the SAT.

    shark tank shaan patel prep expertPatel and Cuban have even co-authored a book, "Kid Start-Up," about how parents can teach their children to become entrepreneurs. 

    At the same time, Patel finished medical school, earned an MBA from Yale, and is now in residency to become a dermatologist. 

    "If I could go back to the show and answer that question, I would have said I'd like to do both," Patel told Business Insider.

    Ideally, he said, he would be able to have a career as a dermatologist and as a business leader, possibly only practicing medicine "a couple times a week."

    "All of the Sharks wear multiple hats. None of them are just Sharks on 'Shark Tank,'" he said.

    "They do all kinds of different things, and they don't just hold one career. I think lots of people do that. I don't know why necessarily it was so astounding for them."

    He continued: "But I can understand that if you're going to invest in someone you want them to be fully 100% dedicated to it. Hopefully I've been able to show the Sharks, now being one of Mark Cuban's most successful investments on the show, that I was able to grow the company and continue my education at the same time."

    SEE ALSO: A 'Shark Tank' entrepreneur who won $300,000 realized previous contestants were doomed by the same type of question

    DON'T MISS: A perfect SAT couldn't get this guy into the Ivy League — now he's running a successful business with Mark Cuban

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: Here's the morning ritual 'Shark Tank' star Daymond John uses to stay focused throughout the day


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    changed dan stelmach nick sky

    • Nick Sky and Dan Stelmach, brothers and founders of the student-loan payment app ChangEd, say you need to "embrace the broom" to find success as an entrepreneur.
    • "Embracing the broom" means doing whatever job that needs to be done and not thinking the work is beneath you. The advice can be traced back to Andrew Carnegie.
    • Through hard work and persistence, the brothers scored an appearance on "Shark Tank" and a $250,000 deal with Mark Cuban.


    If you want any chance at success as an entrepreneur, you're going to have to embrace the broom.

    That's what Dan Stelmach and Nick Sky learned from their mother, who immigrated to the US from Poland and worked three jobs to support the family as a single parent.

    "She was always doing the dirty work to get the job done," Sky told Business Insider.

    That willingness to grind out a living is what embracing the broom is all about. The idea comes from business magnate Andrew Carnegie, who once said that an aspiring business leader shouldn't be afraid "to try his hand at the broom" no matter their greater ambitions.

    Stelmach and Sky have taken that to heart as they work to get ChangEd, their student-loan payment app, off the ground. 

    The app, which the pair began working on in 2016, is simple enough: Users link their bank accounts, and every time they use their credit or debit card, ChangEd rounds the purchase up to the nearest dollar and collects the change. Whenever the pool of change reaches $100, the app automatically sends a payment to their student-loan servicer. The service can speed up users' payment timelines by a full six years, the creators said.

    The pair launched the app in April 2017, and have put countless hours into developing it. Both Sky and Stelmach worked on ChangEd at a full-time pace while holding down other jobs: Stelmach sold cars, while Sky woke up at 5 a.m. to drive for Uber. Stelmach has said he invested his life savings, about $30,000, into ChangEd.

    "If you're trying to build something from the ground up, a good work ethic, persistence and discomfort are all things that you need to be okay with," Sky told Business Insider. "You'll be introduced to the broom, and if you think you're too good for it or that the work is beneath you, you'll have problems. No work is beneath an entrepreneur."

    He continued: "Embracing the broom, to me, means being happy to do the dirty work. Understanding that you're not beneath the work just because you think you're more qualified."

    When the brothers pitched their app on an episode of "Shark Tank" that aired earlier this year, the panel of celebrity investors took note of the lengths they went to finance their dream.

    "That's the way you hustle. That's what I'm talking about," Mark Cuban said on the show.

    "Now THAT'S an entrepreneur that's Rising and Grinding," Daymond John tweeted.

    Cuban eventually offered the pair a $250,000 deal for a 25% stake in their company, which they accepted. The exposure they got from "Shark Tank" helped grow their business "tenfold," they said, and last month the company announced it had sent its millionth dollar to student-loan servicers since the app launched.

    "Not everything is all sunshine and rainbows every single day, but we love the roller-coaster ride that a startup is, and we're working hard every single day," Sky said.

