“Lugging” furniture around and the weekly roundup in tech and retail

News and commentaries

Even with the global market turmoil this week over fears of China’s market downturn, I have to admit that my mind has been mostly turned inward. Not even an oncoming Hurricane/Tropical Storm Erika is able to turn my focus outward. So pardon this mini-ramble.

One of the effects of pregnancy which I didn’t really experience nor comprehend on my first pregnancy is the urge to nest. Probably because of a new home, I find myself scrambling to put my mark on the new house, which has meant that I’ve also been preoccupied with online furniture stores, home decor tips, etc. which I continue to collate in order to share here later.

Anyway, what I largely found is this: that IKEA rocks in furniture logistics and inventory management (major understatement); that online furniture stores are ready for major disruption and; that I’m highly price sensitive to shipping and returns costs way more than the item price itself. And so, I found myself looking at Craigslist (an oldie but goodie) and despite a late pregnancy, crazy enough to buy on Craigslist and refinish said furniture myself. I would do a lot more except picking up heavier items by myself is a bit impossible – car-space wise and muscle wise.

As always, tech has an answer and pretty soon, there will be an app for that (beyond San Francisco area, I hope). Summer 2015 Y-Combinator graduate Lugg, an app for on-demand short-distance moves that has been operating in the San Francisco Bay area just raised $3.8M to grow its team and expand to new cities. The app connects the user to a local mover with the appropriately-sized vehicle to help lug around an IKEA or Craigslist purchase. Like Uber, payment is handled within the app. At $30 as base fare, plus $0.75 per minute while unloading and loading, and $2 per mile, I would have been more than happy to use this app. Maybe by the time I have the energy to refinish furniture again, Lugg or something similar would be available in my neighborhood. Or, I could also opt to buy from a couple of other startups such as: Greycork Loft, similar to IKEA but with faster set-up, even cheaper and with free shipping; or Campaign, also less assembly time, high quality and with free shipping.

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

In tech:

  1. Physicist Stephen Hawking believes he has solved the Black Hole Paradox
  2. China concerns brought Apple stock down by 10% on Monday, recovers after CEO Tim Cook’s email to “Mad Money” TV host Jim Cramer
  3. Hong Kong-based drone maker Yuneec draws $60M investment from Intel
  4. Facebook starts testing a personal assistant service called “M” within the Messenger app
  5. Tesla agrees to buy lithium from mine in Mexico for its Gigafactory

In retail:

  1. Amazon expands Prime Now, offers alcohol to US customers for the first time; Amazon scales back on development of consumer devices
  2. Teen apparel retailer Aeropostale posts loss for eleventh straight quarter with heavy discounts and store closings
  3. Best Buy posts better than expected profit for Q2, says Apple Watch has been a smash hit
  4. Tiffany forecasts surprise 2-5% decline in full-year profit while posting a 15% drop in quarterly earnings, blames strong dollar and high costs
  5. Walmart gets aggressive with early start to holiday season layaway, program begins on August 28 for “Toy Week”
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