Did you know? Hyperloop + High Street + Middle Class + eSports

A real tube carrying dreams of 600-MPH transit: NYT reports, Virgin Hyperloop One is testing a system that would put passengers in pods hurtling through vacuum tubes. Other companies are moving ahead with similar plans.

High street ‘not dead’ and could be industry hub, says report: FT reports, Britain’s high street “is not dead” and struggling town and city centres could be transformed by becoming industry hubs instead of places to shop, according to new research refuting claims that a crisis in bricks-and-mortar retail is killing then off. The Centre for Cities, an independent think-tank, said on Tuesday that local councils should shift town centre economies away from an “overreliance on retail” towards high-skilled industry, and said the belief that high streets were “dying” was misplaced.

The shrinking middle class: By the numbers: Fortune reports, the American middle-class ideal was forged in the decades after World War II, when economic growth and wage increases climbed in lockstep for nearly 30 years. That pairing dissolved abruptly in the 1970s. Between 1973 and 2017, according to the Economic Policy Institute, the productivity of the economy grew 77%—but average compensation rose only 12.4%, adjusted for inflation. This divergence coincided with a shift in economic gravity, away from manufacturing and toward services and “knowledge industries.” That shift weakened the labor unions that had helped rank-and-file workers in many professions claim a bigger share of the bounty. Just as important were tax reforms that favored investment and real estate earnings over wage income. The upshot: an economic order in which the capital-owning class enjoys great advantages—and the costs of admission to and the exclusion from that class grow ever higher.

eSports revenue: Global revenue from eSports is expected to reach a record $1.1B this year, topping $1B for the first time, up 27% from 2018 driven by advertising, sponsorship and media rights, according to a just-released report from industry research and consulting firm NewZoo.

Bloomberg Sound ON: Trump tariffs, national emergency, and Amazon (Podcast)

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Bloomberg Chief Washington Correspondent Kevin Cirilli delivers insight and analysis on the latest headlines from the White House and Capitol Hill, including conversations with influential lawmakers and key figures in politics and policy.

Kevin discussed the fallout from Amazon’s decision to drop their NYC expansion plans, Trump’s national emergency declaration to build a wall and the progress on trade talks with China with guests Marc Ross, founder of Brigadoon and Caracal Global and Bloomberg News Congressional reporter Anna Edgerton.

Listen here: https://bloom.bg/2SHtOFS

Did you know?

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Wellbeing and noise concerns fuel "accelerating" trend for healthier office furniture: Soundproof pods, saddle-shaped chairs, adjustable-height desks, and wobble boards were in abundance at Stockholm Furniture Fair last week, as privacy and wellbeing become essential aspects of office furniture design.

Pricing algorithms can learn to collude with each other to raise prices: If you shop on Amazon, an algorithm rather than a human probably set the price of the service or item you bought. Pricing algorithms have become ubiquitous in online retail as automated systems have grown increasingly affordable and easy to implement

NASA wants to get to the moon ‘as fast as possible.’ But countries like China and India are racing there, too.: WP reports, like the Cold War space race, the new lunar activity is fueled by national pride and a quest for scientific discovery. But this new Space Age also features a third factor: Greed.

End of fast fashion? Millennials are increasingly buying clothing that's characterized by durability and utility. This has led to a surge of interest in brands like The North Face and Patagonia.

Uber isn't remarkable, it's better

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The practice of hiring vehicles for transportation goes back to the 17th century. 

Dateline London 1635, the Hackney Carriage Act was the first legislation passed controlling horse-drawn carriages for hire in England.

Dateline Paris 1640, Nicolas Sauvage offers horse-drawn carriages and drivers for hire.

The taximeter was invented by the German inventor, Wilhelm Bruhn in 1891. The taximeter measured the distance or time a vehicle traveled and allowed an accurate fare to be determined.

It is widely believed Gottlieb Daimler built the world's first dedicated taxi in 1897 called the Daimler Victoria. The vehicle came equipped with the newly invented taximeter and was delivered to Friedrich Greiner, a Stuttgart entrepreneur who started the world's first motorized taxi company.

By the end of the 19th century, automobiles began to appear on city streets throughout America. It was not long before a number of these cars were hiring themselves out in competition with horse-drawn carriages.

Soon horsepower was removed from horses, and natural resources would be the horsepower to move vehicles. Gas-powered taxis came first to Germany, Paris, and London, and then to New York in the year 1907.

The Travis Kalanick of his day was Harry Allen.

Allen created The New York Taxicab Company and imported 600 gas-powered taxis from France in 1907, and he borrowed the word "taxicab" from London.

To ensure his vehicles were full and quickly recognized, he painted his taxis yellow.

Flash forward over 100 years later, and we now have Uber.

A company which owns no vehicles.

A company which employs no drivers.

A company with a valuation of $120 billion.

This valuation makes the company one of the most valuable transportation companies operating anywhere on the planet.

Consider Uber's valuation is more than General Motors, Ford Motor Company, and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles combined.

At a $120 billion, Uber's is worth more than double the average of companies in the NASDAQ 100 Index on a price-to-2018 sales basis. It gives the ride-hailing company a multiple of about 12 times, compared with an average of 4.8 times for the index.

