An American Airlines Passenger Was Stuck Next to a 'Screaming and Kicking' Toddler. His Stunning Reaction Went Viral

Imagine your happy place. Now, imagine that in order to get to your happy place, you first have to sit next to a screaming toddler in economy on American Airlines for a few hours.

(Related: We Took Our 2-Year-Old on United and JetBlue. Here’s What We Learned)

We’ve seen this kind of thing happen a lot lately–with bad results and viral videos. There’s the New York state employee who reportedly yelled at a baby on a Delta flight and lost her job (at least temporarily) as a result. There’s the flight attendant who simply kicked a passenger and a fussy toddler off a plane.

And there’s the guy whose response was to record a video of a screaming child on a flightpost it to YouTube, and bask in the social media notoriety.

But perhaps there’s another way to respond. And a passenger on American Airlines who made that choice recently, went viral himself as a result.

Meet Todd Walker, a father of two who just celebrated 30 years with his employer, and who flies as often as four times a month from Kansas City to North Carolina for work.

He’d boarded an American Airlines flight recently on that route, getting seat 33A toward the back of the plane, only to find that the passengers sitting next to him were a mom named Jessica Rudeen, and her two kids: four-month-old Alexander on her lap, and three-year-old Caroline.  

After some chaos in the boarding area, Rudeen hadn’t had a chance to feed the four-month-old–and he started reacting the way hungry four-year-olds are known to do. Then, her three-year-old daughter changed her mind about the whole idea of flying.

That meant Walker was about to get what we might call, “whole toddler experience.” I’ll let Rudeen herself describe the maelstrom, as she did in a post (embedded at the end of this article):

My 3 year old, who was excited before boarding the plane, lost her nerve and began screaming and kicking, ‘I want to get off the plane! I don’t want to go!’ I honestly thought we’d get kicked off the plane. So with two kids losing their minds, I was desperately trying to calm the situation. 

Walker responded in a way that seemed completely unremarkable to him, he told me in a phone conversation this weekend. He just decided to help. As Rudeen explained further, Walker…

reached for the baby and held him while I forced a seatbelt on Caroline, got her tablet and started her movie. Once she was settled and relatively calmed, he distracted her so that I could feed Alexander. Finally, while we were taxiing, the back of the plane no longer had screams. During the flight, he colored and watched a movie with Caroline, he engaged in conversation and showed her all the things outside.

By the end of the flight, he was Caroline’s best friend. I’m not sure if he caught the kiss she landed on his shoulder while they were looking out the window.

Walker also was on the same connecting flight in Charlotte that Rudeen planned to take. He walked her daughter through the terminal to the new gate, and then asked to have his seat reassigned to he could sit next to the family and help out on the second flight, too.

I talked with both Walker and Rudeen this weekend, after Rudeen’s Instagram/Facebook post–which she originally put up because she hadn’t gotten Walker’s last name or contact information, and wanted to connect with him again–got so much traction. As of this writing it has more than 5,000 shares, and it’s been featured in media around the world.

The Walker and Rudeen families say they think their meeting was a result of divine intervention, and that they plan to meet again next month.

“I wasn’t expecting it to get to places like Brazil or Ireland or Australia or the U.K.,” Rudeen told me. “I’m just a stay-at-home mom in northwest Arkansas. But, I’m glad that it highlights the importance of what it means to be kind.”

Walker said he hadn’t thought his conduct had been a big deal, either, and but he welcomed the attention if it inspires other people to offer help, or to notice kindness around them.

“When I walked away in Wilmington, I never thought I’d hear from or see them again,” he said, reiterating that it hadn’t seemed like a big deal to him to respond to the family with kindness.

He also praised Rudeen for being willing to admit she could use the assistance, even in a world where people often have good reason to be wary of strangers. “Part of the reason this worked is that Jessica was willing to accept the help. That’s not always the case today, and I get it.” 

Here’s Jessica Rudeen’s Facebook post:

China fund managers slash ZTE valuation after U.S. sanction

SHANGHAI (Reuters) – Chinese funds have slashed valuations of ZTE Corp after the United States banned American companies from selling components to the telecoms equipment maker for seven years, a move ZTE said threatened its very survival.

