Europeans to clean up space garbage

Europeans send giant claw to clean outer space

It is estimated that over 3,000 dead satellites are orbiting Earth along with 900,000 pieces of space debris. The European Space Agency is building a large claw that will be sent to space to reach out and extract space junk. The device will launch in 2025 and will be for hire — being commissioned by those that need to clear a path in space. CNET

dis-rup-shun: All of these space junk items are potentially deadly to useful satellites and space craft, meaning that avoiding the debris or cleaning it up is critical to the burgeoning space travel industry. Good for the Europeans for again taking the lead on an important technology priority!

Amazon Eero a good fix for crummy Wi-Fi

As the world is acutely aware of the quality of home Wi-Fi, as it is the lifeline to entertainment, communications, school and work, we find that we are often paying for speeds that we rarely receive. Amazon’s Eero Pro 6 mesh router system is an expensive ($599) but likely quick fix to Wi-Fi pains. CNBC

dis-rup-shun: Many households have been the sheltering place for previously launched family members, having returned for home cooking and rent-free living — hopefully with remote jobs intact. These squatters tend to complain profusely when Wi-Fi access is less than stellar and a mesh router may be worth it to quell the insults.

Good things to know if you are thinking about a new TV

For those considering a new TV for the holiday season, and not sure what to consider when faced with a myriad of options and price points, CNBC’s TV buying cheat sheet is very useful. First, decide if you are looking for a solid upgrade to a new TV, or one that will be state of the art at least for a few years. OLED vs. LCD, UHD vs. 4K and Roku vs. Samsung are a few decisions to consider first.

dis-rup-shun: The advantage and disadvantage of great new TV features is that whatever you buy, it will be obsolete in three to six years, depending on how much leading edge technology you wish to reach for. A tougher decision is if you should buy a TV that has Roku or FireTV software already built-in or not. In four years, the TV experience will likely be very different, so buying a good but less expensive TV that you can upgrade in four years is a good plan.

Realme is 7th largest smartphone brand

Realme becomes seventh largest smartphone brand

China’s Realme smartphone brand was launched in 2018 by Sky Li, a former Oppo executive who determined that 18 to 25 year old  were underserved by the established smartphone brands. He launched the brand by producing live rap events at college campuses in India. The new brand has sold more than 50 million handsets, mostly in India and China. TechCrunch

dis-rup-shun: The stories of marketing visionaries continues to amaze — seeing opportunities where others do not. It is the story of Ross Perot and EDS, of Apple’s early days, of countless fashion companies, of Nintendo, Tesla and Pepsi. Understanding consumers well enough to understand the marketing messages that most resonate with them results in grabbing market share from the incumbent providers, keeping the global economies vibrant, and creating new wealth.

Tech companies rush to IPO in late COVID period

The days of COVID-19 may be numbered, and a slue of tech companies that have thrived during the pandemic are lining up for an end of year public offering. The companies on deck include AirBnB, DoorDash, Affirm, Roblox, and Wish.

dis-rup-shun: The market is seeing near record breaking highs despite a spike in COVID across the U.S. With vaccines on the horizon, but not likely to be distributed for three to six months, companies that are capitalizing on the pandemic, providing services that are particularly important to a sheltered public must act quickly before they determine demnad in a post pandemic economy.

Understanding self-driving cars

To understand autonomous cars, one has to determine the level of autonomy being offered. Level 4 is a state in which we can choose to drive or sit and watch, whereas Level 5 is a state in which we don’t have the option to drive. As we move toward the Level 5 experience, we need to understand what’s offered today and what is next. The Society of Automotive Engineers has offered this following guide to understand the evolution of autonomy.

SAE levels of driving automationdis-rup-shun: Not only safety, but economics are tied to each level of autonomy. Hailing a driverless car via app or smart speaker likely relieves us of the burden of owning a car, but rather subscribing to a ride service. It seems logical that Amazon’s car service can pick us up moments after we ask Alexa to find a ride. Similarly, Apple and Google, who know where we are (or at least where our smartphones are) at any given moment will make certain that a car is nearby so that with a tap of the app, the car pulls up as we are ready. With our daily routines stored in their cloud, these tech giants will, with 90% accuracy, know when we want a car versus when we wish to walk.

