More like Micro-solid


January 18, 2019

Instead of a new multibillion-dollar campus, Microsoft is investing $500m into affordable housing in the Seattle area.
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Editor’s note: Its MLK weekend, so we’ll be running our typical Sunday feature on Monday. See you back here Monday morning.

Instead of building a new campus, Microsoft will spend $500m on affordable housing

Microsoft pledged to invest $500m in building affordable housing units near its headquarters in the Seattle area. Like other tech hubs, Seattle has struggled to build enough CrossFit studios for new residents and enough affordable housing for existing residents.

To accommodate growing workforces, other tech giants have simply built private city centers (in the form of multibillion-dollar campuses) and private transportation systems. But Microsoft is trying a different approach — investing in the city that was already there.

This city ain’t got enough Wi-Fi for both of us

Seattle is the rain-soaked poster child for tech’s housing problem: The influx of Microsoft’s 42k employees and Amazon’s 25k employees has caused home prices to nearly double in the past 8 years. 

A December report indicates that the Seattle area needs 156k more affordable units to put roofs over all its heads.

To address the problem, Microsoft will invest in housing that even non-Microsoft employees can afford — spending $225m on middle-income housing, $250m on low-income housing, and $25m on homelessness over the next 3 years.

An innovative solution to homelessness: Homes

Many other tech giants have also disrupted local real estate markets: Amazon in Seattle, Salesforce in San Francisco, and Google and Facebook in the Bay Area. 

But, for the most part, these companies have chipped in relatively small amounts to help cities increase homeless services instead of decreasing homelessness itself, while prioritizing projects like the extravagant Salesforce tower or the Frank Gehry-designed Facebook campus.

Microsoft’s affordable housing initiative could help the homeless… before they’re homeless.

You can’t have a private campus without a public square

Seattle isn’t the only city drowning in highly paid tech workers: Amazon is building facilities for 50k workers in NYC and DC, Apple is creating space for 15k employees in Austin, and Google plans to create offices for an additional 12k in NYC.

As other tech companies steamroll through new real estate markets, Microsoft’s initiative shows the importance of investing in a community, not just a campus. 

Housing by Microsoft
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Relativity Space won permission to lease a government launch pad on Cape Canaveral 

Last March, Nasa announced it would give the venture-backed rocket startup Relativity Space access to the Stennis Space Center in Mississippi to use as its testing facility… free of charge.

Now, the 3D printing rocket company has won permission from the Air Force to launch from Cape Canaveral Florida — the same storied launch base that shot Apollo 11 into orbit in ’69.

Living the space company dream

Rocket talk these days usually consists of SpaceX, Blue Origin or bust. But Relativity Space (started by ex-Blue Origin and SpaceX engineers) and its unique business model have orbited investor attention.

While SpaceX views reusability as the key to lowering costs of space access, Relativity relies on automated 3-D printing to simplify manufacturing time and cost of parts.

Now, after Relativity raised $45m from VCs, the US Air Force has awarded the company a multi-year contract to build and operate its launch facilities at Cape Canaveral — the organization’s first direct agreement with a privately funded launch company.

The real work begins

Relativity hopes to launch into low-orbit by 2020, and according to CEO Tim Ellis, the company already has over $1B in launches scheduled.

But, as Axios reports, it has yet to launch its rocket into space, putting it years behind companies like SpaceX and Blue Origin that call Cape Canaveral launch-home.

   @ Me Anything
Wes Schlagenhauf, News Writer at The Hustle
@wesschlagenhauf

First Nasa, now the US Air Force. Next, I assume, will be a peace offering from the Klingon empire.
Show this thread
» Let’s all break for launch

SeeTree plants $11.5m in funding to help farmers keep digital tabs on their orchards

SeeTree, a startup that collects data on trees using drones and AI to help farmers manage their orchards, raised an $11.5m Series A yesterday.

Per TechCrunch, this brings the company’s total funding to $15m.

It’s called “precision agriculture,” people!

