Vancouver Is Silicon Valley North. So Why Doesn’t It Have Uber? – Bloomberg

Few major cities have been quite as inhospitable to Uber as Vancouver, which sent the company fleeing four years ago after regulators declared it a limousine service and essentially destroyed the business logic.

Source: Vancouver Is Silicon Valley North. So Why Doesn’t It Have Uber? – Bloomberg

Ontario approves insurance plan aimed at Uber | Toronto Star

Uber riders can rest a little easier en route, says the ride-hailing company, after the province approved an insurance plan Thursday that covers paying passengers.

The plan, approved by Ontario’s insurance regulator this week, ends Uber drivers’ legal limbo. It also makes Ontario the second Canadian jurisdiction after Alberta to give the go-ahead to a policy tailor-made for ride-sharing services, despite ongoing concerns around lopsided regulations and costs for taxi drivers.

Source: Ontario approves insurance plan aimed at Uber | Toronto Star

Uber raises more than $1 billion with first ever leveraged loan, WSJ reports

Ride-hailing operator Uber has raised $1.15 billion from a new high-yield loan, the Wall Street Journal reported, citing a person family with the matter.

The leveraged loan is Uber’s first and brings the amount the company has raised in debt and equity to more than $15 billion, the WSJ wrote.

Source: Uber raises more than $1 billion with first ever leveraged loan, WSJ reports

Thinking About Going Freelance? These Are the Benefits You Can Expect | MONEY

Companies often like to pretend the shift from employee to contract worker is merely semantics, or they tout the benefits of the arrangement: more “flexibility,” greater cost savings, and so on.

The problem is that a lot of these advantages are decidedly skewed in favor of the corporation, especially when it comes to benefits. While most people who work full-time for a company as an employee get health insurance, a 401(k) or other retirement plan, and paid vacation, freelancers who have access to this pool of traditional employee perks are a rarity.

Source: Thinking About Going Freelance? These Are the Benefits You Can Expect | MONEY

Cruising to brand visibility via the ‘gig economy’

The cruise ship operator is tapping into the ‘gig economy’, using BeMyEye’s crowdsourced fact-finders to check that brochures, flyers and posters are displayed prominently at Italian travel agencies.

Eventually, Guanci’s answer came from the ‘gig economy’ when he found out about an Italian company, BeMyEye, that crowdsources labour for simple tasks via a mobile app. Much like Gigwalk’s ‘Gigwalkers’ in the US, BeMyEye’s ‘Eyes’ are regular smartphone users who are happy to earn money as real-world data gatherers, and are guided by the app through a series of simple observational tasks at specific locations.

Source: Cruising to brand visibility via the ‘gig economy’

The Secret Power Of Amazon’s Dash Buttons: Not Sales, But Data | Fast Company | Business + Innovation

Instead of standalone Dash Buttons, Amazon could build buttons into the product packaging itself. Each button would work once and would be discarded along with the package. Data from Dash Buttons would help Amazon and product makers understand what products and package sizes to offer, as an integrated button would make the packaging pricier.

An evolved version of Amazon’s Subscribe & Save service could offer more flexible delivery timing, with Amazon’s mobile apps and Alexa assistant checking in to make sure you’re well-stocked. To make this work, Amazon would need data to understand how purchasing patterns vary for each product, and how those purchases change over time.

Amazon’s app and Alexa could offer to add new items to your shopping list based on past behavior, along with competing products and other items bought by similar shoppers. Dash Button data would help Amazon figure out the right products and package sizes to recommend.

The common thread with all of these hypotheticals is that they rely on big data and machine learning.

Source: The Secret Power Of Amazon’s Dash Buttons: Not Sales, But Data | Fast Company | Business + Innovation

Austin alcohol sales drop post Uber and Lyft | KVUE.com

Something very rare happened in Austin this May: alcohol sales dropped, according to data from the Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts.

While there is no direct explanation for the two percent drop in sales from this time last year, some bartenders and bar owners in Austin think it may have something to do with ridesharing.

Source: Austin alcohol sales drop post Uber and Lyft | KVUE.com

You Can’t Take an Uber Home From These Airports – WSJ

Of the 40 busiest U.S. airports, 10 don’t allow pickups unless drivers have a chauffeur’s license or livery plates, including Atlanta, Orlando, Detroit, Boston and Philadelphia. Seattle, Minneapolis and New Orleans started allowing legal ride-sharing pickups only this year. Miami-Dade County approved an ordinance on May 3 allowing ride-sharing companies. Lyft Inc. has a permit to operate at the airport but Uber Technologies Inc. doesn’t yet, the airport says. In Kansas City and both Houston airports, Uber is permitted but Lyft isn’t.

Source: You Can’t Take an Uber Home From These Airports – WSJ

Instacart Expands Partnership With Total Wine & More to North Carolina

“After a successful expansion in multiple markets in Florida, Texas, and Massachusetts, we are thrilled to bring Total Wine & More to our customers in North Carolina,” said Andrew Nodes, head of Retail Accounts at Instacart. “As Instacart continues to expand, we look forward to partnering with Total Wine & More in additional cities.”

Source: Instacart Expands Partnership With Total Wine & More to North Carolina

Second Life Lessons: What Linden Lab is doing differently with its new VR platform | ZDNet

As a very early Second Lifer, this rings true in terms of lessons learned. It also feels a little early, again. However, Linden Labs has proven it can play a long game, so if you are interested in VR as a way of grabbing your customers’ attention this may be worth the $3,600 a year for those who want to learn along with one of the best in class immersive economies.

In Second Life, a person or business can spend nearly $300 a month to host a space (it’s half price for educators and nonprofits, but that’s still a hefty sum). Altberg promised that hosting a Sansar experience will cost in the “tens of dollars” per month. It’s cheaper than Second Life, and it’s obviously cheaper than what it would take to build one’s own MMO platform from the ground up.At the same time, Linden Lab plans on “capturing more of the GDP” generated from Sansar. With Second Life, the company really doesn’t take any cut of the money generated.Second Life “has a very high property tax and basically a zero consumption tax,” Altberg said. “With Sansar, we want property tax to be as low as we can make it and share a bit more in the consumption of goods and services.”

Source: Second Life Lessons: What Linden Lab is doing differently with its new VR platform | ZDNet