Data Sheet—Monday, July 31, 2017
Welcome back to the work week. Aaron in for Adam, who is on vacation.
My car is aging. At 11 years old and with its key feature, the convertible roof, now in need of an expensive repair, I’m due–probably overdue–to go car shopping. And since most of my driving consists of short trips, I’m also in the target market for an electric car. Let’s just say I was paying very close attention to Friday night’s coming out party for the new Tesla 3—the Tesla for the rest of us.
If you missed it, I’ve also scoured the Internets for coverage of the Tesla 3, which starts at $35,000 for a basic model with a claimed range of 220 miles.
Fortune’s electric car expert, Kirsten Korosec, got a chance for a short test drive and found the car to be “simple without being cheap, it is roomy without being big.”
The driving enthusiasts at Car and Driver gave the Tesla 3 a firm thumbs up, in one of the more detailed reviews, saying it’s “plenty zippy and handles well.” Charlie Turner is just raving over on the BBC’s Top Gear site. Minimal road noise, meaty steering and acceleration delivered with “a lovely linearity and unwavering torque,” whatever that means, he says. And in a more normal folks-type review, the Washington Post’s Peter Holley explains why the Tesla’s cutting edge features are “single-handedly pulling the automotive industry into the present–the way anyone born before the Internet thought 2017 would look like decades earlier.” Many of those features add to the base price of the Tesla 3, however, and Electrek has a good rundown that compares Tesla’s extra charges to those on a BMW 330i.
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Still, despite all the positive press, I have a few nagging doubts. Battery life and driving range supposedly shrink in cold weather like we have in the northeast in winter. And I worry that the touchscreen-based controls for everything from the air conditioning to the radio to even the windshield wipers could be occasionally distracting. My 2006 BMW is still all analog, all the way. But there is also the voice interface, not to mention the autopilot. Car and Driver’s Jordan Golson says: “Let your worries about the lack of an instrument cluster fade away.” Sounds like good advice. Now about that three-year waiting list…
No impact. Consumer marketing giant Procter & Gamble is rethinking its digital efforts after a $100 million cut to online ad spending had no impact on sales. The maker of Tide detergent and Pampers diapers said it tried to cut out ads on sites with fake traffic or offensive content. "We’re not going to follow a formula of how much you spend or share of voice," CEO David Taylor told the Wall Street Journal. "We want every dollar to add value for the consumer or add value for our stakeholders."
No interest. This was supposed to be the year of mega-deals in telecommunications, but the news so far instead is filled with deals that won't happen. After Sprint's early effort to combine with T-Mobile ran aground, it turned to some of the big cable players. But on Sunday night, Charter Communications said it had "no interest" in buying Sprint.
No bounty. In the legal world, some Pokemon Go fans filed a lawsuit against the game's developer, Niantic, after they traveled to a Pokemon festival in Chicago but couldn't access rare, new monsters that were supposed to be available. Niantic gave out refunds and $100 gaming credits, but that didn't satisfy attendees who spent more getting to Chicago. "What was the incentive that people relied on and the representations that people relied on to buy a ticket and make travel plans," Thomas Zimmerman, the lawyer representing the group, told Polygon.
No texting. Honolulu became one of the first cities to ban use of smartphones while crossing the street. According to some studies, thousands of pedestrians have been injured due to "distracted walking," a growing problem in the Aloha state. "We hold the unfortunate distinction of being a major city with more pedestrians being hit in crosswalks, particularly our seniors, than almost any other city in the country," Mayor Kirk Caldwell said.
No cable. Cord cutting continues apace. Five of the largest pay TV providers lost a combined 527,000 subscribers in the second quarter.
No disappearance. Could the pioneering music and podcast service SoundCloud be saved? The startup is running out of money and laid off 40% of its staff recently. But Bloomberg reports that SoundCloud is now close to raising new funding from two unnamed private equity firms.
FOOD FOR THOUGHT
Speaking of cord cutting, Netflix is the leading brand for the future of TV, there's no denying it. With over 100 million subscribers worldwide and a stock price that keep going up (49% and counting in 2017), Reed Hastings' baby certainly looks poised for continued success. But David Ng at the Los Angeles Times dug into the video streaming giant's financials over the weekend, and he's warning about the growing pile of debt–almost $21 billion–that could eventually cause problems. Mike Vorhaus, president of Magid Advisors, tells Ng:
Nobody is ever the dominant player forever. I think they're going to need some luck in not drowning in debt in the ultimate slowdown of growth.
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT
Court Says Politicians Can’t Block Critics on Social Media by David Z. Morris
Apple Has Pulled Anti-Censorship Apps from China’s App Store by David Z. Morris
It's the End of the Katie Couric Era at Yahoo by John Patrick Pullen
How a Moment of Doubt Changed Foursquare by Polina Marinova
Apple Faces Lawsuit Over ‘What Did He Say?’ Feature by Don Reisinger
BEFORE YOU GO
Young people today are called "digital natives" because they grew up with so many of the new technologies that the rest of us had to get used to, especially the ubiquitous smartphone. But some assumptions about digital natives may be false, according to a new study. In an editorial, the journal Nature warns that younger people are no better at multitasking with tech gadgets than anyone else. So maybe it's time to put the phone down, and not just while crossing the street in Honolulu.