Not as much as Uber would lead you to believe. Although the company frequently touts its ride-hailing service as an economic opportunity for drivers—and in 2013 suggested that its average driver takes home $100,000 per year—an analysis of its leaked data by BuzzFeed News found that driver wages compare more accurately to a typical entry-level service job. The independent review, which Uber confirmed "looked solid," found that drivers in late 2015 earned about $13.17 per hour after expenses in the Denver market; $10.75 per hour after expenses in the Houston area; and $8.77 per hour after expenses in the Detroit market. SK
How much do Uber drivers really make?
Evening intel: Tesla’s profitable, Snapchat’s going to IPO, Groupon acquires its struggling competitor
• On a third-quarter earnings call, Elon Musk said he expects Tesla to remain profitable in Q4—even accounting for non-stock-based compensation.
• Snapchat wants to raise $4 billion in a 2017 IPO. Bloomberg estimates a public offering could yield a valuation of anywhere from $25 billion to $40 billion for the social platform.
• It looks like Apple's AirPods are behind schedule. The wireless headphones were scheduled for late October, but haven't arrived. No word on when they'll come out.
Snapchat wants a $4B IPO in 2017
The hot Los Angeles video messaging app company has already chosen Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs Group to lead the offering, Bloomberg reports. Snapchat has gradually opened its platform to advertisers, who have lined up, and paid high dollar, to advertise to app's young audience.
Bloomberg's sources say the IPO could value Snapchat in the $25 billion to $35 billion range. One person said it could go as high as $40 billion. Based on current valuations, a Snapchat IPO would be the biggest for a social media company since Twitter went public in 2013. MS
Twitter’s testing reply tweets that don’t count usernames against the 140-character limit
If you use Twitter much, you've no doubt been frustrated by the fact that when you reply to someone's tweet, their username–@something–counts against the 140 characters you have to send a pithy response. That's especially a problem in a thread with numerous people since those characters can add up fast, restricting how many bon mots you can use to add your two cents.
That convention may be out the window soon. Techcrunch is reporting that Twitter is testing a new system in which user names don't count against the 140 character limit in replies. It's not clear when this would be rolled out to everyone. Count me, even as a Twitter purist, who's eager for this one, just as I was for not counting embedded images against my precious 140 characters.
Like the Pixel phone’s camera? Thank Alphabet’s X moonshot factory
Here at the Wall Street Journal's WSJ.D conference, Astro Teller, the "captain of moonshots" at Alphabet's X lab, says that if you judge his group by the impact of its works in progress—such as self-driving cars—you're doing it all wrong. That's because X's mission is to get wild ideas up and running, and then "graduate" them by spinning them off into entities that can steer them through to commercial availability.
As an example, he gave a product I didn't even know that X had a hand in: Google's new Pixel phone, which has received excellent reviews for camera quality. Turns out that X had a low-profile group working on computational photography. When it became clear that it made more sense to pursue it as a smartphone technology than for a standalone camera, the team went to work on the Pixel phone—and their effort paid off, even though X didn't get the glory.
Apple needs “a little more time” to get AirPods ready for market
We've been very bullish on the AirPod headphones since their announcement in September. Not so much for the audio and the wireless capabilities, but for their potential as a vehicle for Siri. Apple said in September it would release the product in late October but now says it needs some more time—it didn't say how much time—to get the product ready for customers.
In the wake of the Samsung Galaxy Note 7 nightmare, such conservatism sounds like a good thing. Still, it begs the question: What exactly is wrong in the AirPods that's preventing them from going on sale? Apple isn't saying. I've had a little bit of hands-on time with the product, but not enough time to see any serious pairing or software issues. Let's hope the Apple engineers work out the problems in time for the holiday season. MS
Why the heck does Donald Trump have a Walk of Fame star, anyway? It’s not the reason you think
Following news this morning that Donald Trump's star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame was smashed to pieces by an ax-wielding vandal, I couldn't help but wonder why the face of The Apprentice has been honored with a star in the first place. The Hollywood Chamber of Commerce, which bestows the sidewalk honors, has generally not been kind to the reality TV genre. A few years ago, it made it a point to mention that it doesn't even have a category for reality TV after Kanye West complained that his reality-star wife, Kim Kardashian, didn't have a star.
So why Trump and not Kim? According to Ana Martinez, the Walk of Fame's spokeswoman, it's not the reason you think. "He was selected for his producer job for his Miss Universe shows," she tells me in an email.
Still, Trump was honored in 2007, at the height of his Apprentice fame, so the timing is curious. Either way, the chamber said it will repair the star immediately.