The logo of China’s ZTE Corp is seen on a building in Nanjing, Jiangsu province, China April 19, 2018. REUTERS/Stringer

The U.S. action last week was sparked by ZTE’s violation of an agreement reached after it was caught illegally shipping U.S. goods to Iran. American companies are estimated to provide 25-30 percent of the components used in ZTE’s equipment.

Chinese mutual fund managers cut the value of the stock in their portfolios by 20-30 percent in a spate of announcements over the weekend, a blow to ZTE that suspended trading in its mainland and Hong Kong shares on April 17.

Around 40 Chinese mutual funds have adjusted the valuation of ZTE in their portfolios since it suspended trading. In the latest batch, five fund managers revalued the stock on Saturday.

Huatai-PineBridege and GTJA Allianz cut their valuation of ZTE’s mainland shares to 25.05 yuan, 20 percent lower than its last trading price. JT Asset Management – the most pessimistic – slashed the valuation to around 30 percent below ZTE’s last close of 31.31 yuan ($4.98).

Several funds with exposure to ZTE’s Hong Kong shares, including HuaAn Fund and Harvest Fund, cut valuations to about 20 percent below the last trading price of HK$25.60 ($3.26).

ZTE, which had a market capitalization of about $20 billion before trading in its shares was suspended, did not respond to a request for comment on Monday.

FILE PHOTO: A ZTE smart phone is pictured in this illustration taken April 17, 2018. REUTERS/Carlo Allegri/Illustration/File Photo

The valuation adjustment by mutual funds could be just preliminary, as the real impact of the U.S. sanctions needs to be assessed continuously as the incident unfolds, said Reagan Li, investment manager at private fund house Shanghai V-Invest.

On Sunday, ZTE said it was “making active communications with relevant parties and seeking a solution to the U.S. export denial order”. Earlier, the U.S. Commerce Department said it would allow ZTE to submit more evidence related to the matter.

The threat to ZTE’s business has triggered a broad sell-off in technology shares as investors fear the sector could suffer from the fallout, or that other firms could be targeted by the United States amid escalating trade tensions.

Shares in display maker BOE Technology slumped as much as 6 percent on Monday, even after the firm said it had not received any official information regarding U.S. sanctions in response to rumors in the market that it would be targeted.

The CSI Information Technology index of Shanghai- and Shenzhen-listed tech firms fell 2 percent.

“Investors are asking: who will be next on the U.S. sanction list?” fund manager Li said.

Reporting by Samuel Shen and Adam Jourdan, additional reporting by Anne Marie Roantree in Hong Kong; Editing by Himani Sarkar

Toshiba eyes cancelling chip unit sale if no China approval by May: media

TOKYO (Reuters) – Japan’s Toshiba Corp has decided it will cancel the planned $18.6 billion sale of its memory chip unit if it does not get approval from China’s anti-monopoly regulator by May, the Mainichi newspaper said on Sunday.

The logo of Toshiba Corp is seen behind cherry blossoms at the company’s headquarters in Tokyo, Japan April 11, 2017. REUTERS/Toru Hanai

A consortium led by U.S. private equity firm Bain Capital last year won a long and highly contentious battle for the unit, which Toshiba put up for sale after billions of dollars in cost overruns at its Westinghouse nuclear unit plunged it into crisis.

But Toshiba was unable to complete the sale by the agreed deadline of March 31 as it was still waiting for approval from China’s antitrust authorities.

Toshiba raised $5.4 billion from a share issue to foreign investors late last year and it had now decided it did not need to go through with the sale, the Mainichi newspaper reported. It did not cite any source.

“Toshiba has come to a decision that there is little necessity for the sale as it is no longer in insolvency,” the newspaper reported, adding that Toshiba would consider listing the unit if the sale did not go ahead.

A Toshiba spokesman said the company was still aiming to complete the sale as soon as possible.

In early April, Toshiba Chief Executive Nobuaki Kurumatani said his company would not use the option of cancelling the sale unless there was any “major material change” in circumstances.

