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‘The Art Of Her Deal’ Aims To Show Melania Trump As An Influential Collaborator

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The Art of Her Deal: The Untold Story of Melania Trump, by Mary Jordan Simon & Schuster hide caption

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Simon & Schuster

From the outside, Melania Trump looks like a woman in over her tastefully balayaged head. At public events, she rarely speaks, but assumes the rictus smolder — like a model who has just spotted a lion over the photographer’s shoulder — that inspired a thousand #freemelania signs.

A new, scrupulously reported biography by Washington Post reporter Mary Jordan counters this perception, arguing that the first lady is not a pawn but a player, an accessory in the second as much as the first sense, and a woman able to get what she wants from one of the most powerful and transparently vain men in the world. The book is called The Art of Her Deal.

For this book, Jordan interviewed more than a hundred people, including Melania’s Slovenian childhood acquaintances, staff members at Donald Trump’s properties, players in the New York and Paris modeling world, and one-time Trump insiders like Chris Christie, Roger Stone, and Anthony Scaramucci. She also spoke briefly to the first lady herself in the course of her reporting on the 2016 election. The result is a convincing case that those “who dismiss her as nothing more than an accessory do not understand her or her influence.”

Make no mistake: Beauty is the first line in the job description. As Women’s Wear Daily reported, Melania was asked in 2005 if she would be with Donald Trump if he were not rich. “If I weren’t beautiful,” she replied, “do you think he’d be with me?” That stinging, cynical answer seemed to capture the essence of their exchange: money for beauty, beauty for money.

But in the years since, Melania has had to offer much more than her looks: She has endured a presidential campaign, the humiliations of Stormy Daniels and the Access Hollywood Tape, and the daily demands of life in the White House.

Throughout these trials, Jordan characterizes Melania as a canny operator who believed “she had more to gain by standing by her husband than walking away.” Jordan writes that after Trump was accused of infidelity and assault, Melania used the fact that he needed her public loyalty and presence in Washington to negotiate a better prenuptial agreement. Melania referred to this process as “taking care of Barron.” Jordan reports that she was worried that their son Barron would not be treated as well as Trump’s other children. (As Jordan points out, this was perhaps for good reason — Trump has at least once seemed to forget Barron was his, saying of Melania at a 2019 press briefing, “She’s got a son”).

Melania has also influenced key policy decisions, mostly having to do with children: She pushed back against child separation at the border, and advocated for harsher rules about marketing e-cigarettes to minors.

In the course of her reporting, Jordan finds that Donald Trump is not the only mythmaker in the family. She investigates, for instance, Melania’s suggestion that she speaks, in addition to English and Slovenian, French, Italian, and German. Jordan concludes that, like Melania’s claim to have graduated from university in Slovenia, that section of her CV is likely fabricated or at least seriously exaggerated.

But The Art of Her Deal offers few scoops in the conventional sense; its major contribution is merely the insistence that Melania is a real person with complicated motivations. This point should be obvious: Isn’t everybody, in and out of the White House, complex, striving, conflicted, out for something? The flattening effect of political discourse, the special insipidity of the first lady role, and Melania’s own particular remoteness have allowed us either to forget that she has an inner life, or to imagine her an elegant prisoner.

Women in public life, from Hillary Clinton to Princess Diana, have a way of crystallizing attitudes about women more broadly. Melania speaks rarely and haltingly, and her face expresses emotion only through the narrowing and widening of flame-blue eyes. When she speaks, the planes of her face remain utterly undisturbed. Because of this ruthless blankness, she is better suited than almost any other woman in public to be a projecting screen. Which makes it worth asking: What is it in us that prefers a captive to a collaborator?