    SEE ALSO: 4 years after 'Shark Tank' entrepreneurs gave a frenetic pitch at top volume that made Mark Cuban laugh, they aren't sorry they did it

    DON'T MISS: Jeff Bezos once said that in job interviews he told candidates of 3 ways to work — and that you have to do all 3 at Amazon

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    Mark Cuban

    • Mark Cuban has an estimated net worth of $3.9 billion.
    • He's earned his fortune through a lifetime of business deals, including the $5.7 billion sale of Broadcast.com, his ownership of the Dallas Mavericks, and investments made on ABC's "Shark Tank."
    • Cuban has spent millions on private airplanes, a yacht, and a luxurious Dallas home, not to mention $2 million in fines from the NBA.
    • Cuban is in the news this week after an investigation into the Mavericks organization surfaced evidence of a hostile workplace for women. Cuban has pledged to donate $10 million to women's causes and domestic violence awareness.


    Mark Cuban is one of the wealthiest people in America, with an estimated net worth of $3.9 billion according to Forbes.

    The businessman and investor earned his fortune with a series of shrewd business deals starting in the 1990s, most notably the sale of his streaming site Broadcast.com for $5.7 billion in stocks.

    He bought the NBA's Dallas Mavericks in 2000 and helped transform them into a championship team.

    And he's added to his empire with investments like the ones he makes each week on ABC's "Shark Tank," where he's been a regular for eight years.

    Cuban is in the news this week after an investigation into the Mavericks organization surfaced evidence of a hostile workplace for women. Cuban has pledged to donate $10 million to women's causes and domestic violence awareness.

    But $10 million isn't the fortune it sounds like to the billionaire. Over the years, he's spent his money on private planes, a 24,000-square-foot house, a $110,000 bar tab, and millions of dollars of fines from the NBA. 

    Read on to see how Cuban has earned — and spent — his fortune.

    SEE ALSO: A look inside the daily routine of billionaire investor Mark Cuban, who starts working the minute he wakes up and falls asleep to 'Law & Order'

    Mark Cuban is worth an estimated $3.9 billion, according to Forbes. That ranks him among the 250 richest people in America.

    Source: Forbes



    Cuban made his fortune over a lifetime of shrewd business deals. He's the owner of the NBA's Dallas Mavericks …

    Source: Forbes



    … he's the co-founder of 2929 Entertainment, which owns the production companies behind films like "Akeelah and the Bee" and "Good Night and Good Luck"…

    Source: Biography



    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    Nicki Radzely

    • The day before she appeared on "Shark Tank," Doddle & Co cofounder Nicki Radzely froze up and forgot her name during the final rehearsal.
    • Radzely, who was pitching the Pop Pacifier, had to appear on the show alone because her cofounder, Janna Badger, had just given birth.
    • Despite all the commotion, Radzely earned multiple offers, ultimately accepting $250,000 from Kevin O'Leary.

    Nicki Radzely and Janna Badger, the founders of Doddle & Co, were supposed to appear on "Shark Tank" together.

    But a few days before the episode was scheduled to film, Badger, who was living in Seoul, South Korea, gave birth to her third child. Radzely would have to dive into the tank alone.

    Doddle & Co makes baby products. including pacifiers and teethers; on the "Shark Tank" episode, Radzely was pitching the Pop Pacifier, which is designed to stay clean because the nipple pops back in every time it falls. At the time, the company was just four months old.

    The day before the episode was filmed, there was a final rehearsal with the show's producers. "I went out on the rehearsal stage feeling really confident, that I'd done this before to some degree and that I was going to hit the ball out of the park," Radzely told Business Insider.

    But when the producers drew back the curtain, Radzely said, there was no audience, no stage. All she could see was "a sea of desks and laptops and everyone completely silent, staring back at me."

    Undeterred, Radzely looked at the producers and said, "Hi. My name is…"

    "I completely froze and forgot my name," Radzely recalled. The producers gave her a second chance, reassuring her that she'd be fine. "I was like, ‘OK, you got this. You know what you're doing.'"

    Once again, she walked through the curtain and said, "Hi. My name is…" This time, the producers took pity on her, telling her simply to practice before the next day.

    Radzely went back to her hotel room in a state of panic and spent the next 12 hours rehearsing.

