Your car has your data


May 22, 2019

Today, Coca-Cola’s going back, and a new stock exchange hits the track, but first…
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Data collected by connected cars ends up with carmakers, not consumers

Yesterday, Chevy introduced a new “Buckle to Drive” feature that will prevent cars from starting until teen drivers buckle their seatbelts.

As cars become more advanced, they are collecting more data about passengers. In Chevy’s case, this data goes to good use: Keeping drivers safe. 

But when your car collects other data about you — like how much weight you’ve recently gained — it’s less clear how it’s used.

Giant computers with wheels

Some modern cars collect as much as 25GB per hour, reports Bill Hanvey — president and CEO of the not-for-profit Auto Care Association — in a recent opinion piece for The New York Times.

But not all of this info is about vehicle performance. Cars track how fast we drive — which is already enough to alarm many people — but they also track where we live, who we text, and what restaurants we visit.

The kicker? Most of this data isn’t delivered to the car’s owner or passengers… it’s delivered to carmakers, and any 3rd parties willing to pay for it.

Who does your car really work for, anyway?

Most people realize that services like Facebook and Google are double dipping into their data. But many people wouldn’t expect that kind of behavior from their cars

Yet the fine print of most purchase and lease agreements allows today’s cars to devour data and pass it back to carmakers without making it available to consumers.

Car-collected data will be a gold mine

The data generated by cars will be worth as much as $750B by 2030, according to the consulting firm McKinsey.

Everyone wants car data: Carmakers could use it to direct cars to certain maintenance shops or build out autonomous fleets (Tesla’s strategy), insurers could use it to fine-tune policy premiums, and advertisers could use it to serve up location-specific ads.

But as car data drives this new digital economy, car owners will only continue to want their turn at the wheel.

Riding with the enemy
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Coke is bringing back a failed product from the ’80s for the 3rd season of Stranger Things

Coca-Cola’s hoping to “break the internet” with the rollout of a new(ish) cross-promotional product for the upcoming season of Stranger Things.

The soda giant is bringing back a limited number of cans of New Coke, first released in 1985, to be featured in the upcoming 3rd season of the Netflix mega-hit, which is set in the same year.

But in the real 1985… 

Consumers reacted so terribly to new Coke that old Coke pulled it from shelves after a few months.

So, in the ’80s it was limited because people hated it. Now it’s limited because it’s a collector’s item? You win, America. We’ll take 20 cases — *takes big swig, crushes Coke can* 

Ahhh, this New Coke is delicious. Plus, it still works as a toilet cleaner!

All of that is true (except the part about being delicious)

According to The New York Times, the initial release of the sweeter version of its main-bev was met with boycotts, hate letters, and thousands of angry phone calls.

At its disastrous peak, a Seattle man formed a group called Old Cola Drinkers of America and threatened to take Coke to court to force it back to the old recipe on account that new Coke made him “switch to beer.”

In other news, people in the ’80s were just as crazy as they are now

That said, nobody drinks soda anymore, as both Pepsi and Coke sales by volume continue to struggle, so don’t expect any glorious backlash this time around — and Coke knows it.

Now, they’re trying to capitalize on headlines like this one. Which means everyone should stop talking about this, starting… Now. 

*Chugs another New Coke, runs away*

» Coca-what?

Former search engine star About.com partners with Amazon

Umbrella media business Dotdash is launching a new millennial paint line with Amazon, as it continues to boost its growing commerce arm.

The company is similar to its earlier incarnation, the how-to repository, About.com, but instead now houses how-to “content destinations.”

Dotdash owns a roster of verticals like Verywell (health), The Balance (finance), and The Spruce (home decor), which is helming its new interior paint line, Dotdash’s first D2C product.

Cool… we really just wanna know what happened to About.com

If you ever asked your computer how to change your oil or, “Hey, what’s this weird bump in my belly button?” chances are you’ve used About.com.

It was a member of the search engine golden age of the mid-’90s along with Ask Jeeves and Yahoo. But About didn’t pawn inquisitors off into the search matrix like the others. 

They hired real experts to write how-tos and explainers on basically anything you could think to ask. In time, the search engine renaissance faded (unless your name rhymes with doogle). But About lived on, and it stayed schoolin’ until the bitter end.

It was still the 16th-most-visited site on the internet in 2014

Despite maintaining profitability, About’s CEO killed it in 2017 and rebranded it as “network of stuff 2.0” — AKA Dotdash. 

Cut to 2 years later and the how-to network is expecting to bring in roughly $150m in revenue.

» From caterpillar to butterfly

A new startup exchange got approval to challenge the stock exchange oligopoly

Earlier this month, a company called LTSE — Long-Term Stock Exchange — got SEC approval to be the country’s 14th national equity exchange.

But the new exchange, designed to encourage long-term investment and help startups go public, faces an uphill battle against mega-exchanges.

The rise of XL-sized exchanges

In the 1900s, most major US cities had their own stock exchanges. But in the 2nd half of the 20th century, the market consolidated as massive national exchanges swallowed up their regional rivals.

The market that LTSE joins is incestuous. Of the 13 national exchanges, 12 are owned by just 3 companies: The NYSE (owned by the Intercontinental Exchange, or ICE), the Nasdaq, and the Cboe.

The battle against big exchanges

Last year, the 3 mega-exchanges accounted for 61.2% of all stock trading while IEX, the country’s only independent exchange, processed just 2.4%.

Now, the LTSE hopes to attract startups to its exchange by offering tenured share voting (which rewards older shareholders with more voting power) and greater transparency about shareholders.

But the LTSE isn’t the only new exchange on the block: Earlier this year, Morgan Stanley, Charles Schwab, and several other big banks raised $70m for their own Members Exchange, MEMX. Now, they’re just waiting for SEC approval.

Exchange we can believe in
 
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