The best smart thermostats

Smart thermostats arguably were the catalysts for the popularity of smart home products. As extensions of your smartphone, these devices not only increase convenience, but increase efficiency — saving your HVAC systems from running needlessly and ultimately saving money and energy. While the category leader was once Nest, CNET cites Ecobee as the top player, followed by Nest, and Resideo’s Honeywell.

dis-rup-shun: According to Interpret’s smart home market research, smart thermostats are now owned by 12% of U.S. consumers. While most people like the idea of saving energy, the increase in comfort and convenience, including easy integration with Google Nest Home or Alexa-powered devices, makes owning a smart thermostat a very simple, basic necessity. Consider a retrofit of your home thermostats as a smart holiday activity.


Amazon’s pharmacy is about to shake up the drug biz

Amazon Pharmacy has landed

Amazon announced Amazon Pharmacy — a service that will deliver subscriptions to your door. Prime members will receive free shipping and discounts of up to 80% on generics. Shares of Walgreens-Boots Alliance, CVS, Rite-Aid, and GoodRx tumbled on the announcement. CNBC

dis-rup-shun: Remember when Walmart was the company that caught all the attention for wrecking existing businesses? Amazon Pharmacy will take a bit bite out of the established pharmacy business, and to Amazon’s credit, where were the big pushes by CVS, Walgreens, Rite-Aid and others to nail down the direct-to-consumer business over the past couple of years? Expect Amazon to gobble up a significant share of the prescription business over the next year.

Apple blinks

The battle between Apple and many other software firms that don’t want to pay the App Store tax of 30% took an interesting turn when Apple announced that it was halving its take on transactions to 15% for companies grossing less than $1 million. CNBC

dis-rup-shun: If this small gesture is expected to mollify the likes of Facebook, Epic Games, Spotify, or the U.S. Justice Department, Apple will be disappointed. The issue at hand is whether or not the two app stores constitute a duopoly. But all sales channels charge a percentage of sales, so where does the DOJ draw the line? The fact that Apple is making some moves on its own may signal that the company wants to get in front of legislative actions.

Work from Home must be done correctly, says Harvard Professor

Professor (Raj) Choudhury has been studying remote organizations since before the pandemic. He says that in order for a company to properly implement a remote model, it must: i., seek the best talent wherever they are, and allow them to work wherever they wish, ii., not implement work from home models primarily to save in real estate costs, iii, must decentralize the C-suite, lest middle managers congregate in a physical office to get their share of face time, iv., stop measuring performance based on inputs of time, but, instead, on results. CNBC

dis-rup-shun: Many companies have been virtual for many years, and have stopped thinking about locations as being key to their culture. If the best people make the best businesses, then they will thrive wherever they are. The post-COVID world will find a number of stodgy, office-centric companies trying to reinvent their culture into a “work anywhere” culture in order to compete for talent. Meanwhile suburban and resort real estate prices continue their COVID run-up.

Chinese smartphone giant Oppo bets on AR

Oppo is betting nearly $8 billion on developing everyday AR tools. The company, one of China’s largest smartphone makers, has developed glasses that are thicker and heavier than normal glasses, but not as awkward as wearing your smartphone on your face in a SCUBA-mask like configuration that U.S. makers like Oculus and Korea’s Samsung have offered.  The company hopes to leverage 5G technology to provide mobile experiences unlike anything on the market. TechCrunch

dis-rup-shun: A common application of augmented reality (AR) that appeals to a mass audience, is yet to arrive, as core gamers have been the consumer targets for the technology thus far. If Oppo can create mass appeal for AR, expect China to take a lead in the race for developing “the next big thing” for smartphone technologies, leaving Samsung and Apple to play catch up.

