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Photo: Flatiron School
Amid a political uprising against student debt, some colleges and skills schools are offering a tuition scheme in which students commit to paying a fixed percentage of their after-graduation salary for five or more years.
What's happening: The system, called "Income Share Agreements," responds to what many experts call a student debt crisis: Some 44 million Americans now owe about $1.5 trillion, and most of the Democratic presidential candidates are calling for some form of free college or trade school and debt forgiveness.
Driving the news: In an announcement today, the Flatiron School, a data boot camp owned by WeWork, said it will fund $100 million in ISAs to future students. Offered in WeWork offices and in online versions, Flatiron courses cost $15,000 in tuition.
Background: The idea of promising a portion of your future income as a form of investment in your potential goes back to 1945, and a book by Nobel laureate economists Milton Friedman and Simon Kuznets. Many experts call student loan programs a favorable aspect of the U.S. higher education system since they allow students to go as far as they can academically, all the way through a world-class doctorate.
The bottom line: ISAs are not the answer to the student debt problem. In a vocational school such as the boot camps, they offer financing for students who cannot afford to pay monthly. Experts say that, in most cases, loans are still the best option for financing college. "Because ISAs are a shiny object, it doesn't mean they are the best option," Carey said.
Screenshot from uae.souq.com.
Just days after exiting China, Amazon has spotted an open lane in another populous part of the world: the Middle East.
Erica writes: Analysts and Amazon executives don't often cite the Middle East as a region the behemoth hopes to crack, focusing instead on India, Brazil and China. But Arab countries are filled with millions of potential new Prime members — and there's little local competition to contend with.
The big picture: Amazon fumbled in China because it underinvested and fell to homegrown rivals Alibaba and JD.com. And while the company's North America business has boomed, international sales have been comparatively weak, growing just 9% between the first quarters of 2018 and 2019.
The Middle East has the potential to help Amazon boost that growth, experts say.
What's happening: Two years ago, Amazon bought Souq.com, the Arab world's largest e-commerce platform. Yesterday, it rebranded Souq.com as Amazon.ae. The company also announced that it is setting up shop in Israel.
The bottom line: Amazon is now in more than 60 countries. It already has 1.2 billion users, which makes it the biggest online marketplace in the world.
Photo: Mike Kemp/In Pictures Ltd./Corbis/Getty
In a daze, we're being nudged, prodded and pulled every which way by powerful companies that have learned our preferences, habits and basest desires.
Kaveh writes: In a new podcast called "Sleepwalkers," co-hosts Oz Woloshyn and Karah Preiss try to open our eyes to these hidden forces.
Among the examples in the episode:
The podcast's name is an allusion to how great powers wandered blindly into World War I, Woloshyn tells Axios, without regard for the huge technological shifts that would turn it into one of the deadliest conflicts in history.
Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios
Richard Pike. Photo: David Wolff-Patrick/WireImage/Getty
On a recent hunt for a new soundtrack to work to, I shuffled through a curated playlist of ambient music. I looked up at one point to see what I was listening to — it was an artist called DEEP LEARNING, Kaveh writes.
That's the name of a popular machine learning technique — not usually the fodder of musicians and their work. But here I was, listening to tracks like "Deepfake" and "Softbody Test" off an album named "Dataverse."
These atmospheric songs aren't composed with AI — they're good old-fashioned human-made electronic tracks.