FastCompany Magazine

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Daily Fast Feed Roundup
Good day to youTumblr! Here’s a quick rundown of what you need to know today: 
An Australia-based firm has developed wetsuits that make you invisible to sharks.
A small Colorado town is considering granting drone hunting licenses and even offering bounty to citizens who shoot down unmanned aerial vehicles.
A technical glitch led PayPal to temporarily ban a book for having “Iranian” in the title. 
Today’s most innovative company: Hot Pockets, which celebrated its 30th birthday by showing it’s still hip.
63 tech giants including Apple, Facebook, Google, and Twitter, signed a letter asking the NSA for increased transparency regarding security-related surveillance. 
Dismal first quarter results reveal that Nokia’s smartphone plan isn’t working.  
The .Amazon domain name may go to the river instead of the ecommerce giant. You’re next Patagonia.
Rolling Stone is standing its ground after several retailers including, CVS, Rite Aid, Walgreens, and Roche Brothers, refused to carry its newest issue
This teddy bear monitors a child’s vital signs and then sends the data to their parent’s smartphone… creepy.
The Emmy nomination of Netflix’s original show House of Cardsis evidence that the way we watch TV is changing. 
Have a great day!
—M. Cecelia Bittner and Jessica Hullinger

Daily Fast Feed Roundup

Good day to youTumblr! Here’s a quick rundown of what you need to know today: 

  • A small Colorado town is considering granting drone hunting licenses and even offering bounty to citizens who shoot down unmanned aerial vehicles.
  • Today’s most innovative company: Hot Pockets, which celebrated its 30th birthday by showing it’s still hip.
  • The .Amazon domain name may go to the river instead of the ecommerce giant. You’re next Patagonia.

Have a great day!

M. Cecelia Bittner and Jessica Hullinger

Think your office is soulless? Check out this Amazon fulfillment center.

Ben Roberts’ Amazon Unpacked isa haunting series of photographs that exposes the inner workings of Amazon’s massive fulfillment center in the English Midlands.

Locals hoped that the center would boost the local economy, which was devastated by the closure of a coal mine, the area’s main employer. Instead, Roberts explains, Amazon workers are turned into ‘human robots’ and guaranteed little-to-no job security.

"An Amazon fulfillment associate might have to walk as far as 15 miles in a single shift, endlessly looping back and forth between shelves in a warehouse the size of nine soccer fields. They do this in complete silence, except for the sound of their feet. The atmosphere is so quiet that workers can be fired for even talking to one another." 

For Roberts, this isn’t about how something you order off of Amazon comes to your door. It’s about how fulfillment centers like Rugeley represent the invisible cost buried in every low Amazon price.

 

If you followed Texas state senator Wendy Davis’ epic, 11-hour filibuster efforts against a bill that would have shut down all but five abortion clinics in the state (and quite possibly still will), you probably also know her shoes. As demonstrated by their newfound popularity on Amazon, the pink Mizuno Wave Riders she wore have become their own symbols of political resistance.

Last month, I talked to Amazon customer service about my malfunctioning Kindle, and it was great. Thirty seconds after putting in a service request on Amazon’s website, my phone rang, and the woman on the other end—let’s call her Barbara—greeted me by name and said, “I understand that you have a problem with your Kindle.” We resolved my problem in under two minutes, we got to skip the part where I carefully spell out my last name and address, and she didn’t try to upsell me on anything. After nearly a decade of ordering stuff from Amazon, I never loved the company as much as I did at that moment.
Remember, this was a customer-service call, so I was fully prepared for it to suck. Like most American consumers, my experience with service interactions is largely negative, whether it’s on the phone, in the murky depths of a commerce site, or in the aisles of an electronics store. I’m accustomed to the company being in control, and for our communication to be cold, scripted, and inhumane. Barbara’s congenial but no-nonsense approach was part of what made this experience different, but more important, she had access to exactly the right data about me, and that made the favorable exchange possible. The fact is, Amazon has been collecting my information for years—not just addresses and payment information but the identity of everything I’ve ever bought or even looked at. And while dozens of other companies do that, too, Amazon’s doing something remarkable with theirs. They’re using that data to build our relationship.
Read more about How Companies Like Amazon Use Big Data To Make You Love Them

Last month, I talked to Amazon customer service about my malfunctioning Kindle, and it was great. Thirty seconds after putting in a service request on Amazon’s website, my phone rang, and the woman on the other end—let’s call her Barbara—greeted me by name and said, “I understand that you have a problem with your Kindle.” We resolved my problem in under two minutes, we got to skip the part where I carefully spell out my last name and address, and she didn’t try to upsell me on anything. After nearly a decade of ordering stuff from Amazon, I never loved the company as much as I did at that moment.

Remember, this was a customer-service call, so I was fully prepared for it to suck. Like most American consumers, my experience with service interactions is largely negative, whether it’s on the phone, in the murky depths of a commerce site, or in the aisles of an electronics store. I’m accustomed to the company being in control, and for our communication to be cold, scripted, and inhumane. Barbara’s congenial but no-nonsense approach was part of what made this experience different, but more important, she had access to exactly the right data about me, and that made the favorable exchange possible. The fact is, Amazon has been collecting my information for years—not just addresses and payment information but the identity of everything I’ve ever bought or even looked at. And while dozens of other companies do that, too, Amazon’s doing something remarkable with theirs. They’re using that data to build our relationship.

Read more about How Companies Like Amazon Use Big Data To Make You Love Them

Amazon Massively Inflates Its Streaming Library Size

For example, Amazon does not count 24 as one TV show; rather, it counts every episode in all eight seasons toward its library of 17,000 movies and television shows. So, according to Amazon’s logic, Kiefer Sutherland stars in 192 TV shows. Amazon counts The X-Files more than 200 times and Grey’s Anatomy 170 times. Sure, there’s an arguable distinction between all the offshoots of Power Rangers (Mighty Morphin, Dino Thunder, Space Patrol Delta). But by Amazon’s figures, Power Rangers-related episodes are counted as about 715 shows in its streaming library—that is, 4.2% of the 17,000 movies and television shows Amazon says it offers.

(Source: Fast Company)

Read more

A Kuwaiti national uses fake names and sells other people’s copyrighted stories in the Kindle Store, shedding light on black hat hacker forums—and the theft, taboo sex, and swindles festering in the recesses of Amazon. Just another day in the world of self-publishing.

Unmasking A Digital Pirate On Amazon

A Kuwaiti national uses fake names and sells other people’s copyrighted stories in the Kindle Store, shedding light on black hat hacker forums—and the theft, taboo sex, and swindles festering in the recesses of Amazon. Just another day in the world of self-publishing.

Unmasking A Digital Pirate On Amazon

Amazon’s Plagiarism Problem
Amazon’s erotica section isn’t just rife with tales of lust, incest, violence, and straight-up kink. It’s also a hotbed of masked merchants profiting from copyright infringement. And even with anti-piracy legislation looming, Amazon doesn’t appear too eager to stop the forbidden author-on-author action.
Read on ->

Amazon’s Plagiarism Problem

Amazon’s erotica section isn’t just rife with tales of lust, incest, violence, and straight-up kink. It’s also a hotbed of masked merchants profiting from copyright infringement. And even with anti-piracy legislation looming, Amazon doesn’t appear too eager to stop the forbidden author-on-author action.

Read on ->