1. Starbucks for President
Former Starbucks CEO, Howard Schultz, is officially stepping down from his current executive chairman position. Schultz is the man who grew Starbucks from 11 stores to more than 28K stores in 77 countries. As the company faces backlash from recent offenses and struggles to grow in home market sales, Schultz’s departure is brewing speculation. Some say it’s so he can continue his political pastime, as he’s expressed his concern “about our country—the growing division at home and our standing in the world.” When asked directly if he would run for president, Schultz replied, “One of the things I want to do in my next chapter is to figure out if there is a role I can play in giving back. I’m not exactly sure what that means yet.” Schultz has a latte work to do.
2. The Big Apple
Apple is once again making big changes. At their largest event of the year, the Worldwide Developers Conference, they decided to push back against Facebook with their new anti-tracking feature. When a new Safari browser is opened, this feature will allow users to block Facebook, and others, from tracking them around the Internet. Facebook, and potentially Google, might take a direct hit since both companies make revenue off of these targeted ads. Take a bite out of that apple.
In other news, the new iOS 12 is underway with new features:
- Siri Shortcuts. A series of actions tied to a specific command phrase. For example, if you say “I’m going home,” Siri will turn the thermostat to 70 degrees and provide a short route home.
- Monitoring and controlling phone use. Limit social media use or track how much time is spent on what.
- FaceTime for the whole family. FaceTime will be able to support up to 32 video chats at once and you’ll be able to turn yourself into an emoji — AKA Memoji.
- Major performance improvement. 40% faster app launches, 50% faster keyboard opening, and a 70% improvement in opening the camera.
- Notifications Tray revamp. Instead of listing each text message and Snapchat individually, the tray will group each section into one to limit endless scrolling.
3. Vanilla Villains Cause Prices to Rise
Vanilla extract is now worth more than silver, valued at $600/kg (2.2 lbs). It’s one of the world’s most popular spices, but it is getting harder to find as vanilla villains are smuggling the crops and 80-85% of the world’s supply comes from Madagascar. Farmers are starting to lose out as well. They only receive 5-10% of the vanilla profit despite the considerable amount of time and resources it takes to grow the spice.
The vine can take up to 4 years to mature, and the flowers only open one day a year for the farmers to handpick the pollen. 9 months later, the harvested green beans must be handpicked to ripen. After all that hard work, a fair share of the crop money ends up in the hands of smugglers. Farmers and consumers are losing out. This vanilla shortage is increasing vanilla costs and worst yet…. causing a shortage of vanilla ice cream. This just went from sweet to sour.