    Standing on the "Shark Tank" stage, Radzely was perfectly poised and delivered her pitch seamlessly. She received multiple offers, including a joint offer from Sara Blakely, founder of Spanx, and Lori Greiner. Ultimately, Radzely opted to accept Kevin O'Leary's offer: $250,000 for 10% of the company.

    Today, Doddle & Co has reached nearly $1 million in sales.

    "The show was tremendous for the brand," Radzely said, largely because it put their name out into the world.

    In that sense, she said, "we got a good deal."

    SEE ALSO: 'Shark Tank' founders who were called 'sock cockroaches' on national TV prepared answers to about 300 questions before they even appeared on the show — and they landed a $200,000 deal

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    Shaan Patel

    • Generation Z, the generation born after 1997, differs from millennials when it comes to how they use social media.
    • Shaan Patel, the founder of SAT tutoring company Prep Expert, said adults don't realize how Generation Z is able to balance its use of technology and social media.
    • Teenagers today are also more eager to become entrepreneurs than the previous generation, Patel said.


    Today's teenagers are often accused of being obsessed with social media.

    But one entrepreneur who works with them says adults aren't seeing the full picture.

    Shaan Patel, the founder of the SAT tutoring company Prep Expert, has worked with thousands of high schoolers through his mix of live and online video courses since 2011.

    In seven years, Patel's customers have gone from the oldest of the millennial generation to the youngest members of Generation Z, defined as those born after 1997.

    Although there's no questioning Generation Z's prolific use of social media, Patel said teens today are better than adults at knowing when to put the phone aside.

    "My worry has always been that you become very distracted with social media," Patel told Business Insider. "I think Generation Z, at least the students taking our courses, have learned how to balance that maybe better than adults, like social media addiction and things like that. They are so focused on these tests, they are able to learn online and they don't get distracted."

    "They are really, really savvy about when to use technology and when to not, and I don't think we give them enough credit for that."

    Another big difference Patel noticed between his older and younger students was in their prospective career choices. Today's high schoolers, he said, take their inspiration from entrepreneurs like Jeff Bezos and Elon Musk, not to mention shows like "Shark Tank" that reward entrepreneurs who build businesses from the ground up.

    "Seven years ago, almost everyone wanted to become a doctor, a lawyer, an engineer, something like that. Today, entrepreneurs are becoming the rock stars of society," Patel told Business Insider. 

    "What's really, really interesting to me is all these kids are learning coding, learning about technology, they want to start their own companies, they want to become an entrepreneur."

    On that front, Patel can relate to his Generation Z students. He's an entrepreneur himself, of course, and he even went on a 2016 episode of "Shark Tank" to pitch Prep Expert, earning a $250,000 deal from Mark Cuban. 

    Patel's experience getting his company off the ground helps him relate to his Generation Z students, he said.

    "As a millennial, I was never encouraged to consider entrepreneurship as a viable career path growing up," he said.

    And his No. 1 piece of advice for the younger students he tutors? No matter what the examples of Mark Zuckerberg and Bill Gates suggest, don't drop out of college.

    "They are the exception, not the rule. I tell kids to continue to work on their business while pursuing their education," he said.

    Not only did Patel stay in school, he recently earned both an MBA and a medical degree, and makes time for his business while he does his dermatology residency at Temple University.

    "Generation Z student entrepreneurs are primed for success if they stay in school as they launch their businesses."

    SEE ALSO: A 'Shark Tank' entrepreneur practiced his answer to the question he knew the Sharks would ask, but he bombed it anyway — and still landed a $250,000 deal

    DON'T MISS: Mark Cuban is worth $3.9 billion — see how he earns and spends his massive fortune

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    shark tank lollacup

    • "Shark Tank" alumni, including the founders of Bombas and Coffee Meets Bagel, say their experience on the show was valuable even beyond getting an offer.
    • For example, it forced the entrepreneurs to think about their business more carefully as they prepared for their appearance.
    • Those founders who received offers say it confirmed that they had a compelling business idea.

    Few if any "Shark Tank" alums will say they didn't care about the prospect of making a deal with one of the investors.

    But many entrepreneurs have told Business Insider that their experience in the tank was valuable not solely for financial reasons.

    Consider Randy Goldberg, cofounder of sock company Bombas. He and cofounder David Heath appeared on "Shark Tank" in 2014, ultimately landing a $200,000 deal with Daymond John.