The Four Horsemen of Facebook’s Apocalypse

Facebook’s new threats: four rising social media apps

The election and claims that Facebook is censoring the conservative voice has led to a re-shuffling of the social media hierarchy. The disruptors include TikTok, which, having sidestepped the Trump ban, continues to pick up steam with 980 million users. Others are Parler, which has doubled to nearly 8 million, acting as the network for conservative voices, positioning itself as the Fox against the CNN of social media Facebook. Discord is a site that appeals to gamers, and caters to nearly 100 million users. OnlyFans is a social media site catering to the porn industry, and therefore not permitted by Apple to have an app. While numbers are unknown, it is estimated to have more than 75 million users. CNBC

dis-rup-shun: The social media industry is beginning to look like the cable TV industry: specialized sites that offer the content and point of view most valuable to you. Facebook created the space, but now has spawned alternatives and isn’t sure how to put the Genie back in the Facebook bottle. Does the social media giant try to be all things to all people, or is it forced to better define its position to hold on to a core audience? Clearly it has to take a position and the company is being forced to define its position by either having an editorial position, or being the global bulletin board for all speech — ugly or not. The company is still trying to find its identity and, in the meantime, competitors are feasting on the uncertainty.

Airbnb rises from the ashes to go public

IPO filing shows that the fractional home rental company experienced a 19% drop in revenues over the past quarter. The offering was first planned for last August, but delayed so that it could further trim payroll and shore up the listing ship.  The company has never been profitable and the prospectus warns that it may never reach profitability, but like Uber, it is the elephant in a new industry it is mostly responsible for creating. The Verge

dis-rup-shun: The pioneers of the industry, such as Uber and Amazon, decades before, are able to hold off profits until far down the road — instead, successfully changing the dynamics of their industries. With scale comes dominance, followed by profits. As the days of COVID-19 may be numbered, Airbnb could be ready to steadily grow into the next Amazon.

Space X has done it again — with three (and a half) astronauts

Space X sent another manned probe to the International Space Station on Sunday, and this time the crew is joined by a Baby Yoda that floats when zero gravity is reached. The Verge

dis-rup-shun: Elon Musk’s Space X continues to take the front and center position in the space race — safely lifting astronauts into space not once, but twice. The frequency and reusability of the company’s space craft suggest that the future of space exploration and space commerce is here, perhaps offering civilians an opportunity to travel through space in a couple of short years.

It’s (Ring) doorbell season, sings Underwood

Amazon has leveraged Carrie Underwood to promote her new album available on Amazon Music by creating an ad in which Underwood entertains people through their Ring doorbell camera. The advertisement then captures a host of happy holiday people as seen through their doorbell camera. AdWeek

dis-rup-shun: Surprisingly, Amazon does not go for a “three-fer” by having a Prime delivery truck and person roll into the screen to deliver more holiday stuff. Seems that during a congressional investigation on anti-competitive practices, a company wouldn’t remind consumers that it not only owns the smart doorbell company, but also owns the music service used to purchase one of the most popular artists of the time. Cross-selling across owned companies is smart and not against the law, but is a reminder that Amazon owned companies are increasingly surrounding consumers. crashes on PS5 launch day

Playstation orders crash

Walmart, in an effort not to be completely cleaned out of the new Sony PlayStation 5 on launch day, staggered sales in waves every couple of hours. Demand for the product, however, crashed the site not once but twice. CNET

dis-rup-shun: The world’s largest retailer, working overtime to close the gap with online retailer leader, would, you think, be prepared for the onslaught of release day orders for the PS5. But not even giant Walmart anticipated the pent up demand for the latest game console during COVID-19.

Amazon’s Care Hub enables Echo Show to monitor seniors

Amazon Echo powered devices can now run the Care Hub skill which, with permission from both parties, enables family members to receive information about a senior’s activities, and can enable family members to “drop in” if the senior requests help. TechCrunch

dis-rup-shun: Care Hub is a truly valuable and inexpensive way to address the yawning need for technologies to facilitate aging in place, however privacy concerns will likely keep many seniors from embracing the device. The trust level of seniors in technology is often lower than average ages, potential causing the device to be unplugged or rejected, despite the great potential for keeping family members in touch.