After decades of barking up the wrong tree trying to perfect precision agriculture, SeeTree has finally developed what it calls “the world’s first intelligence network for trees.”

By using drone imagery, underground sensors, and data samplers on the ground for closer analysis, SeeTree offers “per-tree” data for crop growers to digitally monitor their orchards.

Using the data, farmers can then replace their “underperformers,” AKA trees that suck at being trees.

Step into my office, Tree…

Don’t get your roots in a bunch, it’s not all about ruling greenery with an iron fist. 

Farmers can also map out harvest plans based on each tree’s development stage — and then put those trees on performances improvement plans as needed.

» Pay a fee, plant a tree

Ford plans to ride into the electric future in an F-150 that’s both fuel efficient and badass

Yesterday, Ford announced that it will create all-electric versions of its classic F-series of trucks, including the best-selling F-150.

After announcing last year that it would stop selling all but 2 US car models, Ford’s announcement proves it also has big plans to restructure its truck biz, which alone is worth $70B.

The F-150 is a big F-in’ deal

This isn’t just any truck: The F-150 just happens to be the best-selling vehicle in the US 4 decades running.

But more importantly, the F-series accounts for more than ⅓ of Ford’s sales — and an even higher percentage of its profits.

But so far, production of electric trucks hasn’t accelerated as fast as the production of electric cars — and it’s still unclear how quickly Truck Junkies will follow in the tire tracks of Prius owners.   

Will diehard F-150 fans go electric?

Some of the most popular electric cars are sustainable (Prius) and even stylish (Teslas), but they don’t exactly prioritize the powertrain. 

But Ford says its electric line will deliver both fuel efficiency and power, claiming it will be able to tow 5k pounds and perform as well as diesel and gas trucks.

Ford isn’t the only company working on an electric pickup: The startup Rivian has raised $450m to do the same and expects to start production by 2020. Tesla also claims to have an EV pickup in the works.

» Truck and pray
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friday flashback

Flashback to the week of October 19th, 1987

Little known fact: The Hustle has been slingin’ news since the ‘80s. So when our friends at SHOWTIME® reached out to us about their new comedy series BLACK MONDAY, from executive producers Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg, we dug into the archive and pulled out a newsletter from back in the day.

Set in 1987 NYC, BLACK MONDAY follows a team of underdog Wall Street traders (Don Cheadle, Andrew Rannells, and Regina Hall) who crash the world’s largest financial system. In honor of that fateful week in American finance, here are the week’s headlines:

MONDAY: Dial-a-Porn comes to a home phone near you

The week started relatively mundane with the New York Telephone company announcing it will be able to offer customers the ability to screen Dial-a-Porn and other ‘Dial-it’ offerings. Who knew Monday would be our favorite day?

TUESDAY: The Dow plunges 508 points in panic selling

In true Thelma & Louise fashion, the Dow drove itself off a cliff Monday with a 22.6% loss — the largest on record, placing the Dow at a cool 1,738.74. Despite the dip, the Dow remained up 124% since August 1982 (the beginning of the most recent bull market).

WEDNESDAY: Fed steps in, Dow gains 102 points

Stock markets rebounded from Monday’s loss thanks to a little help from the parents upstairs. The Fed injected funds into the banking system to help ease interest rates and give banks a lifeline. With adults in the room, investors pumped the Dow to it’s largest single-day gain (102 points).

THURSDAY: Who let the Bulls out? Dow up 186

Bargain-hunting investors in US, Tokyo, and London markets went on a buying spree Wednesday, boosting the Dow by 186 points — overtaking the previous single-day record set a day earlier.

FRIDAY: Turnaround dashed, Dow’s woes are here to stay

Not so fast, cowboy; these bulls are skittish. Investors reeled Thursday as the Dow fell by 77 points, halting the 2-day rally after Monday’s panic selling. Money continued to flow out of the stock market and into safer bonds and mutual funds.

What was the cause of all this boom and gloom? Find out January 20th at 10 PM ET/PT for the premiere of BLACK MONDAY only on SHOWTIME®.

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