Etsy Suffers Amazon Hit, While Ford’s Chariot Needs Licenses

October 24, 2017, 12:49 PM UTC

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Some days are for mopping up. So instead of one piece today, you get four updates on stories I’ve been following.


Chariot, the micro-transit service owned by Ford (F), briefly suspended operations in San Francisco last week, resuming Monday. Apparently some of its drivers didn’t have the special operating licenses required to drive Chariot’s Ford shuttle buses.

Chariot has prided itself on operating within the law, but plenty of battles loom. Authorities in San Francisco are bothered by the service’s double-parking and also by its routes that too closely resemble those of local mass transit.

Operating within the lines might ultimately prove as challenging as taking Uber’s approach.


I was marveling recently at the sheer volume of projects Amazon (AMZN) dives into without seeming to care if they succeed. Groceries, TV shows, and shoes are a few categories Amazon has been willing to hang onto for years. Along came the announcement Monday about Amazon Handmade, the retailer’s Etsy-killer product that is expanding. “The Handmade Gift Shop makes shopping for the perfect handcrafted gifts while supporting small businesses across the globe easier than ever before,” Amazon’s news release cheerfully chirped.

Shares of crafts marketplace Etsy (ETSY), up dramatically since hiring American Express veteran Josh Silverman (an old friend of mine) as CEO, dropped 4%.


I neglected to mention one thing Monday about Actua, the former Internet Capital Group, in my unflattering comparison to Masayoshi Son’s Vision Fund quest. Yes, Actua is still alive. But no, it won’t be for long. Actua recently said it is selling its remaining assets and is planning to wind down its operations.

It turns out that ICG wasn’t built to last. Not nearly. But it did last 21 years. That’s impressive.


I’ve been reading voraciously about the ongoing Chinese Community Party conclave, given that my colleagues and I will be in Guangzhou in early December for two Fortune conferences. Political consultant and would-be media mogul Ian Bremmer sent his clients his typically unique take on President Xi Jinping’s promise that China would become a modern power by 2050.

“Make no mistake about it, this represents a sea change in Chinese foreign policy. All of the talk for decades about China following Deng [Xiaoping]’s low-profile approach of ‘hiding its capabilities and biding its time;’ officials describing China as a teenager; needing to walk before it can run; not having interest or capabilities to play a leadership role… Xi essentially announced a change in China’s perspective from teenager to full adult overnight.”

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