Hello everyone. This week’s Week-in-Review Mango Juul Pods is where I provide a lot of analysis and/or rambling thoughts about one story, while also scouring the hundreds of TechCrunch stories this week to find my favorite stories for your reading pleasure.
Mango Juul Pods : How streaming networks are reducing their benefits and paving the way for a new era in piracy
The big story
Moral relativism is a driving force in the startup world. This system cannot work without a north star for wrongdoing.
This can be difficult to find, as many missteps at Uber or Facebook are often a result of misunderstandings and being plagued by multiple stakeholders.
Mango Juul Pods : Juul is, thankfully, a company whose website is dedicated to its values, so its real-world impact doesn’t need to be.
The startup’s CEO was forced to resign and was replaced by a Big Tobacco executive. This is a fitting change for a company that has always tried to keep a moral high ground, but which now faces the harsh realities of life. Juul is not in a good place at the moment.
However, this is not because Juul had a “come to Jesus” moment. It’s because the White House, FDA and FDA are pissed off and are threatening to ban flavored cartridges.
These are responsible for 80% of Juul’s sales
Why? Juul’s fruity flavors were destined for teenagers, as they were addictive and too tempting not to use. According to a CDC report, the CDC found that high school students used tobacco increased by 38% last year due to a 78% increase in e-cigarette usage.
This, along with a mysterious vaping disease that may have been caused by counterfeit THC cartridges has pushed Altria into a crisis of regulatory compliance and a crisis of identity.
Kevin Brown, Juul Labs’ chief executive, is leaving the company to make way for Atria, a long-standing tobacco executive, to take over the leadership role.
This comes as Juul is under intense scrutiny by U.S regulators for its marketing strategies and possible bans on certain
Altria purchased 35% of Juul in December last year for $12.8 billion. This deal valued Juul at $38 billion. Employees received massive bonuses and $2 billion in Altria cash to offset the bitter taste of the deal with Big Tobacco.
Kevin Burns, then-CEO, tried to diffuse the situation. “We understand and sympathize with the controversy and skepticism that come with an affiliation or partnership with the largest US tobacco company.
He said that he was skeptical too. “But over the past several months, we were convinced by actions and not words that this partnership could accelerate our success in switching adult smokers.”
Altria’s deal was a success and it now appears that the receiver-less zone is closing in on them. Altria’s share price has fallen 30 percent to a 5-year low in the last five months due to its redemption bet on Juul.
This has been largely because the regulatory environment has changed drastically. All of this led to Burns’ resignation as CEO, and he was replaced by K.C. Crosthwaite.
Juul’s mission was different from reality in the case
But it made for a great story
It allowed for executives, investors, recruiters, marketers, engineers, and interns to share their stories when ethics were questioned. However, eventually, the charade lifted and you see that your startup’s soul is not so shiny, sleek, and full of Silicon Valley ideals. It’s just another kind of tarblack.
Alt-title in gif form for this week’s newsletter https://t.co/jh0bGw9Jz7 pic.twitter.com/SA3hqlpDgY
Here’s the rest of this week’s news
Trends for the Week
These are some big news items from large companies. The green links will take you to the full context.
TechCrunch’s Galaxy Fold is damaged after one day
TechCrunch was able to escape a broken Galaxy Fold unit in the first attempt, although other reviewers’ problems led to a long delay and a product redesign.
However, when we reviewed our “new-and improved” Galaxy Fold unit, the screen suffered damage after only a day of use.
Although we were generous with our observations of possible causes, you don’t need to use your $2,000 smartphone in children’s gloves. Continue reading.
Amazon launches more Alexa devices
Amazon’s annual event, where they throw a bunch Alexa-enabled junk out into the wild, has arrived! Alexa glasses, Alexa rings and Alexa Echos are all available. You can see them all here.
Facebook has officially announced that it will be removing like counts from Australia.
Facebook is trying to change how people see content from other users. In Australia, a test was conducted to hide how many likes posts received. Continue reading.
What was the biggest tech company’s mistake this week? This section clearly requires its own section.
The world’s politicians get a free pass from Facebook
[Facebook promises to not stop politicians’ lies, hatred]
Apple allows keyboard apps to have a little too much access
Apple claims that a bug could allow ‘full-access’ to third party keyboards.
We’re excited to announce our biggest event of 2019 and invite some of the most influential figures in tech. Here are the people coming to Disrupt SF 2019
Y Combinator’s Michael Seibel and Ali Rowghani will reveal the new YC top100 list. They also talk about startups at Disrupt SF
Since its 2005 founding, Y Combinator has been its own economic entity. The seed-stage venture capital fund nurtured top startups from all industries and has helped them grow.
You’ll see many YC startups today providing services to larger companies. Then, they become larger businesses themselves. (Stripe & Gusto are just two examples).
You can also enjoy the amazing speakers and browse Startup Alley to see the over 1,000 companies showcasing technologies and products.
The Startup Battlefield competition, which launched Mint, Cloudflare, and Dropbox will be one of Disrupt SF’s most memorable highlights.