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The circus is over

Amazon couldn’t decide on whose gift it liked better, so it decided to break it’s HQ2 bid into 2 existing offices. The Hustle New York gets an HQ2, and DC gets an HQ too, because Amazon wants them to After a year of hype, Amazon ended its search for a new HQ this week — […]

Amazon couldn’t decide on whose gift it liked better, so it decided to break it’s HQ2 bid into 2 existing offices.

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New York gets an HQ2, and DC gets an HQ too, because Amazon wants them to

After a year of hype, Amazon ended its search for a new HQ this week — without choosing a winner. Instead, Amazon announced it will open two separate offices: a New York office (in Long Island City) and a DC office (in Crystal City, VA).

The anticlimactic conclusion to the ‘contest’ was a stroke of brilliant and ruthless PR, and it shows that top tech talent is becoming even more concentrated in the country’s biggest cities.

Amazon’s ‘competition’ was a PR power move

By promising 50k jobs, $5B in direct construction investment, and a $6B+ economic boost for its new home, Amazon inspired 238 cities in the US, Mexico, and Canada to submit HQ2 proposals.

Tucson sent Amazon a giant cactus, the mayor of Kansas City bought 1k products on Amazon and left product reviews extolling the city, and Newark, NJ, offered more than $7B in incentives.

Journalists reported on every phase of the project, and small cities pulled out all the stops to become the next big city in tech.

‘You made a promise, Mr. Bezos. A promise’

Instead of creating “a full equal to our current campus in Seattle,” Bezos chose instead to expand in two existing tech hubs.

Amazon already had 13 offices across the US, from Detroit, MI, to Tempe, AZ, when it announced its HQ2 ‘competition’ (and the largest of those was in New York).

It seems Amazon was never really looking to give a new city tech’s golden ticket: It was looking for a good deal — and that’s what it got in New York and DC.

Two HQs, two talent pools

Now Amazon gets two Christmases (AKA, tax benefits in two cities). Both locations offer Amazon plentiful, subsidized office space — plus access to cocktail bars, SoulCycle, and other cool city stuff that would-be Amazon employees probably appreciate.

More importantly, it taps into two of the biggest pools of tech talent, easing hiring troubles in the currently tight labor market.

Which is troubling news for budding startups that aren’t bicoastal: If a $1T-dollar company can’t attract enough techies outside of tech major cities, imagine how hard it is for everyone else…

Hey, there are SoulCycles in Ohio…

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RapidSOS raises $30m with a dream of delivering ambulances as fast as burritos

Thanks to on-demand apps, mozzarella sticks and pre-rolled joints are available for delivery with just a few swipes on a smartphone. But, lifesaving ambulances often require long calls and extended descriptions of the nearby intersections.

RapidSOS thinks that’s, well, dumb — so it raised $30m to bring 9-1-1 emergency systems into the 21st century.

Growing faster than an ambulance running a red light

The New York-based startup raised $16m just 6 months ago, helping RapidSOS grow from 10k users to 250m users in less than a year.

But, the company has still only tapped a small fraction of the global emergency service market: Americans alone make 240m emergency calls a year, while callers across the world make more than 2B.

RapidSOS plans to use its pile of cash, which has grown to $65.6m, to expand internationally and improve features on both sides of the line.

Better for callers, better for responders

RapidSOS sells its flagship product to emergency response organizations, who then make it available free to users (it currently covers 180m people).

But the company also sells another major product, RapidSOS API, to large tech companies including Uber, Google, and Facebook — which then use it to incorporate emergency services into their apps.

Research has shown that Ubers are often faster and cheaper than normal emergency vehicles in crisis situations, and now it seems that Uber and other private companies are embracing their roles as de-facto ambulance service providers.

» Can my taco come in the ambulance with me?

Why did the Massachusetts-based pizza chain fire 1.1k employees?

Because its parent company took on tens of millions of dollars in debt.

Sounds like a “why did the chicken cross the road?” joke, but it’s no laughing matter: Axios reports that, on Sunday, hundreds of employees of Massachusetts-based legacy pizza chain Papa Gino’s found a note taped to the door when they got to work telling them they were no longer employed — no prior notice, no severance.

Can’t choose your parents

By Monday, the pizza chain’s parent company, PGCH Holdings, announced it had filed for chapter 11 bankruptcy (after racking up almost $73m in debt it couldn’t pay back) and announced it planned to sell.

But this announcement came only after PGCH closed almost 95 of its 178 Papa Gino’s locations and terminated some 1.1k employees without notice.

The chain’s CFO, Corey Wedland, attributed the downsizing to recent minimum-wage hikes across its markets. But people aren’t buying it.

‘Extra pepperoni, hold the scapegoat’

Harris Gruman, executive director for the Service Employees International Union’s Massachusetts council, believes the minimum-wage hikes are an excuse to protect management’s numerous strategic errors.

According to The Boston Globe, Papa Gino’s management saddled the chain with a footprint that was too large — both in number and size of its locations.

“Plenty of fast-food chains are doing well in Massachusetts, and many pizza shops are already paying as much as $15 an hour,” Gruman said.

» Short on dough

With hardware out of vogue, Apple goes soft(ware)

Last year, Tim Cook said he hopes to double the company’s “software services” revenue, AKA money made from the App Store, iTunes, and Apple Pay, by 2020.

Why, you ask? Because, come to find out, hardware isn’t cutting the mustard these days.

Now, Axios writes that, instead of making new nifty gadgets, the company will focus on user engagement by doubling down on a new digital media strategy that involves music, news, and original video.

Content is king

Apple has long been gearing up for hardware winter, and has made believers out of publishers with its Apple News product pretty much since its release.

But it’s not stopping there: Last week, the Financial Times reported that Apple expressed interest in investing in bankrupt broadcaster iHeart Radio to support its streaming music service, and the company plans to compete with Spotify by focusing on its playlist game.

The behemoth also committed to spending $1B on original content this year that it now plans to give away for free to device owners.

So, what does that mean for the future?

Obviously, shelling out $1B on original content and then giving it away for free doesn’t make much financial sense, leading some to speculate a bundled subscription media package is in the iPhone owner’s future.

All right, we’ll put a stake in the ground: That is exactly what’s going to happen.

» Check back in 2020

Former Under Armour execs just made your new favorite jeans

It’s no surprise: If you work for a performance athletic brand, you work with some pretty amazing materials. Materials that stretch, breathe, and move with you.

You know, materials that are not denim.

So when Under Armour execs Henry Stafford, Steven Battista, and Matt Maasdam (who were UA’s Head of Product, Head of Brand, and Head of eCommerce Ops, respectively) left to blaze their own seams, they started by addressing the shortfalls of denim: Moving in it.

After a few years of R&D, Pittsburgh-based Revtown was full sew ahead.

Decade Denim: Made to perform with looks that stun

In Revtown’s book, 3 things make great jeans: comfort, function, and durability. That’s why their Decade Denim jeans are made with proprietary, Italian-milled denim that’s tough as nails, but still mobile.

From the hem to the belt loops, Revtown jeans are designed to keep you on the move, whether it’s from the office to the bar, or right back to the couch — no crotch-binding, bum-sweats, or tight thighs ever.

And because Revtown deals directly with its customers, they can sell their designer-quality jeans at a fraction of the price of other fashion brands.

The result is a pair of jeans that are fundamentally different, made to perform with looks that whisper, “hey…nice jeans.”

Peep the Sharp and Automatic Decade Denim jeans below.

“Bury me in these” → deals deals deals

“If the sale fits, buy it.”

– Terry Bull from Granby, CT


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