Reporting by Makiko Yamazaki, Kiyoshi Takenaka; Editing by Robert Birsel

4 Ways to Improve Your Blockchain Marketing

I squinted as I tried to make sense of the booth banner with paragraphs of size-9 font. “Do you understand this?” I asked a nearby colleague. “Nope” he replied. As I walked through the exhibit hall, talked to teams, and read pamphlets and one-pagers about the latest technologies, one thing was clear:

Blockchain companies need help with marketing. From confusing handouts to illegible booth banners, many of marketing materials I saw and received had the best intentions, but were in need of a revamp to truly help these companies shine.

Here are a few of the ways to stand out in the competitive world of blockchain:

1. Simplify your language.

“What does your company do?” I inquired at a booth. Five minutes later, my brain was overwhelmed with a series of buzzwords and industry jargon–and I still didn’t know what the company did.

And this company wasn’t the only one. Many companies I’ve talked to dive into the technical aspects of their product without breaking down what they offer in simple terms.

“Avoid exaggeration.” says David Wachsman, CEO of Wachsman PR. “Companies need to be able to plainly explain why blockchain and tokenization are critical to the long-term viability of their solutions. One should avoid hyperbole and explain exactly what the adoption of a new technology could do today instead of prognosticating how it could change the world in five years’ time.”

One exercise we use with blockchain clients is to tell them to imagine they are explaining their company to their grandparents or 7-year old siblings. This can help remove unnecessary industry jargon and deep technical terms. Once you have a pitch you feel comfortable with–get feedback from not only those in the industry, but see if your pitch excites someone who doesn’t have a technical background.

2. Stress key benefits in your pitch.

It’s important to stress the benefits of your product to demonstrate it’s value. Make a list of three to five benefits of your product and then see how you can incorporate this language in your pitch.

You can also start your pitch off by stating the industry problem and showing how your product is the solution. Instead of saying, “we’re a decentralized wallet” you can change the wording to highlight the benefit to consumers. “Consumer fraud is at an all time high, our wallet helps consumers stay protected while enjoying perks for using their card.”
In blockchain, industry jargon runs rampant. Focus on telling your story in simplistic terms that stresses the key benefits you offer to both potential investors and consumers of your product.

3. Invest in quality design.

Presentation matters. From your website to sales material, design is important. A great design not only positions your company as credible, but also can help you explain your company benefits in a visual way.

Though you might be on a budget, quality design is one component of your marketing strategy thing you shouldn’t skimp on. When evaluating designers, find one whose work is not only visually appealing, but also aligns with your branding guidelines.

It can take time to find a designer who aligns with your brand. I recommend hiring three to four designers for a small test project before committing to a larger website project or 30-page white paper design.

4. Put an emphasis on community building. 

Community building can help build strong relationships with partners and investors, as well as nurture advocates who can help tell your story. A engaged community can help widen the reach of your message but it takes time to build. “Highly engaged communities contribute real value.”  says Henry Liu, Chief of Investments at Yeoman’s Capital.

Treat everyone interested in your company as an important member of the community. From an active presence on Telegram to a community manager who responds to Reddit threads you can help answer questions and encourage others to share ideas.

Messaging that stresses company benefits, great design and engaged community members are the building blocks of a strong marketing program. ?

Japanese companies see big things in small-scale industrial robots

TOKYO (Reuters) – A two-armed robot in a Japanese factory carefully stacks rice balls in a box, which a worker carries off for shipment to convenience stores. At another food-packaging plant, a robot shakes pepper and powdered cheese over pasta that a person has just arranged in a container.

Kawasaki Heavy Industries’ collaborative robot stacks rice balls at Delicious Cook &Co’s food factory in Narashino, Japan, April 17, 2018. REUTERS/Toru Hanai

In a country known for bringing large-scale industrial robots to the factory floor, such relatively dainty machines have until recently been dismissed as niche and low-margin.

But as workforces age in Japan and elsewhere, collaborative robots – or “cobots” – are seen as a key way to help keep all types of assembly lines moving without replacing humans.

Japan’s Fanuc and Yaskawa Electric, two of the world’s largest robot manufacturers, didn’t see the shift coming. Now they are trying to catch up.

“We didn’t expect large manufacturers would want to use such robots, because those robots can lift only a light weight and have limited capabilities,” said Kazuo Hariki, an executive director at Fanuc.

Although still a small portion of a $40 billion industrial robot market, the cobots segment is set to grow over the next decade to more than $10 billion, by some estimates – several dozen times its current size.

