Here come the reopening playbooks


May 5, 2020

May 5, 2020
The Hustle
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Giving Tuesday is coming back early. The Tuesday after Thanksgiving is usually reserved for charitable giving, a brief moment of goodwill surrounded by the insanity of Black Friday and the holiday shopping season. But today, the nonprofit group behind Giving Tuesday is bringing it back with #GivingTuesdayNow.

You can mark the occasion by giving to your favorite charity, buying a gift card to support a beloved local restaurant, or just reaching out to a neighbor in need. It’ll make your quarantined Cinco de Mayo celebration feel even better.

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Digging Out

Get ready for a wave of returning-to-work tools

Yesterday, Salesforce unveiled a set of software products aimed at helping businesses navigate really tricky territory — how to reopen their companies to employees and customers.

More states are easing their coronavirus restrictions and allowing businesses to open once again. 

But it’s not clear that customers will come back right away, or that businesses will throw open their doors as soon as they’re allowed to (last week, 120+ Georgia restaurants said they would keep their doors shut for now).

For businesses that do reopen, one thing seems clear: Beyond throwing up a bunch of protective hardware (thermal cameras! plexiglass shields!) or removing furniture (we won’t miss you, shared desks), no one has an especially strong playbook for what the process should look like.

Salesforce wants to help

The company’s new portal at Work.com shows off everything it’s offering: contact tracing, emergency-response management, and other tools to help businesses manage shifts and monitor the health of their workers.

As Axios points out, Salesforce’s new products are some of the 1st software solutions aimed at tackling the reopening conundrum. 

If the herd of Zoom copycats and Zoom-adjacent startups are any clue, you can expect more to follow soon. Handing out reopening advice could become its own cottage industry.

And the advice won’t always be free: Salesforce, for its part, will charge $5-$50 per user per month for its various tools.

Here’s why these offerings are important: As Simon Mulcahy, Salesforce’s chief innovation officer, told ZDNet: The way companies take care of people in the reopening period “will have an enduring impact on trust.”

In other words: You may want to get business flowing again, but if you screw up while you do it, it could cost you dearly in the long run.

Work.com is another big play from Marc Benioff

The Salesforce CEO made waves in the early stages of the coronavirus pandemic by pledging not to lay off workers for 90 days — and urging fellow execs to follow his lead.

He also organized a huge effort to obtain 50m pieces of personal protective equipment for American medical facilities.

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Making It Work

The fashion world is officially endorsing your home catwalks

Now’s the time to put the finishing touches on your mid-kitchen sashay. 

The 1st at-home runway show of the fashion cycle — hosted by a former Vogue Paris editor — has slunk onto the scene. 

On YouTube, models catwalked across their living rooms, showing off bodysuits and chain-link dresses to (presumably) a bunch of normies watching in day-old sweatpants. 

The show was a success, with one tiny downside: People were paying much closer attention to insides of the supermodels’ houses — the marble kitchens and oversized closets — than the actual clothes. 

As PopSugar headlined its review of the show, “Can We PLEASE Address the Beautiful Homes These Supermodels Live In?”

COVID-19 is causing a high-fashion frockus 

Fashion shows in Shanghai and Moscow had already livestreamed events from official venues, just without live audiences, but the Fashion Unites event was the first to be broadcast from home. 

Fashion designers are calling this brave new world “phygital” — yes, that’s a combination of “physical” and “digital” — and they’re predicting many more at-home runways in our future. This June, you can parachute into London Fashion Week through its online platform.

But phygital fashion isn’t the only game in town. To show off their new kicks, other designers are trying out VR fashion shows or taking to Animal Crossing.

Now serving looks from home

Normally, the first Monday of May is set aside for Rihanna worship — it’s the Met Gala.

But with the biggest night in high fashion canceled this year, even plebs suddenly whipped out their fashion cards.

Non-celebrities everywhere re-created famous Met Gala outfits using bedsheets and dried spaghetti. Teens across High-Fashion Twitter posted their own original Gala outfits on #HFMetGala2020.