Electronic parole keeps tabs using smartphone

New apps designed for parolees provides constant updates via GPS of a parolee’s daily patterns, activities, and if he or she has approached off limits establishments such as liquor stores. The app also provides simplified communications between parole officer and parolee. Wired

dis-rup-shun: Critics of the technology note that what parolees need most is support from human interaction. After all, isn’t lack of positive attention the root of most rebellious behavior? If this is the case, substituting technology for human interaction completely misses the opportunity for rehabilitation.

Breathing device helps lower dangerous alcohol levels

Thornhill Medical has gained FDA clearance with the ClearMate oxygen machine that helps the lungs expel alcohol through controlled hyperventilation. During acute alcohol poisoning, the liver sometimes cannot process blood alcohol quickly enough, leading to serious injury or death. Gizmodo

dis-rup-shun: Lifesaving technologies at low costs are game changers — every college clinic should invest in the ClearMate.

Ring doorbells catching fire

Ring doorbells are (burning) hot

Ring has sold millions of doorbell and smart home cameras, enabling do-it-yourselfers to enjoy inexpensive substitutes to security systems. The company, however has recalled 350,000 units sold between June and October. If the doorbells are installed with the wrong type of screws, the battery can catch fire. So far nearly two dozen front door fires have been reported. CNET

dis-rup-shun: The DIY (do-it-yourself) smart home products market is hot, as people can quickly and inexpensively add useful technologies to their lives. The problem, of course, with letting people do things themselves, is that they are free to do things wrong which, in this case, leads to a fire and, consequently, very dissatisfied customers.

Chipotle opens online only restaurant

Imagine a restaurant that does not offer a serving line, tables or places to dine. The new online only Chipotle in Highland Falls, NY, does not accommodate walk-in business, but is made to serve online orders for pickup only. CNET

dis-rup-shun: The new world of digital living continues to rapidly adjust to the pandemic. Despite the possibilities that a vaccine will end the pandemic sometime in mid to late 2021, the online shopping economy that has thrived will continue to do so. Whole Foods has developed similar shopper-less grocery stores. Amazon Prime trucks are rolling through neighborhoods seven days a week. Expect to see an increased emphasis on online order fulfillment.

How Apple’s new chips can change the computing experience

Earlier this year, Apple starting shipping computers that are run not by Intel’s microprocessors, but by Apple’s own M1 chipset that it spent ten years developing. How will that change the computing experience? For Mac users, the computer is likely to become much more like an iPhone or iPad, likely driven by app icons, always including touchscreens, with longer batter life, higher performance and possibly lower prices. CNET

dis-rup-shun: What seems like a fairly insignificant change — using a different microprocessor in its computers — could lead to the greatest differences in computing in the Windows world and the Mac world. By really changing the interface of the computer, making it much more continuous across the Apple product line, Apple could lead many more people to leave the Windows world for Macintosh. The losers here, of course, are both Intel and Microsoft, and an additional winner could be Google as it benefits from chaos by pushing, even harder, Chromebooks during a time of transition.

Cord cutter’s guide to choosing the best service

If you haven’t yet cut the cord, you will want to make sure your new streaming service offers live local channel access as well as your favorite specialized channels, such as ESPNU, the Golf Channel, or National Geographic. CNET‘s guide to streaming services, complete with price comparisons, makes that easy.

dis-rup-shun: To get what you want, you will likely be paying at least $65 before adding Netflix, Disney + or other subscriptions, and rumor has it that when you go to quit your pay TV provider, they may come close to matching this price with a leaner bundle.  Then, of course, one has to factor in the set top box rental fees and the purchase of streaming media devices to add to existing TVs, before an apples to apples comparison is complete.

Vaccine news deals blow to stay-at-home tech

Vaccine news deals blow to stay-at-home stocks

On the good news from Pfizer that a Coronavirus vaccine candidate from Pfizer and BioNTech appears 90% effective, shares of tech stocks that have flourished during the pandemic saw an immediate drop. Zoom, Amazon, Netflix, and Teledoc are some of the biggest Covid-19 winners that were immediately impacted by the announcement, losing up to 5% of their value in pre-market trading. CNBC

dis-rup-shun: The idea of a post-pandemic economic recovery, with a new President-elect, could be great for everyone. Most agree that life after pandemic will remain different, but the question is how different? New lifestyles and work habits should remain viable options, and expect these pandemic winners to continue to be strong alternatives in a more online economy.