The concept of a robot co-worker is relatively new. Danish company Universal Robots, founded in 2005, introduced cobots for industrial applications in late 2008, closely working with major German automakers such as Volkswagen (VOWG_p.DE).

At first, “a lot of people misunderstood what the cobot is,” said Universal Robots’ chief executive, Juergen von Hollen. But the machines quickly became popular in Europe because of their safety, simplicity and ability to directly assist human workers, he said.

Supported by Berlin’s “Industrie 4.0” strategy to promote smart factories, the likes of Kuka and Robert Bosch followed Universal Robots into the market in the early 2010s.

Slideshow (5 Images)

Relatively inexpensive and easy to operate, cobots are now used by companies of all sizes for small-batch manufacturing and simple processes.

In Japan, food maker Nippon Flour Mills uses a cobot made by Kawasaki Heavy Industries for seasoning packaged food sold at convenience stores.

“Labor costs are rising, with more intense competition to hire workers,” said Atsushi Honda, technology team manager at Nippon Flour’s plant engineering group.

Automating some tasks with machines that didn’t need to be separated from human employees helped the company solve that labor issue, he said.

A SLOW START

Industry analysts say Japanese robot makers, in addition to underestimating the appeal of cobots, were held back in their home market by government safety regulations.

Heavy industrial robots had to be fenced off from human contact. Robots that worked in closer proximity to people were limited in how powerful they could be.

The restrictions on cobots were relaxed in late 2013 to match international standards. Japanese robotmakers remained cautious at first, but are now trying to dash into the market.

Fanuc in February bought Life Robotics Inc, whose clients include Toyota Motor Corp and Omron Corp, for an undisclosed amount. It was the first acquisition in 15 years for Fanuc, known among investors for its huge cash pile. Rival Yaskawa Electric released its first cobot last year.

Both, however, lag far behind Universal Robots, which still has roughly 60 percent of the global market and is now owned by Teradyne, according to analysis firm BIS Research. Fanuc has 6 to 10 percent market share, and Yaskawa’s share is even smaller.

Yaskawa’s head of robotics, Masahiro Ogawa, said he was confident the company could grow as customers looked for more sophisticated models.

“As users get used to handling cobots, they will have more advanced and diverse demands. We have the capacity to better meet such demands,” Ogawa said.

Mitsubishi Electric Corp plans to launch a cobot early next year aimed at users such as electronics makers and logistics companies, said Katsutoshi Urabe, senior manager in charge of the company’s robot sales.

Kawasaki Heavy, another engineering giant that entered the market in 2015, tied up with Swiss rival ABB last year. The two companies plan to standardize cobot programming, said Tomonori Sanada, who is in charge of Kawasaki’s robot marketing and sales planning.

But Universal Robots’ von Hollen was unfazed by the interest of such heavyweights, saying the market would grow to accommodate new competitors.

His company, which reported a 72 percent jump in revenue to $170 million last year, expects to grow at least 50 percent in 2018.

“Probably only 10 percent of our target market really knows about collaborative robots,” he said. “So there is 90 percent potential that is gone untapped.”

Reporting by Makiko Yamazaki; editing by Gerry Doyle

PwC had cleared Facebook's privacy practices in leak period

(Reuters) – Facebook Inc’s privacy practices were cleared by auditing firm PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP in an assessment completed last year of the period in which data analytics consultancy Cambridge Analytica gained access to the personal data of millions of Facebook users.

FILE PHOTO: A 3D-printed Facebook logo is seen in front of displayed stock graph in this illustration photo, March 20, 2018. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/File Photo

Facebook had established and implemented a comprehensive privacy program and its privacy controls were operating with sufficient effectiveness to provide reasonable assurance to protect the privacy of covered information, PwC said in a report submitted to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) dated December 2017 on the FTC website.

The report was an assessment of the period from Feb. 12, 2015 to Feb. 11, 2017.

The Wall Street Journal earlier reported on Thursday on the PwC assessment submitted to the FTC. PwC declined to comment when contacted by Reuters.

Facebook has been under scrutiny from lawmakers across the world since disclosing that the personal information of 87 million Facebook users wrongly ended up in the hands of Cambridge Analytica, a Britain-based firm hired by Donald Trump for his 2016 U.S. presidential election campaign.

