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Netflix Does A Very Scary Thing…And Other Small Business Tech News

By November 8, 2020November 9th, 2020No Comments

(This post originally appeared on Forbes)

Here are five things in technology that happened this past week and how they affect your business. Did you miss them?

1 — Netflix raises prices on standard and premium plans.

Netflix recently raised prices on both their premium and standard plans to $17.99 per month for premium and $13.99 for standard. Previously the standard plan cost $12.99 while the premium plan was $15.99 a month. Customers will see the changes reflected in their upcoming bills in the next two months and will also get an alert one month before the change occurs. The basic Netflix plan will stay at $8.99/month, which remains the same as when the entry-level option was rolled out in 2019. (Source: CNBC)

Why this is important for your business:

This scares me. Why? Because Netflix is a cloud company. It delivers an online service. And – quietly – they just increased their prices without much opposition. What are you going to do? Give up another season of Ozark? Never! But for a business owner the risk is what happens when the companies providing our cloud applications do the same thing. We’ve got little means to stop them. It’s not security that concerns me about the cloud. It’s our lack of cost control because we’re at the mercy of the vendors. Beware of this and do your best to negotiate long term contracts.

2 —Walmart has abandoned their plan to have robots check store inventories.

Walmart announced this past week that they have decided to cancel their original plans to have robots to track and check inventory after they discovered that actual human employees were capable of performing the tasks just as well. The robots tested were able to scan several pieces of inventory at once and were able to avoid running into things using built in 3D imaging, all while checking items that have been misplaced, pricing, as well as keeping track of overall stock. With the lockdowns due to the pandemic — however — Walmart realized that their employees who had been putting together online delivery orders from their stores were also able to gather data regarding inventory. (Source: Engadget)

Why this is important for your business:

But wait! I thought robots were taking over the world and would end society as we know it! Hmm, that thinking seems a little premature. The reality is that it will be many years before we have reliable non-humans performing human tasks. But it won’t be long before robots can do menial things like satisfactorily track and check inventory as well as a human. Frankly, as humans, we’re better than that anyway, right?

3 —Lenovo’s early Black Friday laptop deals are yielding price cuts of over $1,000.

Lenovo is revealing several Black Friday deals on their laptops, many of which can save consumers over $1,000. Some of the deals include their ThinkPad L13 Yoga 2-in-1— originally $2,159— which has a 512GB SSD and 16GB of RAM will be only $949.99. Those looking to save a little more money could pick up the Yoga C740 2-in-1 laptop — which is said to be great for both work and everyday use — for $699.99. Lenovo’s ThinkPad X1 Carbon — a good alternative to MacBooks and similar devices — was originally $2,279 and will cost $949.99. (Source: Tech Radar)

Why this is important for your business:

Lenovo makes excellent business laptops. I’m a long-time user and so are many of my clients. Deals like this are enticing. Who says Christmas has to be in December, right?

4 —Shopify has announced their partnership with TikTok.

Shopify will be partnering with TikTok which will make the video platform accessible to over one million merchants throughout the United States, with certain markets gaining access early next year. The idea behind the partnership is to capitalize on where the most money is being spent by consumers, which currently is on the hot social media app. Merchants will have the opportunity to take advantage of TikTok’s popularity and influence through Shopify’s TikTok channel by reaching more individuals who are actively engaged on the platform (Source: Global Cosmetics News)

Why this is important for your business:

Despite the political sensitivity, TikTok continues to expand its user base and is particularly popular with a younger audience. If your business is also expanding its ecommerce activities and has products targeted at this demographic then this partnership may very well be of interest.

5— Scammers are pretending they saw you naked on Zoom.

According to researchers at Bitdefender — an antispam organization — scammers are claiming that they are seeing users naked on Zoom and that they have inappropriate footage as well. According to the research, the email sent by scammers tries to play on the recipient’s emotions, claiming that the sender lost their job and home due to COVID-19 and is in desperate need of money. The scam — which started October 20th — requests that recipients send $2,000 worth of bitcoin and even provides an address for where the cryptocurrency should be delivered. (Source: Gizmodo)

Why this is important for your business:

People, put some clothes on, for God’s sake.

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