Big numbers for sure, but why?

Three reasons:

1. Global scale
2. Reduced friction
3. Reduced anxiety

Uber's global scale is stupendous.

Where Harry Allen was limited to the five boroughs of New York City, current Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi can provide transportation in 65 countries and over 600 cities worldwide, plus the company completes 15 million trips each day. 

Uber has access to 3 million drivers who can move passengers from airports to city centers, from nightclubs to after-hour parties.

Also, as a consumer of the service, your experience and expectations can be harmonized regardless if you are in Indianapolis, London, or São Paulo.

Uber has dramatically reduced friction.

The premier etiquette organization, The Emily Post Institute, yes there is such an institute, recommends tipping your taxi driver between 15 and 20 percent of the total trip fare. Plus If you've traveled with luggage and your driver has helped you, it's proper etiquette to tip more. Beautiful, no set guidelines.

Also, you'll need to find out ahead of time if your cabbie accepts a credit card. If you don't make sure and you don't have enough cash, you'll have to leave your luggage and gear as collateral as you stumble around Singapore's Changi Airport at o-dark-thirty to find an ATM.

Hop in Uber anywhere, anytime, and you'll never need cash. You'll never need to fumble with credit cards and swiping. You can tip as suggested and even add commentary on the state of the car's interior and the cabbie's choice of music.

Uber has significantly reduced anxiety.

Most places allow a taxi to be hailed or flagged on the side of the street as it is approaching. Another option is a taxi stand. Finally calling a central dispatch office for a taxi ride is an option. 

So ringing up a ride isn't new, even if it is via an app. Get an Uber is the same as call a taxi.

Uber didn't create new technology; it deployed consumer behavior tactics. Before 2009 users of taxis had no knowledge when a cab would appear on their street, when a taxi would arrive at your door, or who is behind the wheel.

Now with a comfort inducing screen and the anxiety-reducing Pac-Man-like vehicle avatar displaying your ride shuffling across a map to pick you up, you now have knowledge.

The knowledge that your ride will appear, when it will arrive, and who is behind the rule - plus the most anxiety reducing tactic - you can inform family and friends where you are in your journey and when they can expect you - further reducing their stress.

Lessons here for entrepreneurs and thought leaders:

Few ideas are new. Uber is executing the 17th century idea of taxis and the 19th century idea of telephones.

What is new are the tactics Uber is employing to execute these old ideas.

Having a service or product that allows you to be global from day one.

Having a service or product that allows you to reduce end-users burdens.

Having a service or product that allows you to reduce end-users uncertainties.

-Marc

Marc A. Ross specializes in thought leader communications and global public policy for public affairs professionals working at the intersection of globalization, disruption, and politics.

Did you know?

Think big, work small: A new study finds that small teams of researchers do more innovative work than large teams do. The new research, published on Wednesday in the journal Nature, is the latest contribution from an emerging branch of work known as the science of science — the study of how, when and through whom knowledge advances.

Exercise may help to fend off depression: Jogging for 15 minutes a day, or walking or gardening for somewhat longer, could help protect people against developing depression.

Did you know? Household credit + Esports + Germans on the road

Household credit: An average household now has three credit cards.

Esports: Global esports revenues will grow 38 percent to $906 million in 2018 and further grow to $1.65 billion by 2021. North America will account for 38 percent of the 2018 revenue, or $345 million, while China will be 18 percent, or $164 million.

Esports will continue to be smaller in revenues than traditional sports, but it is rapidly gaining in terms of numbers of spectators.

Germans on the road:

German travel industry had a record year in 2018. 

Three in five of Germans traveled last year. 

Thirty-four percent of Germans spent their holidays in Germany in 2018.

Spain was No. 1 destination.

Did you know? Mars + Mobile + Scooters + EVs + Weight

Mars for less than $100k: Elon Musk says he's confident moving to Mars will eventually cost less than $500k, possibly less than $100k, with a return ticket included.

Mars One is dead: The Mars colony startup was declared bankrupt by a Swiss court. The company was the brainchild of Dutch entrepreneur Bas Lansdorp, previously the founder of green energy company Ampyx Power. Lansdorp's aim was to start a company that could colonize one of our nearest neighbors.

Debit cards everywhere: Fintech companies from Square to Venmo are launching products that let customers spend money directly out of digital accounts using physical debit cards.

SE Asia eclipses China as world's mobile economy hot spot:Thais, Indonesians and Singaporeans are big-time online bankers, shoppers and ride-hailers.

1,545 scooter injuries: Electric scooters have caused 1,545 injuries in the US since late 2017, according to new findings by Consumer Reports. The report collected data from hospitals and public agencies in 47 different cities where leading scooter-sharing platforms Bird and Lime operate.

China’s demand for electric vehicles charges copper: Citi expects prices to hit $6,700 a tonne as metal is core to next motoring generation.

Your company wants to know if you’ve lost weight: WSJ reports, as more employers launch high-tech wellness programs that keep tabs on workers’ exercise, sleep and nutrition, employees worry about privacy and the consequences of opting out.