With brief, occasional, italicized and sometimes gratuitous commentary…
• The Information reports that "Doordash will give its delivery drivers the option of being paid based on an hourly wage rate, a step in the direction of making its freelance drivers more like employees. But the offer has its limits: the meal-delivery service will calculate pay only the time they accept an order to the time they’ve completed the delivery. Drivers still won’t get paid for the time they spend waiting around for orders."
The story notes that "gig economy companies, ranging from Uber to DoorDash and Taskrabbit, have wrestled with the issue of how to pay workers for years, under pressure from cities and states. New York City next month will become the first city to require a minimum wage for app-based delivery drivers."
• Amazon-owned Zoox announced that it has been operating its robotaxis "on public roads in Las Vegas. No driver. No steering wheel or pedals. It is the first time a fully driverless purpose-built robotaxi has operated autonomously on public roads in the state of Nevada … We’re kicking things off with a one-mile loop around the neighborhood where our Las Vegas HQ is located, and we will expand over the coming months. Our robotaxis can transport four people at a time along this public route, at speeds up to 35 mph. The first riders are Zoox employees, and what we learn from these journeys will help us build our future public service.
"We’ve chosen an initial route that will put our vehicle through its paces. It must navigate several unprotected turns and multi-way stops—all on busy public roads with cyclists, pedestrians, and cars."
There is, it should be pointed out, considerable debate about driverless taxis in San Francisco, where public safety officials say they are getting in the way of fire trucks, ambulances and police cars, unable to auto-intuitively get out of the way in emergencies. Sounds to me like this is a discussion that will be had in a lot of metropolitan areas.
• The Information reports that "Online retailer Overstock.com will soon start operating its website under the Bed Bath & Beyond name, the company said Wednesday, after buying the brand and intellectual property of the bankrupt home goods chain for $21.5 million.
"Overstock, which sells furniture and other home items, will begin redirecting U.S. shoppers from overstock.com to bedbathandbeyond.com in the coming weeks. Overstock will also rebrand its mobile app and rewards program."
CEO Jonathan Johnson says, “We will probably have both logos for a little bit, but the goal is to transition as quickly as possible to Bed Bath & Beyond."
Overstock did not acquire any of bed Bath & Beyond's physical assets.