D2C success stories. Romaine on the blockchain. Crypto's King Midas.

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On Wednesdays, we share articles we find interesting. Every Wednesday, we get a bunch of emails asking where The Blurb is and how to find the links.

The Blurb is at the bottom of the newsletter. Just scroll down.

Cafe con data

Shiru Cafe near Brown University doesn’t accept students’ cash or credit cards — they have to pay with their personal data.

This might sound a little Black Mirror-ish, but the students apparently don’t mind:

Students have to give their names, phone numbers, email addresses, majors, and professional interests to get a cup of coffee. That information then gets passed on to the cafe’s corporate sponsors.

This is the future.

Read more in The Blurb.

Let me be direct

Companies like Casper, Allbirds, and Warby Parker are transforming the way people shop.

They've built dominant presences in Google search results and leveraged social media to grow their audiences and connect with their customers directly.

We take a look at how 9 successful D2C e-commerce companies design and launch their products, build a better customer experience, and more.

Didn’t see you there

For decades, soldier camouflage relied mostly on natural materials — cow dung, tree sap, charcoal, etc. — applied by special artists known as camofleurs.

Now they use special cosmetics from Hollywood makeup artists.

Check out the interesting history of camouflage in The Blurb.

Is that ethical?

In March, an Uber vehicle in autonomous mode struck and killed a woman crossing the street in Arizona. But Uber isn't the only company having to reckon with the ethics of its AI inventions.

With more money than ever flowing into AI technology, ethicists are calling for transparency and accountability. We take a look at how ethics and AI are colliding across industries.

 What a pleasant surprise

Following yesterday's FDA surprise inspection of Juul Labs' headquarters, legacy tobacco companies like Philip Morris all saw a jump in their one-day stock prices.

With 72% of the vaping market, Juul has been on the minds of big tobacco companies recently.

We discuss this and much more in today's client-only note. Clients can read it here.

AuUuUto-TuUuUune revoluUuUution

Love it or hate it, Auto-Tune has had a massive effect on pop music since it first appeared in Cher’s “Believe” back in 1998. Today, you can hear it in just about any song on the radio.

Pitchfork takes a deep dive into the technology behind Auto-Tune, how its sound defined a generation of pop, the backlash against it, and why we keep listening.

Read the full article in The Blurb.

Lettuce bring this to the blockchain

Walmart is forcing all of its leafy greens suppliers to the blockchain by September 2019.

But it's not the only retailer exploring how blockchain tech could help improve product tracking, verification, and overall supply chain operations.

From jewelry authentication to beer tracking, we take a closer look at some retailers' blockchain initiatives.

 Amped up

With more energy usage data than ever before, software companies are taking on the utilities market.

From demand response to customer engagement to sensors and IoT, we map out 25+ companies using software to help utilities better optimize grid operation. Clients can see them all here.

Coins, coins everywhere

Coinbase is reportedly raising $500M in a new round of funding led by Tiger Capital, which would value the startup at $8B.

We dig into Coinbase's strategy, financing history, product offerings, and much more to see how it became crypto's King Midas.

Braskem, proud partner of … the Philadelphia Eagles?

In September, Brazil-based Braskem, one of the world’s largest petrochem companies, announced a sustainability partnership with the Philadelphia Eagles.  

Surprised? Wait until you hear how it leverages its startup ecosystem to bring new ideas into the company.

Braskem’s CDO Fabio Buckeridge will speak at TRANSFORM, December 4-5
We have 10 discounted tickets available. Use code agile for $500 off.

The Industry Standard

CB Insights data is the most trusted by those in the industry and the media. A few recent hits.

Nikkei Asian Review. Mitsuru Obe (@mit_obe) writes about growing concerns about funding for Chinese startups as Tencent restructures and quotes CB Insights CEO Anand Sanwal (@asanwal).

Inc. Emily Canal (@emilycanal) discusses this year’s record VC investment into coffee startups and cites CB Insights research.

Business Insider. Kate Taylor (@kate_h_taylor) writes about Walmart’s new patent application for a shopping cart that tracks customer stress levels and refers to CB Insights research.

I love you.


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The Blurb

A curated mix of articles worth sharing.

No dollars needed. A cafe near Brown University requires that students pay with their personal information.

Hiding in plain sight. A Hollywood makeup artist now sells over 11M tons of makeup to the US Armed Forces for camouflage.

Do you beLIEeEeEVE… Auto-Tune has defined a generation of pop music, for better or worse. Here’s why we keep listening.

In the lab. Mount Sinai’s experimental Lab 100 is trying to redesign healthcare by focusing on healthy people.
Fast Company

Twitter’s mysterious ways. Social media’s promise is to connect people — sometimes Twitter actually delivers.
NY Magazine

Under the influence. Rather than working with celebrities, Macy’s is looking for “influencers” within its own staff.
The Atlantic
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