Source: https://www.npr.org/2020/06/14/876640546/the-art-of-her-deal-aims-to-show-melania-trump-as-an-influential-collaborator?utm_medium=RSS&utm_campaign=news

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Security and Sustainability Forum-With Hazel Henderson and Claudine Schneider. 10/22/2020

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Steering Societies Beyond GDP to the SDGs

With Hazel Henderson and Claudine Schneider

October 22, 2020

1:15 pm to 2:15 pm EDT

The next webinar in the SSF series, with ecological economist and futurist Hazel Henderson, will address how the UN SDGs can and should replace GDP as the basis for valuing society leading to an economy based on planet protection and human wellbeing. Claudine Schneider is Hazel’s guest.

GDP accounts for all the public expenditures as “debt” while ignoring the value of the assets they created. If GDP were to be corrected by including the missing asset account, these debt-to-GDP ratios would be cut by up to 50% — with a few keystrokes! Learn why money isn’t what you think it is and why that matters to life on Earth in the next two webinars with Hazel and guests.

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Claudine Schneider is a former Republican U.S. representative from Rhode Island. She was the first, and to date only, woman elected to Congress from Rhode Island. She is founder of Republicans for Integrity, which describes itself as a network of “Republican former Members of Congress who feel compelled to remind Republican voters about the fundamentals of our party and to provide the facts about incumbents’ voting records.”

October 22nd webinar with Claudine Schneider and Hazel

Sincerely,

Ed.

Edward Saltzberg, PhD

Executive Director

Security and Sustainability Forum

www.ssfonline.org

[email protected]

Sincerely,

Ed.

Edward Saltzberg, PhD

Executive Director

Security and Sustainability Forum

www.ssfonline.org

Source: https://www.ethicalmarkets.com/63564-2/

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The Briefing: RVShare raises over $100M, Google disputes charges, and more

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Here’s what you need to know today in startup and venture news, updated by the Crunchbase News staff throughout the day to keep you in the know.

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RVShare raises over $100M for RV rentals

RVShare, an online marketplace for RV rentals, reportedly raised over $100 million in a financing led by private equity firms KKR and Tritium Partners.

Akron, Ohio-based RVShare has seen sharp growth in demand amid the pandemic, as more would-be travelers seek socially distanced options for hitting the road. Founded in 2013, the company matches RV owners with prospective renters, filtering by location, price and vehicle types.

Previously, RVShare had raised $50 million in known funding, per Crunchbase data, from Tritium Partners. The company is one of several players in the RV rental space, and competes alongside Outdoorsy, a peer-to-peer RV marketplace that has raised $75 million in venture funding.

Funding news

  • BrightFarms closes on $100M: Indoor farming company BrightFarms said it secured more than $100 million in debt and new equity capital to support expansion plans. The Series E round of funding was led by Cox Enterprises, which now owns a majority stake in the company, and includes a follow-on investment from growth equity firm Catalyst Investors.
  • Anyscale inks $40MAnyscale, the Berkeley-based company behind the Ray open source project for building applications, announced $40 million in an oversubscribed Series B funding round. Existing investor NEA led the round and was joined by Andreessen Horowitz, Intel Capital and Foundation Capital. The new funding brings Anyscale’s total funding to more than $60 million.
  • Klar deposits $15M: Mexican fintech Klar closed on $15 million in Series A funding, led by Prosus Ventures, with participation from new investor International Finance Corporation and existing investors Quona Capital, Mouro Capital and Acrew. The round brings total funding raised to approximately $72 million since the company was founded in 2019. The funds are intended to grow Klar’s engineering capabilities in both its Berlin and Mexico hubs.
  • O(1) Labs rakes in $10.9M: O(1) Labs, the team behind the cryptocurrency Mina, announced $10.9 million in a strategic investment round. Co-leading the round are Bixin Ventures and Three Arrows Capital with participation from SNZ, HashKey Capital, Signum Capital, NGC Ventures, Fenbushi Capital and IOSG Ventures.
  • Blustream bags $3M: After-sale customer engagement company Blustream said it raised $3 million in seed funding for product usage data and digital transformation efforts for physical goods companies via the Blustream Product Experience Platform. York IE led the round of funding for the Worcester, Massachusetts-based company with additional support from existing investors.Pillar secures another $1.5M: Pillar, a startup that helps families protect and care for their loved ones, raised $1.5 million in a seed extension to close at $7 million, The round was led by Kleiner Perkins.

