Reynolds Weekly: Monday, October 1, 2018

by October 1, 2018

It has been a busy week for technology, old and new. Find out how to localize these business stories. (Photo credit to Pixabay user FirmBee)

Tiger Woods’ — and Golf’s — Possible Comeback

Tiger Woods seemed to make a comeback in his stagnant career at the Tour Championship last Sunday. This was Woods’ first victory in five years after repeated losses, scandals and injuries.

His final round was televised on NBC on Sunday night. The Golf Channel reported that the tournament brought in a record of the “highest-rated PGA TOUR telecast of 2018,” a 206 percent increase from 2017’s ratings. The event also became, among other viewer-breaking records, NBC’s most-streamed of the Sports’ Sunday round, according to the Golf Channel.

If Woods continues this success up, this may prove beneficial to all things golf-related. The New York Times predicted a potential of viewers, as well as new faces to the game, in the future with Woods’ possible return to mainstream golf. This has the potential to increase sales and marketship in golf equipment, courses and other facets of the sport–as well as golf game viewings.

How to start your reporting:

Has golf membership, equipment sales or lessons gone up since Sunday’s tournament? Don’t forget to check out your local Parks and Recreation department.

How many people in your area play golf? (full-time, recreational, etc.) How does that compare to the national demographics? You can find the data on Statista, particularly by age in 2018. The National Golf Foundation also provides studies on golf’s demographic and behavior.

Also, how many people watch golf and how often? Statista has data from 1995 to 2018 (you will need a premium account) and from 2016. PEW Research calculates which sports end up most on the front page (2005).

What do your local golf experts (i.e. coaches, sports associations, etc.) think of Woods’ victory? Does it encourage others who normally do not play golf to watch or participate? For specifics relating to the 2018 PGA Tour, ESPN provides statistics. FiveThirtyEight has an article about the “Tiger Woods Effect,” also known as “The Superstar Effect.

You can also check out a past article relating to this phenomenon, written when Woods left the sport.

Instagram’s Co-Founders Resign

The chief executive Kevin Systrom and the chief technical officer Mike Krieger resigned on Monday. They plan to exit the company to “explore our curiosity and creativity again,” according to Systrom’s statement. Instagram was created in 2010 and currently has one billion monthly users. It is unclear about Instagram’s continued popularity.

Chief executive Mark Zuckerberg wished Systrom and Krieger “all the best” in their future pursuits and praised their work. Facebook has owned Instagram since 2012, and Instagram’s users have grown since its acquisition. However, multiple sources, including Bloomberg, have said the split was due to conflicts about Instagram’s independence under Facebook.

How to start your reporting:

How many people in your area use Instagram? How many connect it to their Facebook? Statista can be source of Instagram data, as well as Facebook data. The PEW Research Center also has a “5 Facts about Americans and Facebook” article. They also have a demographic break-down chart of who uses such sites as Facebook and Instagram.

This may also be a sign of Facebook’s recent slump from concerns about privacy to election hacking and “fake news.” Facebook and Twitter testified in front of the Senate Intelligence Committee in early September, and Facebook was in the spotlight at another hearing on September 26. Is Instagram leaving a cause for concern for stockholders?

Instagram’s founders are not the only ones who left Facebook due to cross-company conflicts. This includes WhatsApp’s co-founder Jan Koum in 2014 and co-founder Brian Acton 10 months ago. (WhatsApp was sold to Facebook for $19 billion in 2014.)

You can look up other companies or executives who have resigned after a Facebook partnership. Why did they leave? Was it mutual?

Companies and Your Privacy

The Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation held a hearing on the privacy of consumer data, according to Reuters. Companies such as Google, Apple, Amazon and Twitter executives disclosed how they track and store customer data. All companies agreed with federal regulations as long as they can have a say, according to Mashable’s recap of the event. They also preferred potential federal legislation over individual state decisions.

Google declined to testify with Facebook and Twitter in an earlier Senate Intelligence hearing, according to House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, a Republican. This is likely a response to recent controversies about data breaches and privacy issues with various companies.

How to start your reporting:

How is the public sentiment of these companies in your area? Are they concerned about privacy invasion issues?

The Internet Association approved Congress’s decision on updating privacy rules in a press release, but they need a “national approach.” The company “represents more than 40 major technological firms,” including Amazon, Microsoft and Netflix, according to NBC. It also suggested six considerations for potential future policies, including transparency and a “national data breach notification law.” You can view the full framework and summary through the Internet Association’s website.  

The Internet Association’s CEO, Michael Beckerman, also expressed that social media platforms are not biased against a specific political party in response to Republican and conservative criticism. Do people in your area agree with Beckerman?

New Rules for 5G

The federal government will set a federal budget and deadline for the 5G data coverage on September 26, as demanded by the F.C.C.

Local officials now will have about two to three months to decide whether to say yes or no to wireless carriers’ installation requests. This issue has caused dissent, particularly about how building and 5G equipment will infrastructure and city aesthetics. Since 5G’s signal range is shorter, the installation of “hundreds of thousands of small stations, if not millions” of stations in neighborhoods, according to The New York Times. If the officials do not reply, the wireless companies can sue them, according to The Verge.

All F.C.C. commissioners except for one, Democratic Jessica Rosenworcel, dissented on the new rules. Rosenworcel, while she agreed on a faster rollout, she worried that federal overreach will slow it down.

F.C.C. Chair Ajit Pai, various federal government officials and Larry Kudlow, the director of the Economic National Council gathered on Friday to discuss 5G and its future. Hasty 5G technology rollout and private investment were widely applauded by the White House, particularly by Kudlow. 

How to start your reporting:

If you’re still uncertain about what exactly 5G is, this CNBC article breaks it down. Statista also has statistics on potential 5G usage. Do many people in your area know about it? Who? (i.e. technology experts, local citizens or officials, etc.)

The new generation of cell phone technology touts higher speeds and more reliable connections, and these new rules will “streamline” and hasten more 5G rollouts, according to Pai. Will they?

Los Angeles’s Mayor Eric Garcetti and the city of Philadelphia disagree with these new rules. In a press release, Public Knowledge says that these will cause lawsuits and lessen oversight by local officials. How will this affect your local cities? How do public officials feel about this?

Telecom companies are likely to see more profit. Which companies are in your area?

How will this affect tariffs, especially with China? Politico and Rosenworcel are worried about the increased costs for supplying and distributing 5G technology hurting the U.S. economy. Rosenworcel did not attend Friday’s summit.