1. Post-Breakup Concierge Service
Did you know that breakups are most common on Valentine’s Day, April Fool’s Day, Monday, Summer holiday, during the Spring season, and two weeks before Christmas and on Christmas day? Maybe you are one of the unlucky ones that got dumped on Valentine’s Day due to a revenge breakup and are now having an ‘oh ship’ moment of where to live, how to be independent again, and, in general, asking yourself what to do with your life. Luckily, two friends decided to create a post-breakup concierge service, Onward, that helps people move on (literally and figuratively) after a breakup. Co-founders, Lindsay Meck and Mika Leonard, both endured breakups within a six-month span. “We hilariously bought the same furniture for our bedroom–we called it breakup [furniture],” said Leonard. “We realized that if we were going through this, that means other people are going through this, and there was no service that helps people deal with this nightmare amidst major emotional turmoil.” What are the different services? The customized packages start at $99 for a 10-Day Reboot package involving housing placement, moving/packing, storage, and even self-care, matching you with a therapist or mediator. Pricier packaging includes anywhere from address and utility change support to weekly scheduled concierge check-ins to personalized neighborhood guides that recommend bars, gyms, meetups, etc. Launched on V-Day in New York City, Meck says, “You simply show up, like you would an Airbnb. It’s an option for someone who needs something fast and furious.”
(Source: Fast Company, Onward)
2. Microsoft’s $480M Military Contract
Microsoft won a $480M contract with the military last November to create augmented reality and software tools for training and combat. Eventually, the company will deliver over 100K headsets as part of the contract, allowing users to visualize the battlefield and assist field medics. The US government said they want to integrate night vision, communication, targeting and threat recognition capabilities in the new headsets. In October, Microsoft President Brad Smith released a blog regarding the potential partnership saying, “first, we believe in the strong defense of the United States and we want the people who defend it to have access to the nation’s best technology, including from Microsoft.” However, more than 100 Microsoft employees recently signed a letter, demanding that the contract is canceled. “We did not sign up to develop weapons, and we demand a say in how our work is used,” the letter states. Nonetheless, Smith had also stated that they’d be willing to help employees switch to different projects if they’re not onboard with the HoloLens augmented reality technology.
(Source: TechCrunch, CNN)
3. Branded Residences for the Elite
Those at the top of the spending food chain are becoming bored of beachfront mansions and luxury hotels. Now, the new craze is branded residences built by companies such as Porsche, Armani, and Bulgari. These companies manage everything from security to maintenance and provide top dollar amenities such as cigar bars, car elevators, local tours, you name it. When buying a home overseas, “you are stepping outside your comfort zone. People find that quite a big step to take,” said Liam Bailey, a partner and global head of research for Knight Frank. With these branded residences, “you buy into a global brand,” instilling confidence into the buyer. Today, there are now over 400 branded residences across the globe (click this link to see some Crazy Rich Asian type of places). “It’s about creating memories and an emotional link: bringing in a celebrity chef or cocktail maker, arranging a cycle tour,” said Chris Graham, an expert on branded residences. “Branded residences will have to be far more holistic, with beautiful gardens and a wellness focus, as well as being more multi-generational,” says Muriel Muirden of WATG. The question remains, “the bar gets raised every year – more facilities, more experience, more tech: if everyone’s doing that, how are you going to offer something different?” — Chris Graham.
(Source: NY Times, Knight Frank)
Death and Taxes: A Homeowners’ Guide to Tax Reduction
In the face of the coming tax season, we’ve outlined a few key strategies people should know to (legally) shield their hard-earned nest eggs from the dreaded tax man here.