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Author Archive for Carter Breazeale

Amazon Set to Announce HQ2 Locations

While my hometown state is giving us 2000 flashbacks with all of this election chaos, let’s focus on a bit of exciting, less frustrating developments: Amazon is heading to NYC and Northern Virginia. For over a year now, there’s been widespread interest and intrigue as to where Amazon would plant its flag for its second U.S. headquarters. Bids were placed, cities were evaluated, PR campaigns undertaken to draw the E-commerce giant.

And in a surprise move, HQ2 will actually be HQ2a and HQ2b.

Jeff Bezos has not formally announced the decision, but the story leaked last night that Amazon’s new HQ would be split between Long Island City and Crystal City in Arlington County, Virginia.

So what does that mean? It means higher visibility for these two locations, and of course, an influx of jobs. The two offices are expected to employ 25,000 people apiece, which can’t be understated in terms of the boon it will provide to the local economy.

The company’s courtship process began with 238 cities placing formal bids to become HQ2’s location, and in January it was pared down to 20.

With an official announcement coming soon, Long Island City and Crystal City will be the beneficiaries of Amazon’s selection process.

Amazon dominates the global economy, and with these two new headquarters expected, they will present a wealth of growth opportunities in New York and Virginia. There’s no slowing Amazon’s rapid expansion, and now we know the first two key locations where it will begin.

Go Vote! Now!

Today’s the day: The 2018 midterms have finally arrived. In a large portion of the world, Election Day is considered a national holiday or is held on a Sunday to promote engagement. Here? We get Tuesdays.

There’s no time to lament what’s been a longstanding argument, so if you haven’t already: Go vote today!

Both Uber and Lyft are offering free rides to polling stations, so if you’ve waited until Election Day to officially pull the lever you can cancel out “transportation” on your list of possible excuses. This is poised to be the largest midterm election ever, with over 35 million ballots already cast—15 million more early votes than 2014. Do not allow an excuse to negate your voice; again: Vote!

There’s a lot on the ballot this year, and you can decide the direction that you want your country to head in. Lines, rain, headaches, apathy; zero excuses: Vote!

Twitter Looking to Dump the “Like” Button

Twitter has a lot of issues. If you dare dive into its darker corners, it can be a festering cesspool and echo chamber for conspiracy theories, racism, and violence. Its CEO, Jack Dorsey, has been under fire for failing to address these elements that have virulently spread on his platform, so now it appears that he has a potential solution.

He’s getting rid of the “like” button.

What, you incredulously ask? Yep. The “like” button is the apparent culprit, and Dorsey is publicly flirting with the idea of dumping that little heart-shaped button that accompanies your tweets.

Bonkers.

Dorsey seemed to be thinking aloud at last month’s Wired25 summit about the efficacy of Twitter’s “like” feature and whether it promotes healthy conversation or denigrates communication into a superficial war for popularity:

“Right now we have a big Like button with a heart on it and we’re incentivizing people to want [the number of likes] to go up,” Dorsey reportedly said. “Is that the right thing? Versus contributing to the public conversation or a healthy conversation? How do we [incentivize] healthy conversation?”

It’s not an incorrect point to ponder, but it pales when juxtaposed to the litany of Twitter’s other problems. In a week after an individual sent pipe bombs in the mail to prominent Democrats, news outlets, and private citizens—an individual whose Twitter feed was full of hateful, conspiratorial content—focusing on the retirement of the “like” button seems misplaced at best. Social media has allowed us to connect, but it’s also tearing us apart at the seams.

Maybe start with those who spew hateful rhetoric that devolves the entire global conversation, and then move on to the “like” button which can turn debates into popularity contests. Just an idea.

And while we’re making adjustments to Twitter’s interface, can we just get an “edit” button while we’re at it?

Are You Using Instagram Stories?

For goods and products-focused industries—especially local businesses—Instagram can be an incredibly powerful social tool. When you build a following on Instagram you’ve essentially built a captive audience, enthusiastic about the products that you provide. When you leverage the likes and follows? Well, that builds business.

The world of social media is in a constant state of evolution. You may wake up one day to a brand new interface that requires you to learn how to use the app or website again—looking at you, Snapchat—or the changes may be more subtle, like added features. They’re not new, but Instagram’s stories seem to have overtaken Snapchat after its ill-advised update. I believe we’ve discussed them on this blog before, but Instagram stories are short video files where the user sets the allowable time to be viewed. The user can build on these stories throughout the day, creating a cohesive, viewable feed.

After 24 hours? Gone.

While the benefit of standalone Instagram posts is well-documented for businesses, companies should also be taking advantage of the Stories feature. Fast Company is out today with a four point primer on the best strategies for utilizing Instagram’s Stories, and the through-line between all of them is creativity and a focus on your customers. While Stories allows you to put your products on display with unique filters and stickers, they also give the enthusiastic users of your products a potential voice.

Let them tell their story about you to your followers, and theirs as well. It can compound your existing audiences, attract new customers, and make the day of those you already have.

So are you using Instagram Stories? Let’s hear your successes!

Elon Musk is Hitting the Bottle

Perhaps inspired by his recent psychoactive antics on Joe Rogan’s podcast, or possibly the response to the SEC’s recent fine and forced removal as Tesla’s chairman of the board, Elon Musk has turned to the drink—tequila, to be specific.

The oft-wacky genius and Tesla founder is dipping his toes into another market entirely: the alcoholic beverage market. Last week it was announced that Tesla had filed a trademark application for “Teslaquila,” which appears odd given Musk’s usual tech interests but in the overall recent context appears right on brand.

Musk has always embodied the “insane prodigy” stereotype, but of late he’s turned more of a Twitter caricature of himself—an inventor and businessman vocally averse to any media criticism, and making grand proclamations on the social media site that tanked Tesla’s value and resulted in a Securities and Exchange Commission fine. I’m not sure if he’s bored or what, but he’s now keying in on the bottle with “Teslaquila.”

With any major corporation, almost any internal idea that has a snowball’s chance in hell of turning into reality ends up with the requisite trademark paperwork, so we’ll see if this actually comes to fruition. But with Elon Musk, especially in the last few months, it would seem more likely than not.

Should “Teslaquila” hit the shelves, it goes without saying: Don’t hop into your Model-X for a spin after enjoying some of Palo Alto’s finest agave.