The Airbnb of Self-Storage?

Neighbor helps businesses monetize excess space. The Trump Administration is still pushing new regulations. And elite auction houses are selling sneakers and hoodies.

STARTUPS

Online marketplace Neighbor wants to be the Airbnb of self-storage: “A space-sharing startup is seeking to disrupt the old-school self-storage industry with a digitally focused, peer-to-peer platform connecting hosts with renters who need a place to stash their stuff. Following in the footsteps of successful peer-to-peer marketplaces such as Airbnb and Uber, Neighbor allows people and businesses to earn income by renting out their excess space — basements, garages, attics, spare bedrooms, closets, vacant offices, etc. — as storage units for others in their communities.”

  • “The company was founded in 2017 and now has a presence in all 50 states.”

  • “The pandemic accelerated the need for storage space in 2020, and Neighbor saw its traffic and reservations surge by more than seven times over 2019 levels.” READ MORE

TRAVEL

U.S. will force international travelers to get Covid tests: “The new policy requires all air passengers, regardless of vaccination status, to get a test for current infection within the three days before their flight to the United States departs, and to provide written documentation of their test results or proof of having recovered from Covid-19. Proof of immunization will not be sufficient, because the vaccines have only been shown to prevent serious illness, said Jason McDonald, a spokesman for the C.D.C. Vaccinated people may still become infected, in theory, and transmit the virus on a flight.” READ MORE

HUMAN RESOURCES

The fight over California’s Prop 22 isn’t over: “A group of Uber and Lyft drivers in California filed a lawsuit Tuesday in state supreme court to overturn a ballot measure that allows the companies to continue treating its workers like independent contractors. The drivers claim that Prop 22, which was approved by California voters last November, violates the state’s constitution by ‘stripping’ the state legislature’s ability to empower workers to organize, as well as by ‘illegally’ excluding ride-hail drivers from the state workers’ compensation program.”

  • “It’s unclear how successful drivers will be in overturning Prop 22. The measure was written in a way to withstand future challenges, including a provision that requires a seven-eighths majority of the state legislature for any modification ...”

  • “But drivers are trying to use this language to argue that Prop 22 was illegal from its inception.” READ MORE

REGULATION

As his term ends, President Trump is rushing to put into effect a raft of new regulations. For example: “Limiting banks on social and environmental issues. The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency is rushing a proposed rule that would ban banks from not lending to certain kinds of businesses, like those in the fossil fuel industry, on environmental or social grounds. The regulator unveiled the proposal on Nov. 20 and limited the time it would accept comments to six weeks despite the interruptions of the holidays.” READ MORE

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FOOD & BEVERAGE

Outdoor dining in winter? Must be the season of the yurt: “The ceiling in the shed I’d been told to step into was so low I had to stoop. The walls, made of raw, unpainted wood and foam insulation board, were too close together for me to extend my arms more than halfway. All the light came from a bare bulb plugged into an extension cord. There was one small window next to the door, which was the only way in or out. Rain dripped from a leak in the roof. In ordinary times, being led into a room like this might make me think: Will anyone hear me if I scream?”

  • “But this is January of 2021 in the plague-stricken city of New York, so I looked around and thought how lucky I was to have found a nice, safe place for dinner.”

  • “This is the winter of the yurt, the time of the tiny house, the season of the space bubble, the hour of the hut.” READ MORE

SUSTAINABILITY

United Airlines is investing in carbon-capture technology designed to suck carbon dioxide from the atmosphere: “United Airlines is the first major U.S. air carrier to take a step toward trying to remove some of the greenhouse gases spewed by it and every other airline, pollution that is driving up global temperatures.”

  • “But it may also be placing an early bet that carbon capture technology could — with the help of federal tax credits — prove profitable as the globe races for ways to cut the pollution that threatens the planet.” READ MORE

INTERNATIONAL

Germany may need to prolong its coronavirus lockdown until Easter due to risks posed by a fast-spreading variant from the U.K.: “Europe’s largest economy has already seen its outbreak intensify in recent days, despite tightening restrictions on movement and contact. Now authorities are looking with concern toward Ireland, where the new strain has contributed to one of the world’s worst contagion rates. During a video call on Tuesday, [Chancellor Angela] Merkel said harsh curbs might have to remain in place for the next eight to 10 weeks to combat the mutation, according to a person on the call who asked not to be identified.” READ MORE

Battling its biggest outbreak in months, China has reimposed lockdowns and quarantined more than 20 million people: “The tightening, which comes during northern China’s coldest winter in a generation, underscores official skittishness nearly a year after authorities shut down the city of Wuhan to contain the initial outbreak. On Tuesday, China’s National Health Commission reported 42 new cases of locally transmitted symptomatic infection, a day after recording 85 such cases—its highest daily count in six months.” READ MORE

Meanwhile, China’s economy and its currency have come roaring back: “The currency, known variously as the yuan or the renminbi, has surged in strength in recent months against the American dollar and other major currencies. Through Monday, the U.S. dollar was worth 6.47 renminbi, compared with 7.16 renminbi in late May and close to its strongest level in two and half years.”

  • “The stronger renminbi has implications for companies that make stuff in China, which is a pretty big group.”

  • “It could make Chinese-made goods more expensive for the world’s consumers, though the effect seems muted so far.” READ MORE

LOGISTICS

Airports are devoting more space to freight shipments as online shopping surges: “Amazon Air’s strategy for cargo routes and ground facilities differs substantially from that of other carriers. Its cargo is composed of goods sold on its own online market; its airport facilities are close to Amazon’s network of fulfillment centers. That formula fits Amazon’s decision to settle at CVG, on the Kentucky side of the Ohio River across from Cincinnati.”

  • “Since 2010, according to the company’s data, Amazon has spent more than $15 billion in Kentucky, much of it on 10 fulfillment and sorting centers, two delivery stations, a customer service center and two Whole Foods Markets.”

  • “The company says it employs 14,500 people in the state. Its air cargo hub will add 2,000 jobs.” READ MORE

LUXURY GOODS

Auction houses are betting on sneakers and streetwear: “In late December 2020, the venerated auction house Sotheby’s hosted an online-only sale of a pair of leather Adidas sneakers. Made in partnership with the 311-year-old porcelain-maker Meissen specifically for the auction, the shoes had been festooned with porcelain overlays and meticulously hand-painted with fanciful motifs from toe to heel, a six-month process that elevated humble sweat repositories to something approaching art. To the highest bidder, the sneakers were worth $126,000. (All proceeds went to the Brooklyn Museum.)”

  • “In July 2019, Sotheby’s sold a historic set of Nike’s ‘Moon Shoe’ waffle-soled sneakers from 1972 for a then-record-setting $437,500. A pair of game-worn Michael Jordan sneakers has since sold for more.”

  • “Last September, a 2017 Supreme hoodie made in partnership with Louis Vuitton sold at Sotheby’s in New York for $6,048, far more than the $935 it commanded at retail.” READ MORE

THE 21 HATS PODCAST

Episode 44: How Do I Manage My Managers? This week, responding to a question from a listener, Jay Goltz, Dana White, and Laura Zander talk about managing people. Jay offers a four-step plan that starts with making sure you’ve hired the right manager: “Anytime you ever hear anyone complaining about their employees, it's a bad manager.” Laura talks about coming to the realization that her staff is not where she thought it was—and how that’s playing into her recent anxiety attacks: “So now, I’ve got anxiety about my anxiety.” Plus: When did you know how you had a real business? And Dana’s getting married! 

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