Next generation ADT Google smart home

ADT, in its quarterly earnings announcement, revealed that it will work with investor and partner Google to develop a next generation home automation and security platform that will leverage machine learning, intelligent alarm and video verification.

dis-rup-shun: What is the future of an ADT/Google partnership? How long will development of such a platform take? The good news for consumers is that apparently ADT recognizes that the traditional security system that relies on calling the police in case of a problem is growing long in the tooth. Law enforcement in many cities is stretched thin. Consumers want immediate feedback of exactly what is happening in their homes. Doorbell cameras are offering a deeper sense of engagement with the home. Consumers are increasingly investing in home systems for comfort and convenience. The partnership could raise the bar for home systems, but in the meantime, advanced technology firms such as, Vivint and Honeywell (among others) will not be resting, but will be offering enhanced solutions — but likely with a cloud partner other than Google.

Why you should use Apple Pay or Google Pay

Despite being available since 2014, mobile pay apps have caught on slowly in North America. Today, nearly 50% of iPhone users use Apple Pay at least occasionally, with Google Pay rising as well. Global Apple Pay transactions are 10% of credit card transactions. Wired makes the case for using mobile pay more, as it is convenient, faster, doesn’t require your wallet, and is actually more secure as each separate transaction requires facial recognition, your security code, and or facial recognition. Credit cards in the U.S. mostly do not require a PIN, meaning a thief with your card can buys things with it.

dis-rup-shun: Why U.S. consumers have been slow to adopt mobile payments is a curiosity, as more convenience and more security are great motivators. Less contact during Covid-19 should motivate us to hold up our phones rather than press PINs into a keypad. Near field communications will improve such that the point of sale device may soon display our names as soon as we approach the check out stand and simply ask us to confirm the purchase by looking into our phones.  So simple.

Virgin Hyperloop conducts first human transport test

Virgin Hyperloop, the Elon Musk concept later purchased and branded Virgin by Richard Branson, has completed its first trip at speeds over one hundred miles per hour with people on board. The 500 meter test tube in the desert outside of Las Vegas sends the compartment through an air vacuum tube. The vision of hyperloop is to transport people at speeds over 600 mph.  To date its top speed has been 240 mph. TheVerge

dis-rup-shun: It is difficult to predict how long it will take for this technology to become reality, but if speeds well over those of a bullet train can be attained, the attractiveness of this mode of travel increase quickly. Traveling from San Francisco to L.A. in 30 minutes could be a game-changer, and could be a great alternative to overnight delivery of specialized cargo. Acquiring the land, or digging the tunnels or elevated rails, however, is a daunting infrastructure project.


Smart toaster for perfect results

The smart toaster is here for $300

If you are really into toast, the Revolution Cooking R180 is the product for you. It’s touch screen interface enables you to specify exactly how you like your bread, and provides accurate timing and progress reports. The pricey device, however, does not connect to the cloud, so Google or Facebook can’t tell when you are making breakfast or cannot send ads for bread to your toaster screen. TechCrunch

dis-rup-shun: The smart kitchen is slowly arriving, with many devices offering smarts of questionable value. Is a smart kitchen smart because of intelligence built-in to the appliance, or because it uses cloud-based resources to help prepare meals? Smart kitchen appliances bring value when they enable control remotely, like from the bedroom, home office, or remote office, and when they provide guidance or insights based on recipes or knowledge of what supplies are on hand in the pantry or refrigerator. So expect high-end kitchen appliances to increasingly have their own touch screens and be called “smart,” though smarts require remote control and, for better or worse, connections to the cloud.

Did you leave your garage door open?

