Check the specs… and more
The Hustle

Check the specs… and more

Today, Micky D’s doubles down on drive-thru tech while antitrust regulators deal with yet another stacked deck, but first…


Listen to our podcast 🎧 Today on My First Million, learn how Brian Scudamore turned one man’s trash into his own treasure — to the tune of $400m-a-year.

Apple unveiled the iPhone 11 with predictable pomp… and broke Chinese labor law to do it

Yesterday morning, Apple introduced several new iPhones, a new iPad, a new Watch, and several new services.

Earlier this week, Apple also admitted to violating labor laws at its massive iPhone factory in Zhengzhou to produce the shiny new phones for the highly anticipated launch.

Here’s everything you need to know about both sides of the story.

Apple released its gadgets in a predictably flashy event…

And, as usual, it featured plenty of confusing suffixes, grayscale garments, unnecessary slow-motion videos, and long-winded explanations of how new products differ from seemingly identical predecessors. 

The main announcements were:

The biggest surprise was an iPhone price cut — the iPhone 11 starts at $700, compared to $750 for last year’s iPhone X (prices for premium models will remain the same). The cost cut is likely due to the less-than-stellar sales of Apple’s pricier products last year.

But the costs weren’t the only things that Apple cut… 

… It also cut some legal corners to get there

A few days ago, a watchdog group called China Labor Watch accused Apple of breaking a bushel of laws at its Zhengzhou Foxconn facility, the world’s largest iPhone factory (it’s often called “iPhone city”).

The report accused Apple of 18 workers’ rights violations ranging from forcing employees to work unpaid overtime to subjecting employees to verbal abuse to employing more contract workers than permitted by Chinese law. 

An Apple spokeswoman said most of the allegations were untrue — but admitted that Apple employed too many contract workers. 

According to Chinese labor law, no more than 10% of a factory’s labor force can consist of contract workers — who are paid overtime wages but often lack benefits.

But at iPhone city, more than 50% of employees worked on contract — meaning Apple exceeded the limit five times over. Apple often increases the number of contract workers on its force during busy times of the year — like, say, before a big product launch.

Bad Apple
My First Million Podcast by

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College side-hustle turned $400m/year behemoth

Got junk lying around? Moving out and need help cleaning up? Getting a lil’ Kondo’ing in this year?

Well, calling 1-800-GOT-JUNK is as easy as it looks — and, despite having “junk” in the name, their business is worth nearly $1B.

And it all started with $1,000, a pickup truck, and some paint. 

Listen to today’s episode of our podcast to learn how Brian Scudamore, the founder of 1-800-GOT-JUNK, turned his college side-hustle into a $400m-a-year, nationwide business with thousands of employees.

Brian tells us all about his startup rollercoaster ride — including the time he had to fire all of his employees and start fresh. And the other time he made a wrong hire that led to a $40m (yes, million) decline in revenue. Yikes.

Hundreds of phone calls, millions of Starbucks cups, and one Oprah appearance later, 1-800-GOT-JUNK is like a phoenix rising from the junk heap ashes.

Click below to listen to today’s episode for free and learn how Brian turned one man’s trash into his own treasure.

McDonald’s acquires voice-recognition company to improve its drive-thru game

McDonald’s announced it will McBuy the Bay Area voice-recognition startup Apprente for an undisclosed amount.

According to McDonald’s, Apprente’s “sound-to-meaning” technology handles “complex, multilingual, multi-accent and multi-item conversational ordering,” and believes the technology will help streamline the drive-thru process — even faster food, you say?? 

This is the clown’s 3rd drive-thru tech investment this year

As the earth turns and the centuries change, so does the way people wish to order a Big Mac, and Micky D’s has the cash to listen.

Back in March, the company bought Dynamic Yield, which customizes drive-thru menus based on factors like weather, time of day, and customer order profiles.

A month later, it invested in New Zealand app-designer Plexure, which will help connect customers to its new smart drive-thrus, among other things.

Is Ronnie McD flipping human employees the burger?

McDonald’s has introduced new ways for customers to order food in recent years, including in-store touch screen kiosks, smartphone apps, and delivery platform integration with companies like Uber Eats — all of which lessen the need for human employees.

According to Fast Company, McDonald’s maintains all the new ordering tech is part of its efforts to “alleviate pressure on restaurant employees.” 

But an Apprente press release says its AI provides better customer service with a virtual voice that is “never sounding tired, annoyed, unhappy, or angry.”

Ohhh, “alleviate.” We get it.

Going up: Kone Oyj plans to bid on Thyssenkrupp’s elevator division

The Finnish elevator giant, Kone Oyj, has hired a law firm to advise it on a takeover bid for Thyssenkrupp AG’s elevator unit.

Thyssenkrupp could be worth as much as $19B, which means a merger would send Kone straight to the top floor of the market. 

More importantly, it would further consolidate the oligopoly that already exists in the industry.

The doors are closing…

In order of market share, Otis, Schindler, Kone Oyj, and Thyssenkrupp AG currently take up about 60% of the floors in the elevator biz.

It’s expensive to fix elevators. That, combined with tough service regulations, has been a natural repellent against new competitors since people first started “taking the elevator” a century ago.

About half of the big 4’s revenues are earned through repairs over new equipment sales. But, as the need for new elevators skyrockets in China — currently accounting for more than 60% of the world’s elevator installations — an acquisition of Thyssenkrup (which has a better foothold in China) could be the perfect opportunity for Kone to surpass its competitors.

Is a merger realistic? 

A decade ago, the big 4 were met with almost €1B in fines from the EU for running a price-fixing cartel in multiple countries — never a good platform to start on with antitrust regulators.

According to Bloomberg, a merger could equip Kone with more than $17.7B of sales.

Wrong floor
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Switching from ratings to impressions, TV stations finally join the 21st century

Starting this week, NBC and Telemundo-owned local TV stations are switching from traditional ratings points to impressions as a means of measuring an ad campaign’s efficacy, Axios reports.

Talk data to me

TV ratings are formulated by tracking the bingeing behavior of a representative sample of US households. 

But with more viewers watching content across multiple platforms — including smartphones, tablets, and computers — those ratings don’t always paint an accurate picture of the number of viewers who are watching.

And some areas have such small populations they don’t even create ratings points.

It’s like these viewers don’t even exist

NBC/Telemundo’s new system will measure ad effectiveness against cost per thousand impressions (CPM). CPM allows agencies to better target audiences they previously had been unable to reach.

Ad agencies had been discussing a switch to CPM in 2020 — but with NBC/Telemundo making the jump, it’s likely other networks will join in the fun.

And CPM isn’t the only metric that stations are rolling out. Next year, TV networks will include out-of-home (OOH) audiences in their rating roundups — a move that could benefit networks like ESPN and CNBC, which have high OOH viewership.

OOH, baby baby

These ex-Googlers were frustrated by digital advertising… so they did something about it

When Todd Saunders and Dan Pratt were working together on the Google Ads team, they quickly realized that even seasoned pros like themselves missed important insights when crunching numbers by hand.

Those slip-ups leave dollars on the table — and while large corps with bigger budgets can splurge on machine learning software to help do the math, there was nothing available for small business owners looking to advertise online. 

See where we’re going with this?

AdHawk for small businesses: A digital advertising dream

So, they created AdHawk, the easiest way for a small biz to report on and optimize their Google and Facebook ads. 

AdHawk’s tech identifies trends in your campaign data, then makes changes to improve performance. The result is a service that crushes it for small businesses everywhere. 

Whether you want monitoring, management, campaign optimization, or even testing — the holy grail of digital advertising — AdHawk has your back.

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