“We remain strongly committed to protecting people’s information. We appreciate the opportunity to answer questions the FTC may have,” Facebook Deputy Chief Privacy Officer Rob Sherman told Reuters in an emailed statement on Thursday.

Facebook Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg appeared for hearings in front of U.S. lawmakers last week and is currently facing pressure from European Union lawmakers to come to Europe and shed light on the data breach involving Cambridge Analytica.

Reporting by Kanishka Singh in Bengaluru; Editing by Amrutha Gayathri

Mexico's top court sides with America Movil, says Telmex can charge rivals

MEXICO CITY (Reuters) – America Movil’s fixed-line unit Telmex said on Wednesday that the nation’s supreme court has sided with it and ruled the firm should not be barred from charging rivals for calls to its network.

The logo of America Movill is seen on the wall at the company’s corporate offices in Mexico City, Mexico March 14, 2018. REUTERS/Carlos Jasso

The decision follows a similar ruling from the Supreme Court in August that opened the door for America Movil’s mobile unit Telcel to begin charging its rivals for use of its network.

The rulings weaken a key pillar of a 2014 telecommunications reform intended to loosen billionaire Carlos Slim’s grip on a market he has dominated since taking control of former state phone monopoly Telmex in the 1990s.

Mexico’s Federal Institute of Telecommunications (IFT) will set the rates, which will become effective on Jan. 1, 2019, Telmex said.

A spokeswoman for the IFT did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The IFT ruled in November that America Movil could resume charging local rivals for mobile calls to its network.

In March, the IFT approved a plan to separate part of America Movil’s fixed-line units into new companies, after about a year of discussion. America Movil submitted a plan for the separation this month, which is intended to open up its infrastructure to competitors.

Telmex held about 62 percent of Mexico’s fixed-lines as of the third quarter 2017, according to IFT data.

Reporting by Anthony Esposito and Julia Love; Editing by Himani Sarkar

Uber picks VMware's Zane Rowe as CFO: Bloomberg

(Reuters) – Uber Technologies Inc [UBER.UL] has picked VMware Inc’s (VMW.N) Zane Rowe as the top candidate for chief financial officer to lead preparations for the ride-hailing company’s initial public offering in 2019, Bloomberg reported on Wednesday.

The logo of Uber is pictured during the presentation of their new security measures in Mexico City, Mexico April 10, 2018. REUTERS/Ginnette Riquelme

The Silicon Valley startup is in advanced talks with Rowe, who is currently CFO at VMware, Bloomberg reported, citing people familiar with the matter.

An agreement has not been finalized yet and talks could still fall through, Bloomberg said citing one of the sources.

Uber’s board of directors has agreed to take the company public in 2019 and is searching for a chief financial officer to lead this effort. The position has been vacant since 2015.

VMware declined to comment. Uber was not immediately available for comment outside regular U.S. business hours.

Reporting by Subrat Patnaik in Bengaluru; Editing by Sunil Nair

Facebook says users must accept targeted ads even under new EU law

MENLO PARK, Calif. (Reuters) – Facebook Inc (FB.O) said on Tuesday it would continue requiring people to accept targeted ads as a condition of using its service, a stance that may help keep its business model largely intact despite a new European Union privacy law.

FILE PHOTO: Silhouettes of mobile users are seen next to a screen projection of Facebook logo in this picture illustration taken March 28, 2018. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration/File Photo

The EU law, which takes effect next month, promises the biggest shakeup in online privacy since the birth of the internet. Companies face fines if they collect or use personal information without permission.

Facebook Deputy Chief Privacy Officer Rob Sherman said the social network would begin seeking Europeans’ permission this week for a variety of ways Facebook uses their data, but he said that opting out of targeted marketing altogether would not be possible.

“Facebook is an advertising-supported service,” Sherman said in a briefing with reporters at Facebook’s headquarters.

FILE PHOTO: Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg testifies before a House Energy and Commerce Committee hearing regarding the company’s use and protection of user data on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC, U.S., April 11, 2018. REUTERS/Aaron P. Bernstein/File Photo

Facebook users will be able to limit the kinds of data that advertisers use to target their pitches, he added, but “all ads on Facebook are targeted to some extent, and that’s true for offline advertising, as well.”

