The 11th Hour Dispatch – Wednesday, April 18, 2018

| April 18, 2018

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BINGE WATCH

Amazon and Best Buy have penned a multi-year deal to hawk a line of Fire TV Edition Smart TVs in the electronics superstores that I hated going to with my dad as a kid because he would waste an entire precious day of my Powerpuff Girl marathons staring at plasma screens. More than 10 new models from Insignia and Toshiba will be released as part of this deal, all with Fire TV and Amazon Alexa voice navigation features built in. This is a major way for Amazon to compete against Android TV and the Purple People Eaters (Roku), which are completely dominating the Smart TV market right now, and this deal has the potential to put Fire TV in so many more homes than it could be as just an OTT box.

YOUNG MONEY

Starbucks’ consumer perception numbers have dropped to their lowest since 2015 after two black men were forcibly removed from a Philadelphia Starbucks by six police officers for not ordering anything. YouGov BrandIndex, a leader in brand perception research, announced that Starbucks’ “buzz score” dropped from a healthy 13 to a -8 on Tuesday. The last time Starbucks’ perception level dropped this low was when the coffee company released an all red holiday cup instead of its traditional “symbols of the season” cup and everyone lost their minds. Starbucks will close over 8,000 U.S. stores to on May 29 to hold mandatory racial bias trainings in response, but if you log onto the Tweeter Totter (Twitter), you’ll notice that many consumers aren’t buying the attempted damage control. The coffee company only closed down 0.55% today, but brand perception is a massive part of a company’s success, so I’d keep an eye on that SBUX ticker over the coming days. 

BIG BUSINESS

A former employee of Cambridge Analytica — the company that is all over the headlines for scraping the data of 87 million Facebook users — has revealed that it reportedly planned to launch a cryptocurrency that would allow people to sell their personal data in exchange for tokens. Brittany Kaiser, who left Cambridge Analytica in February, said that offering its data services in combination with crypto was a common practice. She even revealed that the data company had worked with Dragon Coin, which is a currency intended to be used by gamblers in Macau and is believed to be connected to Wan Kuok-koi, a leader of the Hong Kong-based 14K Triad, a criminal group known for large-scale drug trafficking, prostitution, and money laundering. In other news, people don’t seem to care that the dark side of revealing every waking fact about yourself to the web is coming to the light, as social media usage is actually increasing. Global social media usage grew by 100 million in just the first three months of this year. 

NOTHIN’ BUT ‘NET

Turns out Tammie Jo Shults — the pilot that saved 148 people after a Southwest Airlines plane’s left engine blew out midflight — is a pretty rad lady.

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