They upstaged the official Met Gala event of the night: Anna Wintour’s YouTube retrospective, featuring a performance by Florence + the Machine.

But let’s be realistic: Judging by the size of those supermodels’ houses, if any of us wants to steal the runway this season, we’re going to need much bigger kitchens.

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The Zoom Arm of the Law

One of America’s most technophobic institutions took a step out of the dark ages

Pigs didn’t fly and hell didn’t freeze over. But with the historic shifts that went down at the Supreme Court yesterday, we might believe you if you said they did.

America’s highest-flying legal eagles are famously allergic to technology. News reporters who cover the oral arguments are reduced to pen-and-paper scribblers (they don’t call us ink-stained wretches for nothing).

Electronic devices, including phones and video cameras, are a no-no, to the dismay of networks and lawyers worldwide.

Anyone craving a more lifelike account of the arguments typically has to wait for an audio recording to be released. Or make do with a sketch.

Until Monday.

To make your case, dial 1-800-Oyez-Oyez

For the first time, the court held arguments by teleconference — and allowed regular Janes and Joes to listen to the justices grill the lawyers in real time on C-SPAN.

The case at hand involved a trademark fight between the government and the online travel agency Booking.com.

By all accounts, the technology behaved — save for one moment when Justice Sonia Sotomayor apparently forgot to unmute herself (see, they really are just like us).

That said, one long-standing court tradition definitely went out the window: Justice Clarence Thomas, who’s famous for his silence on the bench, actually *asked questions* — his first since March 2019 and a major rarity in recent years.

The veteran political analyst Jeff Greenfield’s take: “Apparently all these years, he was just waiting for the chance to be on Zoom.” (Seriously: Thomas has said he’s no fan of the way questions and interruptions fly at oral arguments IRL).

Now for the important question

What’s in a justice’s Zoom background?

We didn’t get to see them, but the veteran court sketcher Arthur Lien used his imagination: Justice John Roberts was workin’ the switchboard, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg pumped some iron, and Justice Neil Gorsuch called in on one of those awesomely ’80s Gordon Gekko cell phones.

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They Stole What?!

This tween auto heist is shaking up the crime world

While most non-essential workers were moping around their homes, a group of kids pulled off the heist of the season.

Over the last month and a half, cars mysteriously disappeared from dealerships across Winston-Salem, North Carolina. Audi, Toyota, and Lexus dealers were all hit. Forty-six cars — totaling $1.1m+ — went MIA. 

Late last week, the city found its culprits: A group of kids aged 9 to 16, who had been pilfering cars since March 17. Never mind that almost none of the kids was able to drive without a parent.

This crime spree was a rare exception

Crime is down across the globe, and illegal money is so tight that Brian’s Club — a black market for stolen credit cards — has generously offered “pandemic support” to loyal customers who’ve taken a financial hit.

The pandemic has been especially tough for scammers recruiting money mules — AKA regular people who are enticed to deposit fraudulent checks or ship illegal goods.

Long shipping and banking wait times have stalled the mule biz. 

But never fear, scammers are staying optimistic 

The research firm Intel 471 said one criminal believes the downturn “will make it easier to recruit low-level accomplices such as money mules.”

And while many professional lawbreakers are scrambling, these are boom times for cybercriminals involved in phishing schemes. 

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Snippets

📉 The first major retail domino to fall? J. Crew filed for bankruptcy protection.

👀 A Quibi quarrel gets more interesting: The activist hedge fund Elliott Management is bankrolling a patent lawsuit against the mobile-video startup Quibi.

⚾️ A sign of our thirst for live sports: ESPN just inked a deal for the rights to air games of the Korean Baseball Organization.

💸 Why making money on TikTok isn’t nearly as easy as it might seem.

🙊 WTF? There’s big business in selling merch adorned with curse words.

🏡 For Sale: Elon Musk’s mansions?

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