Is Uber’s future a history lesson?

Uber implements hiring freeze

Uber, having gone public in May, has enough cash, $13.7 billion, to continue losing money for two years. The company has never been profitable and has warned that it may never be. The company recently trimmed one third of its marketing staff and has announced a hiring freeze for technical employees. Gizmodo

dis-rup-shun: Can a company that never earns a profit be a success? Uber has successfully changed the world of transportation, has successfully raised $8.1 billion in its public offering, rewarding its investors, and has experimented with new business concepts such as food delivery, helicopter taxis, scooter sharing and is betting on driverless cars. Like a hurricane, the company is a destructive force that reshapes the landscape forever, but may be a passing phenomena whose future is relegated to history lessons. Now the race is on to see if management can generate a profit, lest the company be only a grand experiment.

Roku a rising star in the turbulent streaming video market

Netflix is now facing a number of well-funded competitors in Disney, Comcast, Apple and AT&T who are competing for a slice of the household streaming subscription budget. Roku, a company aggregating access to many streaming and related video services, earns a fee from initial purchases as well as a small revenue share from services it offers to the 36% of connected homes that it serves. CNBC

dis-rup-shun: If streaming services such as Netflix are analogous to TV networks in the old TV world, only without advertising revenues, then Roku is analogous to cable TV, only without subscription fees. That is, the networks have to pay a carriage fee to Roku to gain access to connected homes. Unlike the streamers, Roku is not locked into a difficult battle to create unique (and costly) original content.

Smaller cities fighting against brain drain

Small towns are fighting the brain drain of tech jobs to large cities. Despite the conveniences and efficiencies of remote work afforded by the Internet, wage disparities between jobs in large cities and small has increased, leading states such as Vermont to devise a number of incentives, including relocation allowances and co-working office space, to attract workers to smaller towns. Wired

dis-rup-shun: In a decade of flat wages and growing inflation, the attraction of better salaries continues despite a shortage of housing, difficult commutes, and higher crime rates. Companies catering to urban conglomeration, such as WeWork, are enjoying high valuations, but expect the pendulum to swing away from denser living as Generation Z, larger than Millenials or Baby Boomers, reaches a tipping point of high living costs.

5G hype alert: no 5G in iPhone 11

5G, the next generation of wireless technology, will be a game changer for the Internet of Things movement. But the game won’t be changing for at least a year. Apple has announced that 5G, unlike Samsung, will not be a feature of its next generation of phones, as 5G networks simply aren’t ready. ZDNet

dis-rup-shun: In a time when people hold on to expensive smartphones for three or more years, the decision not to support 5G gets more interesting. Perhaps Apple is counting on the widespread deployment of 5G networks, expected in 12 to 18 months, to create high demand for the model after next, and spur sluggish sales, as chances of Android models with 5G winning iPhone owners are small.

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