If you relate to being “analog in a digital world,” you are not alone. Smartphone apps are not universally adored. Uber is launching a way to order a ride by calling, but only in select markets. This service, available now in Florida and Arizona, should appeal to those more comfortable calling someone than using a smartphone app.
Uber and other rideshare apps have established an indelible footprint in the way city dwellers move throughout their world. Uber swept in, maximizing our growing dependence on our smartphones and the burgeoning gig economy. And the rest, as they say, is history.
Yet, now Uber wants to reach the rest of the estimated 19% of U.S. adults reported by Pew Research who don’t own smartphones and those who don’t use rideshare apps. One market is senior citizens. More than 40% of adults ages 65+ have yet to invest in a smartphone. Those who have smartphones don’t necessarily feel comfortable using apps like Uber.
Other people prefer making a phone call to using an app for various reasons. Apps are not easy to use for everyone. Some people struggle to see details on small screens; others may suffer from mobility issues like arthritis or carpal tunnel, making app use uncomfortable.
Still other people distrust the majority of apps and their nosy way of seeming to track our every move, both online and IRL. It is super creepy to have a conversation about something and then see an ad for that brand pop up on our phones.
The shift to smartphones and apps is not going anywhere soon, but there are people who will always prefer calling. Dialing up an Uber, much like pre-rideshare taxis, provides an additional option for a whole new market. At this time, you will speak to an actual human when you call 1-833-USE-UBER for a ride. However, you will need some kind of cellphone to receive driver’s name, car type, license plate, and ETA.
This move to capture a mostly untapped market for the rideshare company has the potential to rip more deeply into the fibers of taxi business.It could also bolster Uber’s business in a year following some of the biggest losses the company has seen. Growth has been the Uber mantra, though profitability is the target by 2021.
Diversifying into food delivery seems to have been a good move for Uber. Allowing people to call instead of using the app to summon their rides is further proof that Uber continues to pursue ways to grow. This may help the rideshare company reach those who have yet to get comfortable using “Uber” as a verb and those unwilling or unable to use the app.
Don’t get too excited yet, though, unless you live in Florida or Arizona, the two states where the phone service is up and running. We can only assume the service will be quick to expand into other markets if it does well there.
Failure to launch: Quibi’s short-form platform is short-lived
(TECH NEWS) Despite receiving major funding from big players, Quibi is shutting down only 6 months after launch. What led to their downfall?
Only 6 short months after launching its platform, Quibi has decided to pull the plug.
The mobile-only streaming service’s vision was to create short-form videos with higher production value than that of competitors like YouTube or TikTok. Having enlisted big names such as Steven Spielberg, Ridley Scott, Jennifer Lopez, and Lebron James, Quibi had high hopes for what the service could accomplish. In an open letter posted to Medium, founding company executives Jeffery Katzenberg and Meg Whitman cited timing and the idea of mobile-first premium storytelling not being strong enough as the primary reasons for shuttering.
“As entrepreneurs our instinct is to always pivot, to leave no stone unturned — especially when there is some cash runway left — but we feel that we’ve exhausted all our options.” The letter stated, “As a result we have reluctantly come to the difficult decision to wind down the business, return cash to our shareholders, and say goodbye to our colleagues with grace. We want you to know we did not give up on this idea without a fight.”
The move is somewhat surprising considering that back in March the service managed to raise an additional $750 million in funding, bringing its total fundraising to $1.75 billion. At the time, Quibi CFO Ambereen Toubassy had touted that the second-round of cash had provided the organization with “a strong cash runway,” that would give Quibi “the financial wherewithal to build content and technology that consumers embrace.”
Originally called “New TV”, the initial investors of the service included Hollywood titans Disney, NBCUniversal, and Sony Pictures Entertainment just to name a few. While the amount of money raised was minuscule compared to services like Netflix, it was still an impressive start for an untested idea.
The service did itself no favors, however, in trying to gain new subscribers. Along with being mobile-only, the service started at $4.99 per month for an ad-supported subscription, only slightly cheaper from more robust offerings like Hulu and ESPN+. While you could pay $7.99 per month to get rid of ads, you were also forbidden from taking screenshots, limiting the ability of content on the service to go viral.
Quibi was also financing content, meaning that ownership would revert back to creators after just a few short years. This means building a growing library of content owned by the service was an uphill battle from the start.
“This was flawed from the start, down to the idea of financing content and then giving it back to the creators after a few years.” Said a veteran producer who refused to work with the company, “There is anger in town right now, because it just makes it harder to raise money.”
Quibi is set to be inaccessible starting around the beginning of December, according to a post on the company’s support site. While much of the service’s content will not be missed, one still wonders what might have been had the company managed to gain some traction, or the COVID-19 pandemic had not come to pass. Either way, Quibi’s business partners may want to read up on some of these tips as they discuss where things should go from here.
Acorns launches job searching tool, but is that what job hunters need?
(TECH NEWS) When it comes to job searching, many people are able to find jobs online, it’s getting the interview where people need help.
