The Home Assistant Market Is Heating Up, Plus More Than Half Of Americans Are Happy With Their Job
“Haha that’s my dad”
“HE DIDN’T TELL ME THAT”
Chloe Khosrowshahi, daughter of new Uber CEO, Dara Khosrowshahi, finding out about her dad’s new gig from an NYTimes push notification her friend was sent. Seriously, dad?
- U.S. indexes finished up—the Nasdaq posted its biggest weekly gain (2.7%) since December.
- Manufacturing activity hit a six-year high.
- Gasoline prices continued to rise, affected by flooding from Harvey.
- Gold reached a nine-and-a-half month high after nonfarm payrolls.
Hello, How Can I Help?
Amazon’s Alexa is proving to be high-maintenance, so that you too can be high-maintenance.
To keep its voice-enabled darling in tip-top shape while maintaining its status as the industry’s go-to home assistant, Amazon is hiring nearly 1,500 engineers for its Alexa Division (it’s at 3,000 employees currently).
Why so much focus on Alexa? While the Retail Products group might be Bezos’ biggest cash cow (67.2% of Amazon’s $136 billion in 2016 revenue), there’s a promising (but competitive) future ahead for Alexa.
The home assistant market is heating up
Shortly after Alexa knocked on our doors in late 2014, Google, Siri (Apple), Bixby (Samsung), and Cortana (Microsoft) quickly followed suit.
Ever since, Amazon has done its best to stay ahead, hiring 3,000 employees, boosting Alexa’s “skills” from 900 to 15,000, and selling 11 million smart speakers. It currently holds ~82% of a home assistant market on pace to hit $13 billion by 2024.
But will that be enough? When initially tested, Google’s assistant answered 77% of the 800 questions Alexa could. Only six months later they were on level playing fields. Maybe that’s because Google has a competitive advantage.
Alexa gets smarter through your Amazon website data and voice-enabled requests, but Google has been tracking your every search from “Does farting burn calories?” to “My cat looks like Hitler.”
So what’s the big deal? I’m just asking for recipe suggestions
Sure, you made a pretty kickass rosemary chicken last week, and Alexa was happy to help. But her ambitions span beyond your wildest dietary pleasures.
With the Internet of Things (IoT), we are getting closer and closer to a world where your oven might be speaking Mandarin to the dryer and your thermostat might be hitting on the toaster. Think of it like one giant house party hosted by Alexa.
And the party’s just getting bigger. The average household has 10 devices connected to the internet, whereas by 2020, that number is expected to hit 50.
So you better believe Alexa, Google, Siri, Bixby, and Cortana all want to be chosen as the artificially intelligent hub that connects your home.
You’ve Got the Job
Starting that new job after the long weekend? We like your style.
The U.S. economy added 156,000 nonfarm payroll jobs on Friday while unemployment rose .1% to 4.4%—but both were slightly below expectations.
And the wage report wasn’t much better. Wage growth remains stuck at 2.5% despite decade-high consumer confidence and strong job growth, leaving economists scratching their heads.
And with inflation at 1.7%, real wage growth actually amounts to less than 1% year-over-year. Employees should be unhappy…right?
More than half of American workers are happy with their jobs—a first since 2005. Perhaps it’s because GDP growth is up to 3% or they’ve finally gotten rid of the post-recession jitters. Or perhaps, there are other factors at play.
- Job security is on the rise—over 52% of respondents don’t fear being laid off. That’s up from 46% in 2011.
- Wage satisfaction is growing as well—41% say they are happy with their pay, up from 36% in 2011.
But that’s not the only thing that’s got Jim from accounting taking shots off his tax forms:
- People at work are the most important—61% of people are happy socially.
- Supervisors are on the comeup—57% of people are happy with their supervisors.
- Interest in work is causing a buzz—58% are happy with what they do.
So even though employees are happy with tangible categories like performance reviews, bonus plans, and promotion policies, it is the work environment that is most satisfying.
