Netflix CEO Reed Hastings says he’s sticking around until 2030 (NFLX)

Hello and welcome to Trending, Business Insider’s weekly look at the world of tech. I’m Alexei Oreskovic, Business Insider’s West Coast Bureau Chief and Global Tech Editor. If you want to get Trending in your email inbox every Wednesday, just click here.


This week: What’s one more decade when you’re Reed Hastings?

reed hastings

Ore Huiying/Getty Images for Netflix

“To be totally clear, I’m in for a decade.”

So said newly appointed Netflix co-CEO Reed Hastings during the company’s quarterly earnings call on Thursday. Hastings will now share the top job with the company’s longtime content boss Ted Sarandos, but his message was clear: He’s not going anywhere.

To anyone who’s looked at the dismal track record of such dual-CEO arrangements lately, Hastings’ promise may seem improbable. Whether it’s Hastings or Sarandos, one of the pair is unlikely to still be in the job 10 years from now. But Hastings has proven far more prescient than almost any other business leader, so we decided to take a look at what the world will look like in 2030, as Hastings prepares to retire.

In short, Netflix will have a giant multiplanetary addressable market to stream videos to (or whatever gets streamed at that point), just as the 69-year-old Hastings hangs up his spurs. I’m not sure if “Grace and Frankie” will still be in production, though.

Of course, you don’t have to wait until 2030 to get a taste of the future.

Jeff Bezos HaptX
Jeff Bezos described the sensation of controlling the robotic hands as “weirdly natural.”
HaptX

As Eugene Kim reports, Amazon’s secret project building a home robot for consumers is getting closer to reality. There’s even a sales price — potentially exceeding $1,000 — already under discussion.

It would make the waist-high robot code-named “Vesta” and resembling a “Roomba vacuum-cleaner in human form” the most expensive gadget in Amazon’s hardware closet. Unlike the unwanted crumbs sucked up by a Roomba, however, the Amazon robot might roam your house hoovering up an assortment of private data — a risky proposition for any tech company these days.

So what’s Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos thinking? Besides Bezos’ thing for bots, it’s not entirely clear what’s motivating this initiative. Some speculate the Vesta could test the potential for Amazon to expand its Alexa voice assistants into the market for higher-priced luxury goods, while simultaneously letting Amazon flex its technical chops.

Read Eugene’s full story on Amazon’s robot here.


Not far from Amazon’s Lab126 office where the Vesta robot is being developed, Google’s sister company Verily has been operating in “Code Red.”

As Hugh Langley reports, Code Red is the name for Verily’s efforts involving the coronavirus. And according to insiders that Hugh spoke to, it has not exactly been smooth sailing. Seven day weeks of 12-hour days, constant fire drills, and a culture of fear rule the organization. Speaking out is not only discouraged, it is punished. 

Read Hugh’s full story about life inside Verily here.


Earnings season surprises

Evan Spiegel

Getty

Snap’s Q2 results caused a bit of a shiver among investors on Tuesday. Not because the recovery from the coronavirus pandemic is taking longer than expected, as IBM attested on Monday, but because the lockdowns didn’t deliver the sustained levels of user engagement that Snap was banking on.

“This initial lift dissipated faster than we anticipated as shelter in place conditions persisted,” Snap CFO Derek Andersen, explaining the shortfall in Q2’s daily active users, said. (The report came out on the same day that Business Insider’s Paige Leskin reported that Snap has hired an outside law firm to investigate allegations of discrimination.) 

Next up are Microsoft and Tesla, both of which reports their quarterly results on Wednesday. Here’s what to expect:


Just when social media influencers were set to rule the world, the pandemic — and its many disruptions — has put their ascendancy on hold. But, lest marketers be without an influential face to pitch their wares, a special breed of “virtual influencer” has rushed in to fill the void. 

Lil Miquela, pictured below, signed a deal with legendary Hollywood talent agency CAA in May. Unlike her flesh and blood counterparts, Miquela doesn’t stop producing new content just because of a virus, explains Kara Weber, president of Brud, the virtual influencer startup that created the celebrity avatar. 

Lil Miquela - Brud virtual influencer

Created by the content startup Brud, Miquela is a virtual influencer and music pop star with over 2 million followers on Instagram.
Brud

“During the COVID pandemic when other artists can’t go anywhere, Miquela can be anywhere,” Weber said, noting her electronic client’s growing popularity with brands seeking to connect with consumers in the “brave new world where we’re all living inside our homes.”

Read the full story about virtual influencers here.


Special event: Join Business Insider and Salesforce on Tuesday, July 28 at 12:00 p.m. ET for “Digital Optimization: How manufacturers can take small steps for big wins,” a free digital event. The session will explore how manufacturers can pivot to digital to create a customer-first experience, enhance relationships, and build trust. Click here to register.


Recommended Readings:

Meet the husband-and-wife team that run AngelPad, the exclusive startup accelerator whose early bet on Postmates just led to a $2.65 billion Uber acquisition

Everything you need to know about GPT-3, the natural language AI tool that’s making tech Twitter lose its mind

These 25 investors are hunting for the next big fintech unicorn. Here’s what founders should know before pitching them.

A female exec is suing $3 billion Carta, alleging that the CEO likened her to an alcoholic who needed to recover from her ‘a–hole’ problem

Meet the 24 rising stars at Salesforce who are playing key roles in helping CEO Marc Benioff grow the cloud computing powerhouse


Not necessarily in tech:

The ultimate guide to getting started in real-estate investing — according to entrepreneurs who built multimillion-dollar empires from scratch


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— Alexei

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Disclosure: Mathias Döpfner, CEO of Business Insider’s parent company, Axel Springer, is a Netflix board member. Exclusive FREE Report: 30 Big Tech Predictions for 2020 by Insider Intelligence

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