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UBERS DON’T KILL PEOPLE
… people with Computer Engineering degrees from Stanford kill people. According to the NTSB, the crash that killed a cyclist in Tempe, Arizona in March wasn’t caused by a failure in Uber’s self-driving vehicle sensors … although its object identification skills were questionable at best and that of Helen Keller at worst …
[At approximately 6 seconds until impact] “Hey, look, an unknown object. Or maybe that’s a vehicle. OH F*CK, bicycle!”
And at T-1.3 seconds, the Volvo XC90 SUV knew an emergency braking maneuver was necessary. But the brain trust at Uber disables automatic braking when computer driving is enabled.
Thus, a standard Volvo safety feature was disabled to avoid “erratic vehicle behavior.” Plan B? A human … who promises she wasn’t on the phone at the time of the accident.
Water Cooler Talking Point: “If this isn’t definitive proof that robots are superior to humans, I’m not really sure what is.”
ROVER FETCHES $155M
The dogsitting, walking, and boarding startup, Rover just raised $155M in their second round of funding.
The $155M is broken up into $125M in equity and a $30M credit facility, valuing Rover at ruff-ly $970M. The very good startup fetched $156M in its first round of funding.
Rover merged with DogVacay via an all-stock deal around this time last year to better compete with Wag, who recently raised $300M by way of SoftBank and its Vision Fund.
Water Cooler Talking Point: “Every time I hear about an app that raises an outlandish amount of money for a less-than-novel service, I can’t help but feel for Craigslist. You the real MVP.”
IF YOU’RE NOT FIRST, YOU’RE LAST
More like Netflix and zero chill. The streaming service just surpassed Walt Disney as the largest media company in the world (by market cap). A major milestone for the little streaming service that could.
Bringing the happiest place on earth to its knees was no easy feat. Netflix crossed the threshold with a market cap of $152B, valuing each share at $349.93, a 1.5% increase over the course of Thursday alone.
To compete with Netflix, Disney recently released an ESPN streaming service that was the Worldwide Leader’s first foray into direct-to-consumer services. Highlights of the package include D3 collegiate volleyball and intramural badminton.
But don’t underestimate the most magical workplace on earth. The home of anthropomorphic mice plans to imagineer a Disney streaming service as well.
Water Cooler Talking Point: “Does anyone remember what happened to the last company that dethroned Mickey Mouse? Exactly. Mickey is like LeBron in the playoffs, and Netflix better watch their back.”
IN OTHER NEWS
- President Trump called off the NoKo summit due to “tremendous anger and hostility” coming from Kim Jong Un. Unsurprisingly, stock markets were not a fan of the potential threat of nuclear war.
- Chipotle is installing drive-thrus in some of its more popular locations in an attempt to draw in more customers. Here’s the catch: you’ve still got to order ahead of time. Hmmm, what could one possibly do in a car to kill 15 minutes waiting for Chipotle to be ready?
- The U.S threat of tariffs on auto imports gave Asian and European car companies a scare yesterday. You know, the countries where the good cars come from.
- Merrill Lynch announced that it is changing its pay structure for financial advisor’s sales targets.
- Home improvement lender, GreenSky IPO’d at $23, lower than initially expected. GreenSky shareholder’s reaction? “Hey it could be worse, we could be Snap.”
- US indices were down yesterday:
- DOW: -0.30%
- S&P 500: -0.20
- NASDAQ: -0.02%