But We Hardly Got to Know Each Other
Dow Chemical—the 120-year-old, 54,000 employee, second-largest chemical manufacturer (by market cap) that is spread across 160 countries.
- Best known for: styrofoam and artificial turf.
DuPont—the 216-year-old, 52,000 employee, fourth-largest chemical manufacturer that has a presence in 90 countries.
- Best known for: invention of Kevlar.
Now, the two have officially joined forces in a $130 billion merger (one of the largest ever) and will henceforth be known as DowDuPont. Not very catchy, but luckily it won’t be this way for long.
Almost immediately after closing a deal that began in 2015, DowDuPont will split into three publicly traded industry powerhouses: agriculture ($19 billion), materials science ($51 billion), and specialty products ($13 billion).
Though that decision has drawn criticism from big shot investors like Daniel Loeb, DowDuPont’s new 16-member board (eight from Dow and eight from DuPont) believes this is the best way to draw efficiencies from each group.
And to be absolutely sure the split is the right move, the chemical behemoth is looking to the business gurus at McKinsey for what we like to call a hundred billion dollar sanity check.
Morning Brew 2017 Fall Internship Program
Brew Crew is proud to introduce Morning Brew’s inaugural Internship Program, a 10-week, invite-only experience for our community’s most passionate and ambitious college readers. Here’s the quick and dirty: if accepted, you and 49 peers in the Fall cohort will walk away from the internship with two major takeaways:
- Recruit 1,000 people from your campus to the Morning Brew community (with hands-on help from the Brew Crew, of course)
- Receive a high quality, two-part education that:
- Helps you secure the internship or job of your dreams
- Prepares you for real-world skills not taught in college
What are you waiting for?
Apply to the internship HERE
What Else Is Happening…
- The Chinese government has banned initial coin offerings.
- OTT streaming service Roku has filed for an IPO.
- Novartis’ CEO Joe Jimenez will step down in January.
- Carpooling service Via has raised $250 million (led by Daimler) for expansion to Europe.
- Friday (September 1st):
- Earnings: No Events Today
- Economic Calendar: Auto Sales (+), ISM Manufacturing Index (+), Construction Spending (-), Consumer Sentiment, Baker-Hughes Rig Count
- Earnings: No Events Today
- Economic Events: No Events Today
- Earnings: Dave & Buster’s, HPE, Simon Property Group
- Economic Events: Factory Orders
- Earnings: Yext
- Economic Events: MBA Mortgage Applications, International Trade, ISM Non-Manufacturing Index
- Earnings: Barnes & Noble, Cloudera
- Economic Calendar: Jobless Claims, Petroleum Status, Fed Balance Sheet
- Earnings: Kroger, PetSmart
- Economic Calendar: Wholesale Trade, Baker-Hughes Rig Count, Consumer Credit
College Football (By The Numbers)
With the start of college football, more than 179 million fans will try and top the 100 billion combined minutes of football watched last season.
Time to get you ready for the season:
15 million—unique viewership across all devices during the 2016 season.
- That’s a new record and 17% higher than 2015.
$51 million—Alabama’s football budget in 2015, the highest of any football program.
- Don’t worry, it brought in $97 million in revenue.
$400 million—the Big Ten’s new media contract. Per year…
- Conference USA’s contract is $2.8 million a year.
$9 million—Michigan head coach Jim Harbaugh’s salary—the highest paid college football coach.
- Alabama’s Nick Saban is number two at $6.9 million.
Question of the Day
One is normal, and one is blank. How do you number the second dice, so you have an equal chance of getting any number?
Who Am I?
- In 2010, I cofounded an online payments company with my brother
- My brother and I became the youngest self-made billionaires in 2016
- I dropped out of Harvard to pursue my company
- The company I founded is worth $9.2 billion
Guess the Business Term
C DI EFA T S P
Stat of the Day
That’s how many grocery chains are testing out IBM’s blockchain technology for tracking food throughout their global supply chains. WalMart was able to track the exact sourcing of bad produce within 2.2 seconds, down from almost seven days.