What’s up with upcharged upgrades?


December 10, 2019

The Hustle
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Happy Tuesday, folks. You may think you’ve had a long week… but your week hasn’t been as long as Steph Korey’s: The co-founder of the luggage startup Away stepped down yesterday evening due, in part, to Twitter backlash that resulted from an article The Verge published criticizing her harsh management style. Today:

  • To drive a Tesla, you’ve got to pay to play 
  • After all that, Amazon ends up in NYC anyway
  • For a fashion startup, the unisex trend is here to stay
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Thanks to their up-charged upgrades, Teslas are now expensive subscription products

Tesla just notified drivers that have purchased their cars since July 2018 that it will begin to up-charge them for premium data usage like satellite maps and traffic visualizations. 

This announcement didn’t come out of left field, and it may not seem like the end of the world: Tesla first announced plans to charge customers for in-car data last July, and current drivers can still access most functionality in the car — like music streaming or web access — by using their phone hot spots. 

But this new up-charge does raise some questions…  

Particularly about about what Tesla ownership — and car ownership — will look like down the road. Is this a sign that further price increases are in store for Tesla owners? 

If history is any guide, the answer is yes. 

Tesla has already been criticized for intentionally limiting the power of its own batteries in some models… and then charging up to $9k for an “upgrade” to unlock them.

So while Tesla’s most recent data up-charge will only require owners to pay an extra $10 per month in data charges, this increase likely won’t be the last up-charge…

In fact, Tesla’s upgrade system is insanely complex 

Tesla’s standard models are notoriously bare-bones, and then the company charges extra for things like extended-range batteries, better audio systems… and cooler paint colors.

Tesla’s Model 3 is often described as a $35k car. But Tesla offers so many upgrades that prices can climb as high as $86k (more, CNN notes, than a Maserati). 

Many of Tesla’s “upgrades” are more cosmetic than functional (like, ahem, different colors), and the cost of these upgrades changes — and usually increases — over time. 

But if you’re looking to spend your tickle cash on a Tesla, here are some of Tesla’s past up-charges for upgrades. If you want:

  • A cream-colored interior… that’d cost ya $1.5k
  • Sportier wheels… that’d cost ya up to $4.5k.
  • Full self driving (someday)… that’d cost ya $7k.
  • Fancy lights and air filters… that’d cost ya $3.5k.
  • Really nice speakers… that’d cost ya $2.5k.
  • Panoramic glass roof… that’d cost ya $1.5k.
  • A color that’s not black… that’d cost ya $1.5k (for blue), $2k (for white), or $2.5k (for red).
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In the fashion world, gender is sooo last year

Menswear? Womenswear? Who cares? 

Gender fluidity is by no means a new concept on runways and in the fashion industry, but retail is starting to catch up as fashion breaks the binary through non-gendered stores and collections.

Unsex me here

The Manhattan-based Phluid Project is a storefront/cafe/event venue geared toward the LGBTQIA+ community. Founder Rob Smith, a retail exec with 3 decades of experience at brands like Nike, Macy’s, and Victoria’s Secret, set up shop just a few years ago. 

At Phluid, mannequins lack the bionic breasts and bulges typical of fashion dummies. They sport pants, skirts, and sweatshirts emblazoned with “They Power,” a nod to nonbinary pronoun preference.

Over the summer, Phluid worked with the HBO series “Euphoria” to set up pop-ups across the country. At each of the pop-up locations, shoppers could check out a capsule collection and sit in on panel discussions. Phluid also launched a gender-fluid collection with the French label Equipment. 

It’s a Z thing… and it’s getting bigger

According to Pew Research Center, 35% of Gen Z knows someone who identifies as nonbinary. And, as Smith points out, you can’t discount this demographic.

“By next year, Gen Z (will account) for ⅓ of the national population, which accounts for 40% of US spending power,” Smith told Fortune.

And it seems a niche concept is going mainstream.

The fast-fashion giant H&M has worked gender fluidity into its strategy through efforts like its unisex Denim United collection and its collab with the non-gendered Swedish brand Eytys. And last summer beauty retailer Sephora launched a campaign painting a broader picture of inclusion.

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Purple is the color of royalty

Which is exactly why Purple is making a new pillow fit for Your Majesty. 

As a “comfort innovation” company, there’s only one thing Purple cares about: making the best damn mattresses, pillows, and bedding the world has ever seen. 

While every other company out there is busy trying to smush a mattress into a box, Purple is churning out pillows made for kings and queens alike. Which leaves us with only one question… 

What makes it special enough for the upper crust? 

Simple: It’s the most advanced pillow ever dreamed up. 

Built on learnings from 50+ prototypes, the Purple Harmony Pillow puts your previous pillow problems to sleep like a baby.

Losing rest over lumpy headrests? Not anymore — The Harmony Pillow never needs to be fluffed or fanned to keep its shape. Too sweaty to sleep? Purple’s patented Grid Hex keeps your head cool all night long. 

To cap it all off, it’s wrapped in a mesh fabric that makes it smoother than a royal baby’s bottom. Which leaves us with only one Q…

Are you ready to sleep like royalty?

Sleep like a queen →

After all the HQ hullabaloo, Amazon is coming to The Big Apple anyway

Amazon just signed a lease for 335k square feet of office space in New York less than a year after abandoning its widely publicized plans to build its HQ2 there. In those previous plans, the city had promised Amazon almost $3B in tax benefits and other perks like a helipad for Jeffy Boy. 

But now Amazon has decided to come to New York without any perks at all — proving that the city’s ostentatious overtures were always unnecessary. 

Amazon will open a new office in the city’s growing (and not not controversial) Hudson Yards development. 

So, what changed? 

Nothing at all — Amazon was basically bluffing all along. 

After all, New York still has the benefits of a huge pool of highly educated workers — and that’s enough to attract Amazon even without steep discounts. 

And it’s not just The House That Bezos Built, either… 

Other West Coast tech giants have also been beefing up their physical footprints in New York. 

Facebook recently signed a lease for 1.5m sq. ft. of office space in Hudson Yards (just a few blocks away from Amazon’s new digs), and Google signed a lease earlier this year for 1.3m sq. ft. over in the Hudson Square neighborhood.

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What Else…

⌚ With great Facebook comes great responsibility. Being an admin for a popular Facebook group can feel like a full-time job. As BuzzFeed News put it: “Local Facebook groups increasingly serve as a local area’s town square, classifieds section, Neighbourhood Watch, and emergency info centre all rolled into one [and] volunteers… are devoting huge chunks of time figuring out how to enforce rules, referee disputes and avoid getting sued in the process.”

📚 Independent bookstore owners got a holiday bonus. James Patterson, the highest paid author in the world, recently gave 500 independent booksellers $500 in holiday bonuses. Patterson’s Holiday Bookstore Bonus Program has doled out $1.35m over 6 years in an effort to support small business owners in their efforts to keep people reading.

📀 Netflix went for the Gold. In yesterday’s Golden Globe nominations, Netflix racked up more nods than its rivals in both the TV and movie categories, beating out Sony (10 nominations) with 17 movies honored and HBO (15 nominations) with 17 TV shows honored.

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