These original 1999 emoji are now officially little tiny works of art
New York's Museum of Modern Art has a cute new collection: the original set of 176 emoji symbols. The 12 pixel x 12 pixel images were a gift from the Japanese carrier Nippon Telegraph and Telephone. The emoji were first developed under the supervision of Shigetaka Kurita and produced for cellphones in 1999.
The character set and others like it quickly became all the rage in Japan, but emoji didn't catch on in the United States until they were added to Apple's iPhone 12 years later. Here's more about the collection.
[Photo Courtesy of MoMA. Shigetaka Kurita. Gift of NTT DOCOMO, Inc.] CZ
Marc Benioff doesn’t want to talk about his exciting vision for Twitter
A couple of weeks ago, it looked like there was a meaningful chance that Salesforce would buy Twitter. It didn't happen. Here at the Wall Street Journal's WSJ.D Live conference, Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff sounded both wistful that the deal didn't happen and accepting of the fact that it was not to be.
Benioff told the Journal's Dennis Berman that Salesforce had "a very exciting vision of what we would do with Twitter." But he said that Salesforce wasn't used to potential acquisitions leaking, and was surprised by the negative reaction of investors to the very idea of it buying the company.
A Twitter acquistion that shareholders hated was a non-starter, he said: "It has to be a collaborative effort running the company–that is the new world, by the way." For the same reason, he wouldn't make a decision that would rile employees, customers, or partners.
And oh, what was Salesforce's exciting vision for Twitter? "It's meaningless to talk about it," he told Berman. "I don't want to inflame the shareholders. If the shareholders say let it go, I'll let it go."
Cleveland Clinic names its top medical innovations for 2017
Cleveland Clinic has released its annual list of its anticipated top medical breakthroughs of the coming year. Here are the top five:
* The microbiome. No surprises there. We are filled with bacteria, with the average number ranging anywhere from 30 trillion to 50 trillion. That bacteria plays a huge role in human health, with the gut microbiota becoming the subject of extensive research in recent years.
* Diabetes drugs that reduce heart disease and death. Two new drugs were recently approved to treat diabetes: Novo Nordisk's liraglutide and Eli Lilly's empagliflozin, which are showing some early, positive signs in helping patients with diabetes avoid heart disease.
* CAR-T therapy for leukemia and lymphoma. Through T-cell therapy, scientists want to use the human immune system to fight diseases like cancer.
* Liquid biopsies to find cancer. Already, oncologists are taking cancer patients' blood to monitor and track the progression of the disease, and how it's responding to treatment. It's an alternative to costly and invasive tissue-based biopsies.
* Automated car safety features and driverless capabilities. Makes sense, given the current rate of 38,000 fatal road accidents each year. Will new technologies, like adaptive cruise control and lane assist, be the new seat-belts?
Oculus wants to help teach you how to win at making VR content
You'll hear it almost every time someone in the know talks about the future of the consumer virtual reality industry: The hardware is good and getting better, but there's not enough content.
That's why Facebook-owned Oculus has teamed with Kaleidoscope–which runs a global VR film festival competition–on DevLab, a new initiative that is showcasing the work of 28 promising VR content creators. Some already have impressive VR work under their belts, like Arnaud Colinart, who made the award-winning Notes on Blindness, while others have experience in traditional filmmaking. And some have yet to make their names.
DevLab will bring the creators together, and they will show their work at an event at Facebook on December 2. Some will get their projects funded for full-scale production. The initiative is expected to expand next year. DT
Microsoft looks sexy again, and, at the moment, a little more innovative than Apple
After seeing the lineup of products Microsoft just announced it's hard to deny that the company's hardware group has got its game on. Microsoft has brought the Surface design approach to the desktop with the new Studio all-in-one, which has a screen that kneels down into a "drawing board" mode on the desktop. The Studio can also be controlled with a new kind of rotary input device called the "Dial" that sits on the display calling up digital menus on the touch screen around its base.
Apple is at a very different place in its history than Microsoft and its Surface line. But, I think, Microsoft gets points for taking some shots at offering people—in this case designers and other creative types—some new ways of doing their daily work. Microsoft, starting with last year's Surface Book, has been wooing the creative community that has long been Apple's domain. A year from now we'll know a lot more about how Microsoft has fared at winning those hearts and minds.
In the meantime, the people in the Surface Group, led by Panos Panay, seem like they're having fun. They're taking risks, not just coldly calculating market wants and answering with incremental features that already exist in other products. Meanwhile, in Cupertino, Apple will hold a press event to announce some new Macs tomorrow. We're already fairly sure we'll be seeing cool new OLED touch bar that will digitize the line of function keys at the top of the keyboard. Apple is still a deeply innovative company. I'm just glad to see that Microsoft is making a game of it. MS