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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.


    • 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


    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. 


    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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    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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    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!

    Join the conversation about this story »

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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

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: Why most people refuse to sell their lottery tickets for twice what they paid

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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!

    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.

    shark tank tipsy elves gift

    One of our favorite shows to spot new products and enjoy some entertaining celebrity judge banter is "Shark Tank," which is soon returning for its tenth season.

    As we've seen over the years, some pitches do extremely well, while others aren't so lucky — but the fact remains that the show brings forward new and innovative ideas most of us have never considered.

    That's why the products from the show tend to make especially good gifts. They're far from generic and they usually solve a common problem or annoyance. Conveniently, most are also available on Amazon.

    If your recipient loves watching "Shark Tank," they'll recognize these 20 awesome gift options.  

    Looking for more gift ideas? Check out all of Insider Picks' holiday gift guides for 2018 here.

    A fun outdoor game

    Spikeball 3 Ball Kit, $59.99, available at Amazon

    On a beautiful sunny day at any park in the city, you'll probably see at least one group playing this fun and active game. With rules similar to volleyball, it's easy to learn — so the whole family can get involved. The company even holds nationwide tournaments if your recipient gets really good at the game. 

    A balance bike

    KaZAM No Pedal Balance Bike, $64.95, available at Amazon

    Featuring a patented footrest design that helps young kids find their center of gravity, this bike builds the confidence needed to transition to riding a proper bike. The ergonomic, adjustable handles and seat will get kids comfortable and ready to ride right away. The bike weighs only eight pounds and the puncture-free tires never need air. 

    A Wi-Fi-compatible sous vide

    Nomiku Wi-Fi 1100 Watt Sous Vide, $179, available at Amazon

    Pair the sous vide immersion circulator with a quality piece of steak and your home cook is equipped to make a delicious dinner to remember. The sous vide can be controlled from their phone and produces precise results without fail. 

    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    shark tank kitu life founders

    • The founders of Kitu Life appeared on "Shark Tank" pitching Super Coffee in February 2018.
    • They didn't land an offer, but they say going on the show helped them prepare for future business meetings.
    • They also discovered new types of customers they hadn't anticipated.

    Three years ago, the DeCicco brothers came up with the idea for Kitu Life in a college dorm room.

    Jordan DeCicco was a basketball player at Philadelphia University looking for a more nutritious alternative to the energy drinks he saw on the shelves of grocery stores. He and his brothers, Jim and Jake, who had also been college athletes, devised a bottled coffee drink made with Colombian coffee, lactose-free protein, and MCT oil from coconuts.

    Today, the company is valued at about $50 million and Kitu Life products — which include Super Coffee and Super Creamer — are sold in Wegmans, Whole Foods, and Fairway. Jordan has since dropped out of school, while Jim has ditched his Wall Street gig to go all in on the business.

    In November, the DeCiccos were named to the Forbes 30 Under 30 list of innovators in the food and drink space.

    Much of Kitu Life's success has hinged on their appearance on "Shark Tank" in February 2018 (the company was then called Sunniva Super Coffee). The founders went on the show asking for $500,000 for a 4.5% stake in their company and walked away without a deal — but Jim told Business Insider that the show was still a major boon for their entrepreneurial careers.

    "The best outcome of 'Shark Tank,' despite the publicity, was how prepared we became for our business," he said.

    In the month leading up to their appearance, the founders dedicated every spare second to preparing for anything and everything that could happen in the tank. They divided the 90-second pitch into three parts — one for each brother — and practiced it constantly: in the gym, in the car, in elevators.

    "People would look at us like we were crazy, because we were walking down the street in here in New York City, just talking to ourselves doing this pitch," Jim said. "That's how we memorized it."

    (Interestingly, the founders of Cousins Maine Lobster also said they practiced their pitch in different types of situations in order to get more comfortable with it.)

    The Kitu Life founders called on investors, advisers, and even former professors to help them stage mock pitches. And once the founders had given their official "Shark Tank" pitch and gone through the Sharks' interrogation, they felt like they could handle anything.

    The Kitu Life founders discovered new types of customers they hadn't anticipated

    Another benefit of their "Shark Tank" experience was that it expanded their customer base: People who they'd never imagined using Super Coffee or Super Creamer were sharing their thoughts (some positive, some negative) on the products.