No more guessing if you left the door open, as a number of inexpensive garage controller add-ons make it simple to see if the door is open or closed or to open it for someone else. Chamberlain’s MyQue is simple and inexpensive and works with Apple’s HomeKit (for an additional fee), meaning you don’t have to use a separate app for the garage door. The more expensive Tailwind can be voice controlled through Alexa and works with Amazon Key, if you are a frequent buyer through Amazon. You do need to have a strong Wi-Fi signal in the garage. CNET

dis-rup-shun: It is exceedingly affordable to transform home systems into smart devices. Doing so, however, introduces “app fatigue” which is the frustration of having to dig through your smartphone to find an app in order to control a device — often resulting in a decision to not use that device often. Apple and Google hope to overcome this barrier with a “do-all-smart home operations” app. Apple’s is Homekit and Android offers a number of options including an app called Gideon. When our cars are outfitted with Alexa on -board (many new ones are), then we can talk to our smartphone in our car to control the garage doors.

Sony Playstation controller “game changer”

New consoles will arrive next week, and gamers are anxious to get their hands on them. Sony’s new controller, DualSense, is packed with new features including better haptic feedback, a headphone jack, a USB-C connection, adaptive resistance triggers, speaker, microphone and touch pad. CNET

dis-rup-shun: The world is now awash with gaming options across any platform, so the console experience must be quite special in order to justify the investment. “Real gamers,” as some like to call themselves, will not settle for less than a high performance gaming PC or top end console, or both, and Sony and Microsoft are racing to provide that premium experience.

Alibaba cloud growth outpaces Amazon

Chinese tech giant Alibaba reported growth of its cloud computing division that dwarfed that of larger cloud providers Amazon Web Services and Microsoft Azure. Both U.S. based cloud providers grew, in the same timeframe, 29% and 48% respectively. Alibaba’s growth in the September quarter was 60%, further affirming that the future of computing is in the cloud. CNBC

dis-rup-shun: 5G has arrived, making the vision of super fast access, from mobile devices, of cloud-based content, a reality. The implications for this new model are vast, from shopping, to entertainment, to mobile commerce. Expect Alibaba to catch up in revenue size to AWS and Azure very quickly.

Gig economy bolstered by California voters

California vote gives gig economy green light

Hanging in the balance yesterday was California Proposition 22, which would require gig workers such as Uber and Lyft drivers to be considered employees and receive benefits. The defeat of the proposition was a green light for emerging gig economy companies, including DoorDash, Instacart and Postmates which rely on hourly contractors to provide new services at low prices. Other states will likely see the California vote as an indication of consumer sentiment. CNet

dis-rup-shun: The gig economy, defined as using the Internet to temporarily employ under-used resources, such as cars, people or homes, make up 1% of the U.S. workforce and rising, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. While a small percentage, the ability to reduce the unemployment rate by 1% is a big deal. Expect new and innovative ideas, such as Task Rabbit and Wag!, to continue to pop up and help supply meet demand.

Even AT&T is ready to cut the cord

AT&T is in talks to sell up to 50% of its legacy DirecTV, AT&T Now and Uverse units to private investors. The potential transaction values the DirecTV business, for which AT&T paid $67 billion, at somewhere in the range of $15 billion. CNBC

dis-rup-shun: The startling decline in value of the DirecTV business unit in just five years is hard to fathom, but is a reminder of why Randall Stephenson, former AT&T CEO, rode off into the sunset earlier this year. The company is now in a position to hastily remake its video strategy to compete with a much more nimble Netflix that does not have the baggage of wireless services or legacy telecommunications and satellite TV services to deal with.

Game console strategies summarized

With new consoles on the verge of release, The Verge summarizes Microsoft and Sony’s future in gaming. Microsoft is out to create, maintain and grow new game customers regardless of platform — providing solutions for PCs, for mobile from the cloud, for discount consoles and for serious consoles. As Microsoft will not release its new consoles with new blockbuster game titles, it will lean heavily on compatibility with legacy games to excite users. Sony’s Playstation strategy is focused on providing a premium console experience with some brand new titles and with a new haptic feedback readied controller, the DualSense.

dis-rup-shun: The differing strategies will be exciting to watch, as it appears that Microsoft is hard at work to fend off newcomers to the gaming space such as Amazon and Apple who are seeking to convert everyone to a game subscription. Sony, on the other hand, may further engage the traditional core gamer — a specialized but profitable niche market — and extract additional dollars per unit by rewarding loyalty and honoring the exclusive experience sought after by serious gamers.