    Goldberg said the mere act of preparing for their appearance on "Shark Tank" was useful. The cofounders compiled a spreadsheet with nearly 300 questions that the Sharks had asked other entrepreneurs, and rehearsed their answers to these questions over and over again.

    "It makes you take a look and examine things and have answers to questions that you might be ignoring," Goldberg said of the rehearsal process. "It brings things out in the open."

    Jack Mann, founder of earplugs company Vibes, hired a coach to prepare for his appearance on "Shark Tank," and learned a technique to help him remember his pitch. Mann said he still uses the technique — which involves associating a keyword in each paragraph of your speech with a different image — today, when he gives presentations.

    Multiple other entrepreneurs who received offers from Sharks said it confirmed for them that their business idea was compelling.

    Dawoon Kang, cofounder and co-CEO of dating app Coffee Meets Bagel, appeared on "Shark Tank" in 2015 and declined Mark Cuban's offer of $30 million for the entire company. Kang said she and her cofounders have no regrets about turning Cuban down — even though other people called them greedy.

    Still, Kang told Business Insider, "To get Mark Cuban to benchmark us at $30 million really was a huge testament and validation of all the work that was done to build this company."

    Mark Lim, cofounder of Lollaland, went on "Shark Tank" in 2012 and won $100,000 from Cuban and Robert Herjavec. Lim told Business Insider that getting "validation" was a key benefit from the experience — especially since the business was still in its infancy at the time.

    The exposure that comes with appearing on "Shark Tank"— which has a national audience of about 10 million, according to the New York Post— is perhaps the most meaningful benefit.

    Nikki Radzely, cofounder of baby-product company Doddle & Co, won $250,000 from Kevin O'Leary. "Going on the show was tremendous for the brand," she said, largely because it brought "awareness to parents that were looking for a better solution to soothe their baby."

    Mann felt similarly, though he ultimately turned down O'Leary's offer of $100,000. The two things of most value, he said, were the investors' "acumen and experience," as well as "the obvious exposure that comes from the show."

    SEE ALSO: 'Shark Tank' founders who were called 'sock cockroaches' on national TV prepared answers to about 300 questions before they even appeared on the show — and they landed a $200,000 deal

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    Two months from now we'll be kicking off our ninth annual IGNITION conference in New York City.

    We're excited to announce the latest round of additions to our packed agenda.

    Mark Cuban

      • Prolific entrepreneur Mark Cuban will return to the stage after speaking at 2014's event. He'll be joined by Felicity Conrad and Kristen Sonday, the cofounders of one of Cuban's business investments, the legal startup Paladin. Paladin aims to help legal teams sign up for pro-bono opportunities and enables coordinators to track lawyers' work.
      • Barbara Corcoran, the legendary real-estate mogul and "Shark Tank" star, will be at IGNITION discussing her decades-long entrepreneurial career.

    Barbara Corcoran

    • Cindy Robbins is the president and chief people officer at Salesforce. She spearheaded a companywide initiative, helmed by CEO Mark Benioff, to close the gender wage gap. The tech company has since dedicated $6 million toward correcting compensation differences. Learn more about Salesforce's unique company culture and benefits, and how Robbins is continuing to scale new initiatives paving the way for other companies.
    • Legendary businessman and venture capitalist Steve Case will be joined onstage by several of the entrepreneurs he's invested in, including Craig Fuller, the CEO of FreightWaves — the largest provider of news, content, data, and analytics for the freight and logistics markets — and Tye and Courtney Caldwell, the cofounders of B2B beauty-tech platform ShearShare.
    • Rachel Holt leads Uber's New Modalities unit, which oversees the company's initiatives around bikes, scooters, transit, hourly rentals, and more. Ryan Rzepecki is the CEO and founder of JUMP Bikes, the dockless electric-bike-sharing startup that Uber recently acquired. The two will take the IGNITION stage together to discuss the future of urban transportation.
    • Cal Henderson is the cofounder and chief technology officer of Slack, the team-communication and workplace-messaging platform. Henderson will share how Slack's technology is transforming and streamlining the modern work environment, and how it aligns with boosted employee time management and productivity.

    Take a look at the full lineup of speakers confirmed so far.

    This event will sell out, so get your tickets now to ensure you don't miss a moment.