Facebook, the world’s largest social media network, will use what are known as “permission screens” – pages filled with text that require pressing a button to advance – to notify and obtain approval.

The screens will show up on the Facebook website and smartphone app in Europe this week and globally in the coming months, Sherman said.

The screens will not give Facebook users the option to hit “decline.” Instead, they will guide users to either “accept and continue” or “manage data setting,” according to copies the company showed reporters on Tuesday.

“People can choose to not be on Facebook if they want,” Sherman said.

Regulators, investors and privacy advocates are closely watching how Facebook plans to comply with the EU law, not only because Facebook has been embroiled in a privacy scandal but also because other companies may follow its lead in trying to limit the impact of opt-outs.

Last month, Facebook disclosed that the personal information of millions of users, mostly in the United States, had wrongly ended up in the hands of political consultancy Cambridge Analytica, leading to U.S. congressional hearings and worldwide scrutiny of Facebook’s commitment to privacy.

Facebook Chief Financial Officer David Wehner warned in February the company could see a drop-off in usage due to the EU law, known as the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).

Reporting by David Ingram; Editing by Greg Mitchell and Lisa Shumaker

Why Netflix Stock Jumped as Much as 8% to an (Almost) All-Time High

Growth at big companies chasing mature markets is supposed to slow down. Think about wireless phones or cable TV. But that rule doesn’t seem to apply to Netflix, at least not yet.

Even after more than 20 years in business, the world’s biggest streaming video service experienced some of its fastest growth ever in the first quarter, helping to give its stock a big lift.

Netflix shares, which hit an all-time high of $333.98 last month before selling off in the recent stock market decline, jumped as much as 8% in after hours trading on Monday. That put the stock price just pennies below the all-time high. But as CEO Reed Hastings and other executives answered an analysts’ questions on one of Netflix’s famously dull quarterly calls for investors, the after hours gain shrunk to a 5% gain to $324.32.

Netflix’s overall revenue increased 40% to $3.7 billion in the quarter, but excluding the aging DVD rental business, streaming video service revenue rose 43% to $3.6 billion, the company’s fastest quarterly growth rate ever, Netflix said. That was due to the combination of adding 7.4 million new subscribers, the most ever for Netflix in a first quarter, plus the price hikes the company pushed through last year, leading to a 14% increase in the average monthly subscription price.

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Investors and analysts were most impressed by the subscriber gains, which came in well ahead of the company’s own forecasts. Netflix added 1.96 million new members in the United States, after forecasting a gain of 1.45 million, and another 5.46 million in other countries, after forecasting 4.9 million. Netflix’s forecasts for the second quarter for subscriber and revenue growth were also better than analysts expected.

“We think investors will likely push NFLX stock higher after this earnings report,” UBS analyst Eric Sheridan wrote after the results came out. “We see investors focused on the widening moat that NFLX is creating with its business (faster subscriber growth on the back of original content push).”

Netflix’s head of programming, Ted Sarandos, did use the call Monday evening to shoot down one frequent rumor about the company, while declining to address another.

“Our move into news has been misreported over and over again and we’re not looking to expand into news beyond the work that we’re doing in short form and long form feature documentaries,” he said, when asked about rumors of a bigger push into news.

Recent talk shows from the likes of David Letterman should be considered entertainment, not news, he stressed. “David Letterman is a great talk show host—not a newscaster,” Sarandos said.

And about those rumors that former president Barack Obama or his wife Michelle is in talks to host such a show?

“I can’t comment on the Obamas or any other deals that would be in various states of negotiation right now,” he replied.

CEO Hastings was also asked whether the data privacy problems hounding Facebook (fb) and other tech companies could hurt Netflix (nflx), particularly if new laws limited data collection. Last week, some members of Congress raised the possibility during hearings in which Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg testified about his company’s data collection and data sharing practices.

“Well, I’m very glad that we built the business not to be ad-supported,” he said. “I think we’re substantially inoculated from the other issues that are happening in the industry…Just objectively, we’re much more of a media company in that way than pure tech. Of course we want to be great at both but, again, we’re really pretty different from the pure tech companies.”