The best smart home products

Gizmodo provides the latest of frequent lists of best smart home devices. Gizmodo’s list has a few dark horses. The picks include:

Best Wi-Fi mesh router: Netgear Orbi.  Best smart speaker: Nest Audio.  Best robotic vacuum cleaner: Neato Botvac D7 Connected. Best smart display hub: Google Nest Hub Max. Best smart lock: August Wi-Fi Smart Lock. Best smart plug: Belkin Wemo Mini. Best connected lightbulb: Philips Hue. Best connected security camera: Logitech Circle 2. Best in-home exercise system: Peloton Bike.

dis-rup-shun: Most of us are spending a LOT more time at home, and investing in smart products for entertainment, convenience and security makes more sense than ever before. Fortunately the industry keeps cranking out better and more affordable smart home products.

In-game campaigning further blurs reality

Politicians turn to in-game campaigning

Biden’s campaign has released a “Build Back Better with Biden” roadmap within the popular computer game, Fortnite. This placement follows an in-game voting station and Biden yard signs found in Animal Crossing New Horizons. The Verge

dis-rup-shun: Meeting your target market on its own turf remains a timeless saw within marketing, and the Biden crew has done just that, further blurring the borders of real life with the alternative realities of gaming. Just when you retreated to computer and console games to escape the barrage of political ads — you find yourself back to reality.

Ford hints of $20,000 electric car

The future of the auto industry is electric, and with Gen Alpha’s less likely to own cars, Ford is gearing up for a new kind of car experience. Current electric vehicles (sedans and trucks) are targeted to a luxury buyer, but the future calls for highly affordable electric vehicles, according to Ford’s new CEO, Jim Farley. CNET

dis-rup-shun: Car makers are scrambling to reinvent themselves as it appears that the industry will revolve around fractional use (transportation-as-a-service) of autonomous, electric vehicles — three key elements that are missing from the majority of offerings today. Electric vehicles require little maintenance and few moving parts, threatening the service revenues of the auto dealership. Given that many consumers will give up auto ownership for transportation service subscriptions, the sales department of the dealership also faces an uncertain future. Which elephantine auto maker can tap dance the best to avoid the endangered species list?

Netflix strategy — increase price and value indefinitely

Last week’s increase in subscription prices for Netflix is baked into the long term strategy of raising prices each year, along with increasing the value of the service each year. The company has veered away from its strategy of becoming a low-cost HBO replacement, to one of becoming a low-cost replacement of the entire cable package. As the quality of the cable bundle degrades, given that providers will reserve the best content for streaming services, Netflix will increase the quality and price of its offerings. CNBC

dis-rup-shun: Netflix continues to create a new price tier for streaming services in the range of $13 to $20 per month. Because the company is not seeking price parity with cable bundles that easily average $100 per month, it leaves room for consumers to add 2 or 3 services to the household mix. Even with several streaming services, the new bundle is priced far below cable, forcing traditional cable providers to meet streaming TV packages such as Hulu, Sling and YouTube TV at a $50 to $60 per month price level. If you haven’t already, it’s time to restructure your TV bundle.

A man’s hatred of printers

Wired’s Simon Hill asks why, in the 2020s, do printers still suck? Describing the awkward relationship most homes have with their inexpensive devices that consume semi-precious ink cartridges and the ferocity of ink subscription services at insisting the printer stay on and connected, Hill hits home.

dis-rup-shun: The cost of printing, unlike the rest of consumer technology, seems to have hit a floor beyond which it will not fall, despite the ridiculously low prices of printing devices. Leave it to Amazon to deliver printed documents to our doors in about an hour after hitting the “Print to Amazon Prime” button.