    They'd initially marketed the product to college athletes, but Jim said they learned that "millennial moms with money"— i.e. relatively wealthy parents of young kids — had also taken a liking to Super Coffee and Super Creamer.

    The Kitu Life founders aren't the only entrepreneurs to look beyond money when they think about the benefits of appearing on "Shark Tank."

    Read more:People think startup founders go on 'Shark Tank' for big-name investors and a pile of cash, but entrepreneurs who have done it say that's not really the point

    Randy Goldberg, cofounder of sock company Bombas, previously told Business Insider that, even though Bombas landed a $200,000 deal, preparing for the questions he might be asked was useful for future meetings.

    Similarly, Jack Mann, founder of earplugs company Vibes, previously told Business Insider that even though he turned down a $100,000 offer, he discovered new uses for the earplugs. 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. 

    As for the founders of Kitu Life, Jim said, "The fact that we did it on that ['Shark Tank'] stage made every other business meeting a piece of cake, or much more comfortable than it otherwise would have been."

    SEE ALSO: A startup founder who turned down $100,000 for his 3-month-old startup on 'Shark Tank' says he doesn't regret it one bit

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: Valedictorians rarely become rich and famous — here's why the average millionaire's college GPA is 2.9

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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.

    tipsy elves 4

    • 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. 

    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. 

    tipsy elves 3

    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.

    tipsy elves 2

    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. 

    Dc Hanukkah Apparel 180817

    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. 

    Shop Tipsy Elves sweaters at Amazon here

    Check out more ways to prepare for the holidays:

    Join the conversation about this story »

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    Kristen Sonday, cofounder and chief operating officer of Paladin, talking at Business Insider's IGNITION conference on Monday, December 3, 2018.

    • 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.


    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. 

    Read this:IGNITION 2018: Hear from billionaire investor Mark Cuban and 2 cofounders who scored a deal with him

    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.

    Mark Cuban speaking at Business Insider's IGNITION conference on December 3, 2018.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.

    SEE ALSO: The business school prof who predicted Amazon would buy Whole Foods now says an AWS spinoff is inevitable — and the standalone company could be worth $600B

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: Why NASA blasts half a million gallons of water during rocket launches

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    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!

    <iframe width="560" height="315" src="" frameborder="0" allow="accelerometer; autoplay; encrypted-media; gyroscope; picture-in-picture" allowfullscreen></iframe>

    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

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: 'Shark Tank' star Barbara Corcoran: How I went from a 10-kid household and more than 20 jobs to become a real estate mogul

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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

    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.

    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, $129.99, available at Amazon

    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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    barbara corcoran

    • 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 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."

    Read more:'What the hell were we thinking?' Startup founders who landed a $55,000 deal on 'Shark Tank' nearly missed their big break

    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."

    SEE ALSO: 'Shark Tank' star Barbara Corcoran reveals how getting dumped for her secretary and sending 1 gutsy email helped turn her into a business mogul

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: 7 things you shouldn't buy on Black Friday

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    barbara corcoran

    • 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. 

    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."

    Read more:Barbara Corcoran asks a simple question on 'Shark Tank' to quickly understand if a business partnership will succeed 

    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.

    SEE ALSO: The creator of the 'Bloomberg for the trucking industry' reveals why being based in a city in Tennessee played such a crucial role in his company's success

    DON'T MISS: A Silicon Valley CTO says the skills he'll make sure his children learn to enter the workforce have nothing to do with tech

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    • 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.

    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.

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    Take a closer look:

    mark cuban shark socks

    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

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    • 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.


    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. 

    But Barbara Corcoran — real-estate mogul turned "Shark Tank" judge — said at IGNITION 2018 that women actually can have it all. It just won't happen all at the same time. 

    "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."

    Read more:Barbara Corcoran explains why she secretly 'couldn't wait' for Fridays — the day she fired people

    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."

    SEE ALSO: Barbara Corcoran asks a simple question on 'Shark Tank' to quickly understand if a business partnership will succeed

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    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.

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    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. 


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    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.

    [Audience laughs]

    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.

    [Audience laughs]

    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.

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    • 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. 

    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.

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