Furniture shopping and the weekly roundup in tech and retail

News and commentaries

As I get in the thick of things of furnishing our new home (read my related post here on mortgages and house-buying), I am struck with the limitations of shopping online for furniture. This week alone, I received three shipments from One Kings Lane, a flash sale home decor website based in San Francisco. Despite some negative reviews, I figured a company valued at $912M and backed by some of Silicon Valley’s well-known venture capitalists such as Kleiner Perkins and Greylock Partners, One Kings Lane would sort of have this figured out. Well, 2 out of 3 came damaged and the third one looked so cheap, I didn’t even bother opening the rest of the package. Thankfully, contrary to the negative reviews, the customer service was top-notch and painless. It made me think about Amazon’s seemingly effortless packaging and how I’ve taken it for granted as a Prime subscriber. I am reminded once again that Amazon has made packaging and order fulfillment into a science:

If only I could get most of the stuff I need from Amazon but Amazon’s furniture options are still limited, unfortunately. In the meantime, I’m in the hunt for the best online furniture delivery companies out there. I am documenting my experience as I go along so I do hope to share that with you on this blog soon.

Here are this week’s most relevant news in tech and retail:

In tech:

  1. Computer glitches: The New York Stock Exchange experienced a four-hour outage on Wednesday, blames computer glitch; a computer glitch is also blamed for the grounding of United Airlines flights for 2 hours on Wednesday
  2. Italy-based cybersecurity firm Hacking Team has been hacked; 400GB of published documents show company sold software to spyware and malware to repressive regimes
  3. Space: After 9.5 years and $3B miles, NASA spacecraft New Horizons will fly by Pluto on July 14; Cause of SpaceX Falcon 9 failure still unknown, Musk promises preliminary report by end of this week
  4. Ride-sharing: Didi Kuaidi, Uber’s Arch Rival In China, confirms $2B in fresh funding; Google-owned mapping company Waze to launch a ride-sharing app in Israel called RideWith
  5. Apple to order largest-ever production run for next iPhone; asking suppliers to manufacture 85M-90M units

In retail:

  1. Amazon celebrates 20th anniversary with “Prime Day” on July 15; deals for Prime subscribers will rival Black Friday
  2. Alibaba to invest $100M in China’s Mei.com, a flash sales platform for luxury and fashion goods
  3. Target unveils Open House in San Francisco, a 3,500-square-foot suburban home space to showcase a connected home
  4. Struggling teen clothing retailer American Apparel warns there may not be sufficient funds in the next 12 months even after restructuring
  5. Luxury online retailer Farfetch.com launches Farfetch and Away, a yacht delivery service for traveling customers
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