California law may sink Uber and Lyft
A California judge has ruled that the ride share companies must classify their drivers as employees, not independent contractors. The move will require the companies to pay benefits such as health insurance and vacation to their drivers, upending the business model that enables these companies to offer their services at less-than-taxi rates. In November, California voters will have the opportunity to decide if ride share drivers can be considered contractors, potentially saving the industry. CNBC
dis-rup-shun: Is opposition to drivers as contractors coming from drivers, or from operators of taxi companies? Crushing the ride share business model will not help employment and will disappoint consumers, who have voted with their feet that traditional taxi services are sub-optimal. If these companies pull out of California until November, consumers as well as out of work drivers will have some time to decide if they are better off without ride sharing.
Zin electric boats are the Tesla of the lake
Zin has built an electric boat. Aside from the $250K price tag, the benefits are substantial: nearly no maintenance, “fill-ups” are about $5, they are fast, and battery placement in the center of the boat means the craft stays level in almost every maneuver. TechCrunch
dis-rup-shun: Zin, like Tesla, is the early model that will enable the uber wealthy to show off the latest and greatest, and will hopefully be followed by mass market models. Anyone who owns a runabout or even small fishing boat knows that it is rare to be out for more than four or five hours (the life of a battery), and a boat starts up about 50% of the times you wish to use it, making a low maintenance craft a weekend warrior’s godsend.
The Fortnite experiment
Fortnite, one of the most popular games across multiple platforms, including mobile, published by Epic, has taken on Apple and Google, deciding to bypass their app stores and the 30% fees associated for in-app purchases. Apple and Google promptly responded by taking down the apps from their respective app stores. Epic was quick to file suit, claiming the two tech giants are monopolies that restrict open competition. CNET
dis-rup-shun: The move by Epic raises a couple of questions. First, did the company time its move to directly follow the public examination of Big Tech by the U.S. Congress, adding yet another event to the legislators’ investigations? Secondly, did Epic’s economists do the math and determine that even if Apple and Google blocked their products from the apps stores, the 30% increase in margin on transactions would make the company better off? Time will tell, and perhaps Epic has decided that it will be an agent of change, despite the objections of Apple and Google.
Keeping garages smart
Garage door controllers are not something that you replace more than every 20 years or so, so unless you are buying a newly built home, technology to remotely control your garage door and see if you left it open will require retrofit technology. CNETreviews a host of Wi-Fi systems that are add-ons to existing controllers that use cameras and sensors to enable you to let the repair man into the garage when you are away. Leading brands include Chamberlain MyQ, Garadget, Alcidae Garager 2, Nexx Garage.
dis-rup-shun: The garage is a place in the home that smart technology will be enjoyed almost more than any other, given the frequency of people’s use of this home entry. Surveys performed by a number of researchers show that new homes with smart technologies, such as smart garage doors, sell faster and for a slight premium. Expect smartphone controllable and voice controllable garage doors to be the standard for most upscale new homes offered by builders.