Zillow CEO cites the beginning of real estate reshuffling
In an earnings call, Zillow CEO Rich Barton stated that the uncertainty of the duration of the pandemic, combined with indefinite work from home policies by many companies, has initiated a reshuffling of real estate. Major trends include expanding room to work at home with additional privacy, valuing outdoor spaces including yards and courtyards, and fleeing large, expensive cities. CNBC
dis-rup-shun: Research by Interpret shows a significant uptick in purchases of TVs and digital entertainment devices during COVID-19. Understandably, people are investing more in their home lives and making repairs and improvements. Barton believes that these trends will last beyond the next few months, signaling a significant shift in living trends. Life in large cities has been arguably more pleasant, with roads less crowded, air less polluted, and fewer people in public places. The question is, ten years from now, will we see 2020 as the year that city planning and home plans changed, as people spent more time in home offices, kitchens, walking in the neighborhood and enjoying their patios and yards?
Packaging as a service
The pandemic has caused online shopping to surge, straining logistics providers and significantly increasing the amount of packaging waste. Enter LivingPackets and The Box, a container intended to be reused hundreds of times, and packed with intelligence that notifies the shipper and receiver of its whereabouts, its contents, and if it has been opened or tampered with. TechCrunch
dis-rup-shun: Smart packaging already makes sense for high value contents, and a number of companies have created packaging with inexpensive sensors. Cheap sensors in a box can be tossed, assisting with security but not with reuse. LivingPackets will have to convince shippers that the costs of maintaining The Box are less than the costs of disposable packaging plus loss claims. For high volume customers who can return the boxes easily when the next shipment arrives, it may make sense.
Interview with Bill Gates: this will be over in 2021
Bill Gates, in a lengthy interview with Wired, expresses optimism that COVID-19 disruption, for rich nations, will be over by the end of 2021. For poorer nations, it will take another year, and it will take several years to recover from the economic damage done by the pandemic. Gates states that the innovation of drug companies will shorten what otherwise would be a five year run before the global population builds natural immunity.
dis-rup-shun: Gates’ ability to cut through the media noise to deliver straight facts is a breath of fresh air, and knowing that Gates has invested essentially all of his wealth, time and talent into making the world a healthier place is inspiring. May his friends Mr. Bezos, Zuckerberg and Musk follow in his footsteps as they become the elder statesmen of tech.
Streaming wars hit tipping point in Q2
The streaming video providers all had a blockbuster second quarter. The pandemic has buoyed old and new services alike, and the question is what is the long term outlook for consumers and how many services will the average household keep after the shelter in place timeframe? Disney + service is several years ahead of growth projections. Netflix subscriptions surged by 10 million new additions. ViacomCBS’ new ad-supported, free to consumers service sold ample advertisements, and NBCUniversal’s new Peacock service signed up 10 million new subs. CNBC
dis-rup-shun: Speaking of reshuffling, the pandemic has resulted in consumers taking more action on adjusting their TV spending to provide what they want and when. The big question is how will the return of live sports impact the time and money spent on streaming services, as the hours of viewing time freed up by the absence of live sports has driven, to a large extent, the pursuit of original content.