Lobbyists for Self-Driving Cars, Purposes for Companies, and Rating Agencies Catch Up


What’s Next: Lobbyist Bots?
 Self-driving cars now have lobbyists (The Verge). Google, Ford, Lyft, Volvo, and Uber are behind the initiative. In keeping with Washington tradition, the new group has an inoffensive, inarguable name (Self-Driving Coalition for Safer Streets) and follows revolving door hiring practices at its top (it’ll be run by David Strickland, former administrator of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration).

What’s a Company Without A Purpose?
 Apparently, the answer is “one of the largest companies in the world.” In his weekly column, NewCo’s editor in chief reviews the purpose of the five largest companies from Fortune’s 2015 500 list, and finds them severely lacking.

Borrowing From Peter to Pay Them All
 Finally, one of the ratings agencies is calling out a Wall Street stalwart, downgrading Exxon’s debt and questioning its core financial strategy. Too bad S&P found its backbone years after our last debt bubble burst. Let’s hope it’s not too late this time.

A Smart City Is Not Necessarily a Wise One
 Here’s one way to make a city really smart: capture as much information on its population as possible. Smart, but not necessarily wise. Singapore, the city-state already identified with “tight controls on personal behavior,” will start collecting even more data. The Wall Street Journal was unable to get much information on what new behavior will be monitored, although authorities can already “tell when people are smoking in prohibited zones or littering from high-rise housing.” It’s possible these new sensors will improve lives, as the government contends, but the privacy tradeoff of living in a truly smart city makes us wish cities were smarter about what they want to be smart about.

Don’t Blame Regulation for the End of Your Dynasty
 How did Microsoft’s antitrust troubles slow it down? How might Google’s upcoming antitrust troubles cause it to stumble? Ben Thompson’s aggregation theory (Stratechery) rethinks the past and imagines the future as one in which, like Microsoft before it, Google, while still quite formidable for many years to come, has “peaked in relevance,” regardless of regulatory action.

Apple and Twitter Have a Bad Day
 In yesterday’s Daily, we teased the Apple and Twitter earnings news. Here’s what actually happened: Apple’s 13-year-long streak of continuous quarterly growth came to an end, due in part to a drop in iPhone sales. And Twitter was able to stop its loss in users although its all-important advertising revenue was less than expected. Markets have responded as you’d expect (USA Today).

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