☕ A supposedly productive thing
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Cruise-ship connectivity lures remote workers.
July 10, 2024

Tech Brew

Amazon Web Services

It’s Wednesday. Have a job that allows you to work from anywhere? Why not…a cruise ship? Tech Brew’s Kelcee Griffis explored why connectivity improvements make this a feasible option for the work-from-anywhere set.

In today’s edition:

Kelcee Griffis, Jordyn Grzelewski, Jeena Sharma, Annie Saunders


Cruising the wi-fi seas

Image of three cruise ships with lines indicating internet connectivity. Emily Parsons

When Jenny Hunnicutt first heard about Royal Caribbean’s Ultimate World Cruise, she had one question: Is internet included?

The 34-year-old, who holds a doctorate in health and rehab sciences, already ran her research writing and consulting business from an RV alongside her husband Kristian—also an entrepreneur. As long as they could get online reliably and affordably, would moving the whole operation to sea for nine months really be so different?

The arrangement offered a lot of appeal: With their flexible schedules, they could visit every continent and World Wonder while working intermittently from the ship. They decided to take the plunge. Roughly six months in, Hunnicutt says it’s been smooth sailing.

“I couldn’t believe how good the internet was onboard. Like the fact that I could—I was—livestreaming on TikTok in Antarctica,” said Hunnicutt, who’s been documenting her travels from the handle @drjennytravels. “I just go back to the word ‘game changer.’ It really, really is that.”

Hunnicutt isn’t the only one trading a standard WFH setup for a floating office, an exchange in which connectivity is key. In March, Virgin Voyages announced it would sell summer cruise passes that sought to entice remote employees with a “work from helm” experience; other lines have similar offerings.

According to Stewart Chiron, a travel expert who dishes advice under the moniker The Cruise Guy, improvements in speeds and pricing for at-sea internet coincided with the Covid-19 pandemic, when many people began working remotely and were also itching to get away. These dynamics led to an explosion of interest in cruising, particularly from a younger audience.

“People were able to use the ship’s wi-fi. They were able to use their cell phones. And they were able to stay connected,” he said. “Why be chained to a desk or stuck in an office when you could be out traveling the world?”

Keep reading here.—KG



Great (industry) minds think alike

Amazon Web Services

From networking with tech industry leaders to sprucing up your generative AI knowledge, AWS re:Invent 2024 is leaving no cloud unexplored.

Happening Dec. 2–6 in Las Vegas, AWS: re:Invent is built to help you and your team grow in-demand skills while attending keynotes from AWS leaders, connecting with mentors and peers, and accessing the latest product launches. Oh, and last but not least, you’ll have re:Play, the greatest party in tech with live music and classic games.

Get expert guidance and grow your skills with 2.8k+ interactive sessions, training, and certification activities. Take your pick.

Register for an individual conference pass here or learn about group discounts.


Bright spot

Gas nozzle and EV charger Tomwang112/Getty Images

The second quarter wasn’t all sunshine and roses for the US auto industry, thanks in part to a cyberattack that caused widespread software outages at dealerships across the country last month.

But at least for some automakers, electrified vehicles represented a bright spot in an otherwise lackluster quarter.

GM, for example, posted its best-ever quarterly EV sales (21,930 units, up 40% YoY) even as its overall sales were nearly flat.

“We have an incredible portfolio of diverse vehicles and we’re flexible, so we can win as more customers embrace EVs and we can keep winning if they want to stay with the engine technologies they know,” Marissa West, GM SVP and president, North America, said in a statement.

Flexibility is a buzzword in the industry of late, as automakers lean into offering a mix of ICE, hybrid, and all-electric models to meet consumers’ needs and weather a bumpy EV market.

“EV growth has been slow the first half of the year,” Elizabeth Krear, VP of JD Power’s EV practice, said in a statement in late June. “With more options at competitive affordability, it begs the question, ‘Why is the pace of EV sales flat and what is the satisfaction and future intent of current EV owners?’”

Keep reading here.—JG



Fit check

A chat window with shopping bags in the front. Anna Kim

Imagine browsing your favorite retailer’s website looking through a massive selection of products to find the perfect outfit for your friend’s wedding and the right shoes to go with it. It can be confusing and sometimes intimidating, to say the least.

Well, Shopping Muse—a next-generation retail assistant from Dynamic Yield, a Mastercard company—may make things a tad easier…at least if you’ll be shopping at Michael Kors, which has become the first retailer to adopt the tech.

“Retailers need new ways to reach shoppers that have a lot of options and often little patience, and consumers need to get what they’re looking for quickly and effectively,” Ori Bauer, CEO of Dynamic Yield, told Retail Brew via email. “Using generative AI and our deep personalization capabilities, we created a solution that meets both of those challenges.”

With Shopping Muse, consumers can log on to the retailer’s website and punch in questions or commands like “What do I wear to the beach?” or “I want to look great on a date,” in the styling assistant pop-up, which will then generate a series of apparel options with accessories to match.

Keep reading here.—JS



Stat: Almost 5%. That’s how much Q2 Tesla deliveries were down YoY, Morning Brew wrote, albeit noting that the automaker’s stock ended last week up 26%.

Quote: “There’s this weird sensation where there’s nothing you can do when it’s coming right at you...You can’t ring your bell. You can’t shout at it. All you can do is quickly get out of the way.”—Reed Martin, a San Francisco cyclist, about encountering autonomous vehicles while riding a bicycle

Read: I drove a Cybertruck around SF because I am a smart, cool alpha male (SFGATE)

A head start: Meeting with industry pros and strengthening (very in-demand) skills? Uh, yes, please. It’s all happening at AWS re:Invent 2024. Register for a single ticket or buy group tickets.*

*A message from our sponsor.


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