Sunnier Side of the Office – October 9, 2019

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"I'm friends with George Bush. In fact, I'm friends with a lot of people who don't share the same beliefs that I have. We're all different and I think that we've forgotten that that's OK that we're all different." 

- Ellen DeGeneres, responding to criticism because she sat next to George Bush during last week's Dallas Cowboys game

Uber expands to the gig economy
By: Ben Thomas 

“Diversify or die”.


From Amazon to Apple, it’s a mantra the biggest brands have adopted to stay ahead in today’s hyperconnected, digital world.

As the original ride-sharing service, Uber had the market cornered. But with tightening regulations, the hangover of bad PR and an increasingly competitive ride-sharing sector, Uber is expanding into new areas, like food delivery and now the gig economy. Last week, they announced the launch of Uber Works, an app that connects workers to businesses looking to staff up available shifts.

Uber Works is an alternative to established staffing agencies and apps, but promises to be a faster, more transparent, “technology-first approach” to place “vetted and qualified” workers in casual roles; it’s positioned as a better, more seamless experience for workers and employers. But since the announcement, the same discussions about worker benefits have bubbled up (an issue Uber seems to have skirted by partnering with staffing agencies who are responsible for benefits).

Uber Works is currently only available in Chicago, but if the test goes well, we could see Uber continuing to expand its tech into more sectors to shore up its business outside of the core ride-sharing.

Instagram’s New Snapchat Rival Sparks Privacy Concerns
By: Jessica Bedussi

Instagram’s latest standalone app, Threads, launched this week upholding Zuckerburg’s vision of creating more “simple, intimate places for people to connect. 

The app is essentially an extension of Instagram’s Close Friends feature meant for more intimate conversations and photo sharing. It inputs all DMs and Stories from your Close Friends list so you can seamlessly share and chat. The Snapchat clone is a “camera first app” which opens directly on the camera for quick sharing of photos and videos to your closest friends. One big difference from Snapchat is the absence of filters and camera effects. 

But while Instagram says the app was created with “privacy, speed, and your close connections in mind,” one of its biggest concerns is privacy. The app has an optional Auto Status feature which tracks your location, movement, battery status, and network connection to automatically generate statues like “Chilling,” “At work,” or “At a cafe.” While this feature is optional, the amount of data the platform can easily track is worrisome.

Privacy concerns aside, the app’s biggest challenge is changing user behavior. With a multitude of apps and messaging platforms on users’ devices, the question remains: will people communicate with their closest Instagram friends in a separate app?

Super Bowl Halftime Show Announced

Last week, the National Football League (NFL) announced Jennifer Lopez and Shakira will perform during the Super Bowl Halftime Show on February 2, 2020 in Miami. The selection has been praised not only for its entertainment value, but for having two Latin women perform. According to Adweek, the selection reflects a trend marketers should pay attention to. 

The NFL realizes that showcasing diversity is both the right thing to do and smart business. The U.S. Hispanic market accounts for 18% of the total population and has the buying power of over $1.7 trillion. If it were a country, it would be the world’s second largest Spanish-speaking population behind only Mexico.  

The NFL could have gone the safe route, potentially appealing to a broader audience by pairing one Latin singer with a mainstream Anglo singer. By selecting two Latin singers, the NFL is showcasing their commitment to, and confidence in, the Hispanic market.

If a polar bear and a grizzly bear mate, their offspring is called a pizzly bear.
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