    Register here.

    For updates on new speakers, sign up for our IGNITION mailing list.

    SEE ALSO: Announcing IGNITION 2018 speakers: Don't miss Scott Galloway, Janice Min, Steve Case, and more!

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    Shark Tank vibes jack mann

    • On an episode of "Shark Tank," Jack Mann, the founder of earplug company Vibes, turned down a $100,000 offer from Kevin O'Leary.
    • Today, Mann doesn't regret the decision at all. As of 2017, Vibes had reached $2 million in sales.
    • Even if Mann didn't walk away with cash, he said he still gained valuable experience pitching his business.

    Vibes was only three months old when its founder Jack Mann appeared on "Shark Tank"— but Mann managed to win a $100,000 offer anyway.

    Vibes makes reusable earplugs designed to preserve sound quality. Kevin O'Leary (a.k.a. "Mr. Wonderful") was intrigued, and he offered Mann $100,000 for 35% of the company, with a royalty of $2 for every pair of earplugs sold until O'Leary got his money back.

    Mann turned O'Leary down.

    "I know that Kevin often goes to royalty deals," Mann said on camera after he walked off stage. "I already knew going in there that that wasn't something I was willing to take. The business is too small, and we can't be pulling money out of it at this time."

    Today, Mann told Business Insider, he has "zero regrets" about his decision. "We've been able to grow and bootstrap without the need for outside financing," he said. "I'm happy with where we are today, where we've grown, and where we're going to continue to grow."

    As of 2017, Vibes had grown from an initial $33,000 investment to $2 million in sales.

    Even if Mann didn't walk out with cash, he still got solid practice pitching his business.

    Mann hired a coach to prepare for his appearance on "Shark Tank," and learned a technique to help him remember his pitch. Mann said he still uses the technique — which involves associating a keyword in each paragraph of your speech with a different image — today, when he gives presentations.

    What's more, Mann said the viewer feedback he received after the show aired helped him expand the business into new markets.

    Initially, he was focused on using the product at concerts — but he learned that people were excited to use it at fitness classes and sporting events, and even on motorcycle rides. The most surprising use case he learned about was for individuals with sensory disorders and autism.

    The entire "Shark Tank" experience was like a "pressure cooker," Mann said. "It makes you think in a different way about your business when you have to present it in front of not only multimillion dollar investors, but also in front of a national audience. … It's like going through a crash course in defending your business."

    SEE ALSO: An entrepreneur who went on 'Shark Tank' to pitch his 3-month-old startup in front of a national audience relied on an unusual memory technique to avoid panicking and forgetting his script

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    Nicki Radzely

    • Nicki Radzely, the cofounder of Doddle & Co., appeared on "Shark Tank" in January to pitch the Pop Pacifier.
    • During the episode, Daymond John told Radzely her company "sucks" and questioned why she had valued her business at $5 million.
    • Radzely ultimately accepted a $250,000 offer from Kevin O'Leary.
    • Looking back, Radzely said she loved that John insulted her because it gave her more airtime and a chance to address other investors' and viewers' concerns.

    Nicki Radzely didn't go on "Shark Tank" to make friends.

    She knew she'd be pummeled with hard questions — and potentially insults — about the product she was pitching, the Pop Pacifier.

    Radzely is the cofounder of Doddle & Co., a company that makes baby products, including pacifiers and teethers. The Pop Pacifier is designed to stay clean because the nipple pops back in every time it falls.

    When Radzely went on the show in January, Doddle & Co. was four months old, and she was asking for $250,000 in exchange for 5% of her company, meaning she had valued the business at $5 million.

    Daymond John took the lead on questioning Radzely about the cost, her sales, and why she thought the company was worth $5 million.

    When Mark Cuban and Sara Blakely, the founder of Spanx, proclaimed the product a "hit" with parents, John jumped in to say it "sucks." It was a pun, since the product was a pacifier — but you would imagine that the comment would sting nonetheless.

    That wasn't Radzely's reaction. "I thought it was fantastic," she told Business Insider. Radzely also got a kick out of John putting the pacifier in his mouth during the episode.

    "I think he was giving me a wink through his comments and actions to get us on air and to give some rise to our brand," Radzely said.

