Reynolds Weekly: Friday, January 25, 2019

by January 25, 2019

The housing crisis, a new delivery system, and at-home produce-growing technology. Here’s how to localize these stories on a business beat. (Photo credit to Pixabay)

Microsoft versus the housing crisis

Microsoft announced that it would join forces with nonprofit groups to “address the ‘affordable housing crisis.’” To do this, the company is investing $500 million to make Seattle homes cheaper. $25 million of that will go to nonprofits or other services to help the homeless population, also in Seattle, according to CNN Business. 

How to localize:

How is the housing crisis in your area? Is there rent control? If so, what’s the general reception, and is it working? If not, will it improve it? What are the current real estate/renting prices? Have your local cities tried raising taxes, as with San Francisco and Seattle? How has that worked out, if they did?

Microsoft is donating $25 million in order to help reduce the homeless population. How are local businesses (if they are) helping the homeless in your area? Any charities or businesses that are doing their job well or are more corrupt? How’s that affecting businesses?  

Are other companies or nonprofits addressing or attempting to solve the housing crisis, like Microsoft?

Starbucks’ new delivery program

Starbucks will expand its drink-delivering service (via app) to San Francisco. It has been previously tested in Miami. This is a collaboration between Starbucks and Uber Eats.

How to localize:

Do you have food delivery service apps in your area, such as Uber Eats, Grub Hub, etc.? How are they working with local restaurants? (How much of the profit and delivery fee go to the restaurant itself?)

Do many people use them? Is it affecting the traditional take-out delivery system? (i.e. picking it up at the spot) Is this a trend in your area? 

On data: how do these apps collect user data? How do local people feel about it? Do they care, or as long as it’s convenient, it works for them?

Growing your own produce at home 

Created by a New Yorker who had no space for a garden, this device allows anyone to grow their own vegetables and fruits at home. In terms of the tongue’s palate pickiness (or choice) between bitter and sweet, Sprouts IO offers customization options to “program” the exact taste of tomatoes, according to Bloomberg. It also includes an app, which allows users to control the growing elements, such as light, away from home.

Sprouts IO includes a subscription option. Once the previous batch of seeds grow, the company sends the customer another set.

As of now, Sprouts IO only available to restaurants and chefs. However, it will roll out to the public for $800 early this year.

How to localize:

How might this affect the restaurant industry? Do your local restaurants or home cooks use this product? Will these flourish in urban areas? Will this inspire more home-cooking?

Where will these seeds and LED lights come from? (local farmers/manufacturers, corporations, etc.)? Is this an example of green technology, and can help cut down on the usage of water?

Lastly, how does this factor into the ever-increasing trend of subscription boxes?