If you are currently job searching, you are likely going to sites like Indeed (250M unique visitors monthly) and LinkedIn (260M users monthly). You may also be checking out ZipRecruiter because they’ve advertised on every single podcast you’ve ever listened to. Just for fun, you might also be looking at jobs on Craigslist for your local area. This could have excited you or depressed you.
If you want an easy way to aggregate several job search sites, you may like the app Huntr that will pull in job postings (after you put in some preferences) from Glassdoor, Google, LinkedIn, ZipRecruiter, GitHub, the muse, Dice, Monster, Indeed, Angel.co, Dribbble, etc. so you have them all within one place.
Acorns has joined in on the job postings board by implementing a Job Finder within their app, in an effort to help people find work which makes sense if they want more people to save through their platform. “Acorns is an American financial technology and financial services company based in Irvine, California that specializes in micro-investing and robo-investing. As of 2019, Acorns had over 4.5 million users and over $1.2 billion in assets under management.”
The article from The Press that describes it tells consumers about adding in a Job Finder to help millions of people find jobs. But really, it’s great as a positive public relations initiative (and likely will drive more visits to ZipRecruiter postings) since it’s within their app. The gesture is nice but will it really help?
“Within a few taps, Acorns customers at every tier can find millions of full-time, part-time, and remote job opportunities, set job alerts, and explore custom career development content to support their financial wellness at no additional cost. By introducing Job Finder to its financial wellness system, Acorns is looking after the financial best interests of the up-and-coming and removing a main barrier to its customers achieving their money goals.”
Most people know where to find job postings. What they don’t know is why they aren’t hearing back from their applications or how to be invited for more interviews. It would be great if companies really wanted to help make an impact on unemployment by:
- Offering career coaching services or references to candidates that do not fit what the hiring manager or HR person is looking for.
- Giving people access to what key skills they need on their resume within the job posting (less vague and generic descriptions).
- Within the automated rejection letters, including a referral or resources that will help them break through the clutter or introduce them to current employees or how to get to know the company better – in case there’s a position that is a better fit.
- Ensuring that all job postings are for real jobs and real openings – it should be made clear to candidates if the job posting is for pipelining talent and/or not going to be offered to an external candidate.
- Bringing back some humans in to the automated process. Yes, ATS (Applicant Tracking Systems) are great for the employers and companies who are fielding hundreds of applicants. They are terrible for the 40 million currently unemployed. More about ATS here from Jobscan if you are curious. They are built to knock out candidates.
- Considering hosting webinars, educational speakers, or events where candidates can get in front of you versus solely relying on online submissions.
- Contemplating implementing an apprentice program so that less experienced applicants may gain knowledge and learn from more experienced workers – but you would also be getting fresh ideas and new talent for growth within your organization.
There are many caring people and organizations out there so it would be great to see some more assistance for job seekers versus just more places listing job postings or the same job boards but in different formats.
There also seems to be a mismatch in looking to hire someone based on what they have done in the past – when really, the best qualified candidate may have a different background and be looking to make a switch to continue to grow and learn. The perfect match of key words in a database to a resume are not always the best way to find the right fit.
Bet you forgot about them: Yahoo Groups is shutting down
(TECH NEWS) After over a year-long process, Yahoo is finally shutting down Yahoo Groups for good, marking the end of an internet era.
For a long while, most of us forgot that Yahoo Groups still existed in a very limited way, of course. But now, it’s going to be discontinued for good. Yahoo announced that the Yahoo Groups website will be shutting down on December 15, 2020.
The removal process of Yahoo Groups is one that began in October of last year. At that time, Yahoo decided to no longer allow new content to be uploaded to the Groups site. Features that allowed for sharing files and photos, creating polls, etc. were all removed. However, users could still view and download any existing content. On its website, a statement read, “Don’t worry, though, Yahoo Groups is not going away…” But, we all knew that was never going to be the case.
In December 2019, the Yahoo Customer Care Twitter account tweeted that content on the Groups site would no longer be available or viewable. Users had until the end of January to download their data before it would be permanently deleted. All public groups became private and would require administrator approval to join. Also, admins had limited access to other administration tools, but group members could, at least, still send messages to each other.
Earlier this month, the creation of new groups was disabled. And now, the end of Yahoo Groups is on the horizon. On its site, a pop-up message reads:
Announcement: End of Yahoo Groups
We’re shutting down the Yahoo Groups website on December 15, 2020 and members will no longer be able to send or receive emails from Yahoo Groups. Yahoo Mail features will continue to function as expected and there will be no changes to your Yahoo Mail account, emails, photos or other inbox content. There will also be no changes to other Yahoo properties or services. You can find more information about the Yahoo Groups shutdown and alternative service options on this help page.
Yahoo said, “Yahoo Groups has seen a steady decline in usage over the last several years.” As a result, this is why the company decided to shut it down. “While these decisions are never easy, we must sometimes make difficult decisions regarding products that no longer fit our long-term strategy as we hone our focus on other areas of the business,” Yahoo added.
What became of Yahoo Groups isn’t even a bare-bones version of what it was during its prime. And, frankly, I don’t think it will ever be resurrected. Sometimes all good things must come to an end.
But, if you are a former Groups user and want to stay connected with your groups, the Yahoo Groups’ help page, hopefully, has all your answers.
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