    "He asked hard questions," she said, "which helped me prove to the other investors that were sitting there that I could answer them and that there were no major flaws or gaps in our story."

    She added: "The questions that people were probably thinking, sitting at home watching, he asked. So it gave me a moment to clear that air."

    Radzely received multiple offers, including a joint offer from Blakely and Lori Greiner. Ultimately, Radzely accepted Kevin O'Leary's offer: $250,000 for 10% of the company.

    Today, Doddle & Co. has reached nearly $1 million in sales.

    Radzely said she "loved everything" that John "said and did."

    "It only helped us," she said.

    SEE ALSO: A 'Shark Tank' entrepreneur who panicked and forgot her own name during rehearsals stayed up all night practicing her pitch for 12 hours, and ultimately landed a $250,000 offer

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    Barbara Corcoran

    Barbara Corcoran has held a seat on the ABC series "Shark Tank" for the past nine seasons and invested in more than 30 businesses through the Emmy Award-winning show.

    Corcoran's entrepreneurial career began with a $1,000 loan from a boyfriend that she used to quit her waitressing job and start the New York City residential real-estate brokerage firm Corcoran Group, which she sold in 2001 for $66 million.

    Hear more about Corcoran's extraordinary career at IGNITION 2018.

    Register now.

    To keep up with IGNITION news, join our mailing list and you'll be the first to get updates on our speakers and agenda.

    SEE ALSO: Announcing IGNITION 2018 speakers: Don't miss Scott Galloway, Janice Min, Steve Case, and more!

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    NOW WATCH: Barbara Corcoran reveals what separates successful entrepreneurs from those that fail


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    shark tank

    • Amazon announced on Monday that it has launched a new partnership with the hit ABC entrepreneurial pitch show "Shark Tank."
    • Via a special page on Amazon.com, the e-commerce giant will sell items from companies that the Sharks have invested in during any season of the show.
    • It's part of Amazon Launchpad, the program where Amazon partners with young companies and startups to increase product selection on its site.

    Entrepreneurs have a new reason to go on "Shark Tank."

    Amazon announced on Monday that it is officially partnering with the show to sell merchandise made by entrepreneurs whose companies the Sharks have invested in. The items are collected on a dedicated page in Amazon's Launchpad section, where it collects items sold by startups and young companies. 

    "For the first time ever, 'Shark Tank' has a store on Amazon.com dedicated to helping our entrepreneurs scale their businesses and highlight top products from the show,"Barbara Corcoran, one of the star Sharks, said in a prepared statement. "We are excited for the Amazon Launchpad Shark Tank Collection to bring products from our entrepreneurs to retail for customers and fans of the series."

    Merchandise from the winners of season one through nine of the show are currently available on the page — over 70 items in all. As winners are picked in the currently airing season 10, their items will appear on the page as well.

    "The Amazon Launchpad program is all about empowering creators and inventors, enabling them to reach hundreds of millions of customers," Jim Adkins, a vice president at Amazon, said in a statement. "By teaming up with 'Shark Tank,' we are making it fun and easy for fans of the show to discover a wide variety of unique innovations and cutting-edge products."

    Come see Barbara Corcoran and Mark Cuban speak at Business Insider's Ignition Conference December 3 and 4. 

    The perks don't stop there, either. Amazon is also giving each qualified entrepreneur a $15,000 Amazon Web Services credit that can be used toward cloud services.

    However, there could be a downside to the opportunity.

    Amazon logs data from every sale on its website, even from partners that use it as a platform. It's also known for not sharing as much data with these partners as other online platforms.

    Amazon could easily take a look at which items are blowing up on the site, gaining information for possible investment or acquisition in the future. Or, Amazon could take the idea and create its own private-label version.

    SEE ALSO: Amazon's latest charitable donation could be a message to HQ2 candidate cities

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    mark cuban ignition 2x1

    Mark Cuban is a businessman, investor, owner of the Dallas Mavericks, and a regular on ABC's "Shark Tank."

    This December, Cuban and the cofounders of the legal workflow platform provider Paladin, which Cuban has invested in, will appear together at IGNITION.

    Paladin is a New York-based software-as-a-service (SaaS) business designed to empower the pro-bono ecosystem. Felicity Conrad and Kristen Sonday are cofounders.