Other news

  • Google rejects DOJ antitrust arguments: In the wake of a widely anticipated U.S. Justice Department antitrust suit against Google, the search giant disputed the charges in a statement, maintaining that: “People use Google because they choose to, not because they’re forced to, or because they can’t find alternatives.”
  • Facebook said to test Nextdoor rival: Facebook is reportedly testing a service similar to popular neighborhood-focused social Nextdoor. Called Neighborhoods, the feature reportedly suggests local neighborhood groups to join on Facebook.

Illustration: Dom Guzman

Venture investors and leaders in the fintech space can visualize a future where such startups will move toward again rebundling services.

Root Inc., the parent company of Root Insurance, launched its initial public offering and is looking at a valuation of as much as $6.34 billion.

Clover Health posted rising revenues and a narrower loss in its most recent financial results, published in advance of a planned public market debut.

Crunchbase News’ top picks of the news to stay current in the VC and startup world.

Source: https://news.crunchbase.com/news/briefing-10-21-20/

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Syte Sees $30M Series C For Product Discovery

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Online shopping has become the norm for most people in 2020, even coaxing traditional retail brands to up their presence to stay competitive. However, now that shoppers can’t see and touch products like they used to, e-commerce discovery has become a crucial element for customer acquisition and retention.

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Enter Syte, an Israel-based company that touts creating the world’s first product discovery platform that utilizes the senses, such as visual, text and voice, and then leverages visual artificial intelligence and next-generation personalization to create individualized and memorable customer experiences, Syte co-founder and CEO Ofer Fryman told Crunchbase News.

To execute on this, the company raised $30 million in Series C funding and an additional $10 million in debt. Viola Ventures led the round and was joined by LG Technology Ventures, La Maison, MizMaa Ventures and Kreos Capital, as well as existing investors Magma, Naver Corporation, Commerce Ventures, Storm Ventures, Axess Ventures, Remagine Media Ventures and KDS Media Fund.

This brings the company’s total fundraising to $71 million since its inception in 2015. That includes a $21.5 million Series B, also led by Viola, in 2019, according to Crunchbase data.

Fryman intends for the new funding to be put to work on product enhancements and geographic expansion. Syte already has an established customer base in Europe, the Middle East and Africa, and will now focus expansion in the U.S. and Asia-Pacific.

Meanwhile, Syte has grown 22 percent quarter over quarter, as well as experienced a 38 percent expansion of its customer base since the beginning of 2020.

“Since we crossed $1 million annual recurring revenue, we have been tripling revenue while also becoming more efficient,” Fryman said. “We can accelerate growth as well as build an amazing technology and solution for a business that needs it right now. We plan to grow further, and even though our SaaS metrics are excellent right now, our goal is to improve them.”

Anshul Agarwal, managing director at LG Technology Ventures, said Syte was an attractive investment due in part to its unique technology.

“They have a deep-learning system and have created a new category, product discovery that will enable online shopping in a way we never had the ability to do before,” Agarwal said. “The product market fit was also unique. We believe in the strong execution by the team and the rapid growth in SaaS. We looked at many different companies, and the SaaS metrics that Syte showed are the strongest we’ve seen in a while.”

Illustration: Li-Anne Dias

Venture investors and leaders in the fintech space can visualize a future where such startups will move toward again rebundling services.

Root Inc., the parent company of Root Insurance, launched its initial public offering and is looking at a valuation of as much as $6.34 billion.

Clover Health posted rising revenues and a narrower loss in its most recent financial results, published in advance of a planned public market debut.

Crunchbase News’ top picks of the news to stay current in the VC and startup world.

Source: https://news.crunchbase.com/news/syte-sees-30m-series-c-for-product-discovery/

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