Roll Mart! We love you, Walmart U.


June 6, 2019

Today, Google’s Cloud brings all kinds of services down and an old school scam is still the best in town, but first…
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Walmart offers $1-a-day college tuition for its workers. How does that work?

Earlier this week, Walmart announced it will offer students free SAT prep and expand its $1-a-day college tuition program in a bid to recruit new employees.

Although Walmart’s programs do have restrictions, they can be a good deal for young workers — and they also highlight how far Walmart and other employers will go to recruit young workers in a tight market.

When the employment’s high, Walmart’s labor pool runs dry

With unemployment levels in the US at their lowest point in decades, retailers like Walmart — with 1.5m employees, the largest private employer in the US — sometimes struggle to fill job openings because applicants have so many other options.

Just 25k of Walmart’s 1.5m workers — or 1.7% — are in high school, putting the company’s number of young workers well below the industry average and inspiring the company to offer incentive programs.

Giving students debt relief is a good deal for Walmart

Walmart launched its tuition program last year in partnership with 3 colleges that offered degrees in business and supply chain management. 

Now, Walmart is expanding the program to 6 colleges and several more degrees. So far, Walmart has accepted 7.5k employees into the program, but it expects 60k to go through the program in the next 4 years.

Since most employees take courses online and Walmart gets the educational equivalent of a bulk discount, the program pays off: Similar education programs have delivered returns on investment of 129%.

A budding rivalry between Walmart U. and McDonald’s State

Other large employers have also turned to the expensive higher education to find employees: McDonald’s, Starbucks, and Chick-fil-A all offer similar tuition programs.

(S)cool beans!
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One of the oldest email scams in the book is still one of the best

An email fraud scheme launched by a single guy in Nigeria more than a decade ago has expanded into a successful, 35-person business called “Scattered Canary,” Axios reports.

As other types of fraud have become increasingly complex, Scattered Canary kept it simple, relying on basic email extortion — and it’s worked spectacularly well.

A Canary takes flight

Scattered Canary’s founder “Alpha” started running Craigslist email scams with a partner named “Omega” in 2008, and committed scams averaging $24k per month on Craigslist.

But after diversifying to romance scams in 2010, Alpha decided to build out the business by hiring employees to assist in the scams.

A slow-and-steady type of scam

Although complex security breaches often get more press, email-based scams are still the most financially damaging type of fraud: In 2018, they cost 20k businesses more than $1.3B.

The scams may be simple, but the groups behind them are getting complex: Scattered Canary spent years “pivoting to enterprises,” and now it scams large institutions like the IRS, FEMA, and USPS.

As for “Alpha?” According to the report, today he is engaged and has 3 daughters. Ahhhh, the perks of management…

» I scam what I scam

Look, Ma — The Hustle’s on TV!

Hey Hustle readers, we’ve got some exciting news to share… Our very own Wes “This moustache was made for TV” Schlagenhauf is bringing The Hustle’s hard-hitting business news to life on video every Tuesday and Thursday at 1 pm ET in partnership with Newsy — and he’s lookin’ suavé doing it. Be sure to check him out here, and stay tuned for more to come.

Forget power outages — what happens when Google goes out?

Earlier this week, Google got weird: The search giant’s Cloud went down, taking Gmail, the G Suite, and YouTube offline for cat video-watchers across the US and Europe.

But it wasn’t just Google’s well-known products that went down: Snapchat, Apple’s iCloud, and many Nest products went offline, raising questions about the dark side of the cloud.

The terror of a Cloud-less day

Widely available cloud storage has made it easier and cheaper to store and access data than ever before.

But, as cloud technology powers more and more of our lives, it also causes more and more problems when it goes down.

Case in point: When the Cloud went down, people who use Google Fi couldn’t make phone calls, and others who own Nest devices couldn’t turn on their air conditioners, check on the sleeping babies, or even enter their locked homes.

The cons of consolidated connection

Although Google resolved its issue fairly quickly, the outage exposed the flaws of a world where most of a person’s vital services are controlled by a single company without backup.

» Cloudy with a chance of pitfalls

Editor’s Note

Correction: Yesterday, we wrote that L’Oréal’s ModiFace app uses “emoji effects” and face-optimizing AI. While that’s true of other ModiFace apps, CEO Parham Aarabi wrote us to clarify that this partnership is different, saying, “All it does is to show different colors on the lips.”

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