    Cuban also appeared at Business Insider's flagship 2014 IGNITION conference, where he talked about his sleep schedule and slammed other billionaires who complain about being rich.

    Cuban, Conrad, and Sonday are joining an all-star roster of business leaders and entrepreneurs at IGNITION 2018.

    Register now.

    To keep up with IGNITION news, join our mailing list and you'll be the first to get updates on our speakers and agenda.

    SEE ALSO: Announcing IGNITION 2018 speakers: Don't miss Scott Galloway, Janice Min, Steve Case, and more!

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    shark tank ring jamie siminoff

    • Jamie Siminoff appeared on "Shark Tank" in 2013, pitching his startup, Doorbot.
    • In the months leading up to the taping, Siminoff practiced constantly, using the mock set he'd built in his backyard and fielding potential questions from friends.
    • Ultimately, Siminoff rejected an offer from Kevin O'Leary and left without making a deal.
    • Doorbot subsequently became Ring and, in 2018, the company was acquired by Amazon for $1 billion.
    • Siminoff returned to the tank as a guest Shark in the season 10 premiere and could barely believe it was real. He remembered how nervous he'd felt the first time he appeared on the show.

    Jamie Siminoff knew that a spot on "Shark Tank" could have the same impact as a Super Bowl commercial.

    So in the weeks leading up to his appearance on the show, in 2013, he practiced relentlessly. He built a set in his backyard and had friends come over to watch him present his pitch and ask potential questions.

    Siminoff is the CEO of Ring; at the time of his appearance on "Shark Tank," the company was called Doorbot. Ultimately, he was turned down by every Shark but Kevin O'Leary, who offered him $700,000 with royalties. Siminoff rejected the deal.

    Months passed and Siminoff still had no idea if the episode would air. (Not every "Shark Tank" episode filmed makes it to TV.) The business was strapped for cash, Siminoff was going broke, and he started to have some regrets about not taking the deal with O'Leary. "I would have gone back and taken the devil's money at that point," he said.

    In November, the episode aired and Siminoff said Ring saw an immediate uptick in interest, with $100,000 in sales that night alone.

    Fast forward a few years, and Ring had received investments from Virgin Group founder Richard Branson and Goldman Sachs. Then, in 2018, Ring was acquired by Amazon for $1 billion. On the first episode of the show's tenth season, Siminoff returned to the tank as a guest Shark.

    "If you had a heart rate sensor on me," Siminoff told Business Insider, "I would have looked like I was about to explode." He remembered vividly how anxious he'd been the first time he walked through those double doors.

    As one entrepreneur after another took the stage to pitch their business, Siminoff couldn't help but see reflections of his younger self.

    He ended up investing $100,000 in Bear Minimum, which makes camping cookware, at least partly because he could tell that "these people are putting their lives into this thing and that's the type of entrepreneur that will be successful." One of the founders talked about working as a Lyft driver at night to help support his business.

    Still, Siminoff found it mind boggling to be in the position of power. "It's just so overwhelmingly insane that that is what I've been able to get to," he said, "that it really is hard to think that it's real."

    SEE ALSO: An entrepreneur who landed a $250,000 offer on 'Shark Tank' was thrilled when a Shark said her company 'sucks' and questioned its valuation

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    troy carter spotify

    Troy Carter is one of the most fascinating names in music. His roots are in artist management (John Legend, Lady Gaga), but he's also a savvy consultant to technology startups, including Spotify, Warby Parker, Dropbox, and Uber.

    Until September, he was Spotify's global head of creator services, and he's been a guest shark during the seventh season of ABC's "Shark Tank."

    Lately, he’s been focused on developing Atom Factory, the talent management and full-service film and television production company that he founded. 

    Of Lady Gaga's rise to fame, Carter has said that social media played a big role when radio play was tough to get. 

    New album release strategies, improved data collection, and a new breed of digital, plugged-in artists and performers are among the trends Carter sees that he will discuss at IGNITION 2018.

    And you'll hear more about his fascinating career and the lessons he's learned along the way.

    Register now.

    To keep up with IGNITION news, join our mailing list and you'll be the first to get updates on our speakers and agenda.

    SEE ALSO: Announcing IGNITION 2018 speakers: Don't miss Mark Cuban, Sir Martin Sorrell, Danica Patrick, Troy Carter, and more!

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