Zillow cites reshuffling of real estate

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.

Nexflix is decade’s best stock

Netflix top stock of the decade

Looking back on the decade, Netflix has won the prize of best performing stock, increasing 4,000%. Subscriber growth went from 12 million who were receiving CDs in the mail, to 158 million subscribers to streaming services. The company divides the world into four regions. After North America, the biggest region is Europe/Middle East/Africa with 47.4 million subscribers, then Latin America with 29.4 million. AsiaPac follows at 14.5 million. CNBC

dis-rup-shun: Do you continue to back the stock of a company with razor thin margins that doesn’t consistently make a profit, is being chased by Disney, AT&T and many other companies with deep pockets? The company’s growth is in international markets where competition is far less, but winning this game requires massive spending. This disruptor has been highly valued for completely changing the video market, but, like another game changer called Uber, will the demand for profits sink its high price? 

China helps finance Tesla

Chinese investors have agreed to back Tesla’s Shanghai-based manufacturing plant with a $1.4 billion loan that will, in part, roll over a prior, smaller loan. Tesla broke ground on the plant in January of this year and expects to produce 1000 model S cars per week by end of this year. CNBC

dis-rup-shun: It seems that Musk did not get the trade war memo, and, like Apple, is leading the charge for continued strong trade relations with China. Such big deals will likely keep the trade war political and prevent walls from being built between the economies. Tesla has what China wants — innovative, stylish cars that don’t pollute. Perhaps Musk can lead the way to increasing the number of global ventures that China will back.

Music embraces big data

As we know, the music industry is on a rebound from decimation by digital download. Gone are the talent scouts and record label promoters, replaced by data analysts who study trends on streaming music sites such as Spotify. By analyzing what’s hot, music producers can predict which artists will sell. Artists, by analyzing data, are able to determine where and with what they will become popular. The likely result is more homogeneity in music, making it tougher for off beat artists to be discovered. Wired

dis-rup-shun: This brings up the discussion, made popular a decade ago by Chris Anderson’s book, The Long Tail, of the value of non-popular content. Digital access makes it very inexpensive to find and enjoy the unusual, less popular books, movies and music. Yet, in the digital age, data analytics helps big business spend its resources finding or making the 20% of content that earns 80% of the revenues. This suggests a streaming service dedicated to the fringe artists, where lots of good stuff is less commercialized, would be interesting to those of us who like fringe stuff.

In-home manicure machine

Coral is a company founded by a former Dolby executive who has received $4.3 million to create an in home manicure machine. Put your finger in a hole in the machine, and out comes a completed, painted nail. Tech Crunch

dis-rup-shun: The salon experience seems, from an observer’s perspective, to be part ritual — going somewhere and spending a few minutes being pampered. While many people don’t have the time to go to a salon but want nails to look nice, this may be a better solution than DIY manicures. Peloton has brought the community workout experience home, and massive multi-player games gives one a sense of community experience at home. Coral likely needs to make its machine deliver more of an experience — perhaps by playing soothing music or brewing tea while it gives its auto-manicure.