iFive: Amazon's Jeff Bezos Gets to Work, Austin Shares Smart Cars, and 50 Cent Isn't Twittering? in Today's Innovation News

While you were sleeping, innovation worked a double shift, popped a couple of brewskis, and then fell asleep in his work clothes. Here's today's innovation news:

  1. The family can stop worrying: Jeff Bezos got a warehouse job in Kentucky. Jeff, I thought we told you to write when you find work! (And send money home.) Seriously, if every executive truly experienced the rank-and-file jobs inside their organization like Bezos did with his one-week stint at a company warehouse, not only would they improve their business, but layoffs of the lowest-rung workers might not be the default cost-cutting move. Like when the imperious CEO of some company called Amazon decided to close three distribution centers. The good news is that some of the employees will be transferred to other centers. Hope they like Kentucky! [Via Silicon Alley Insider's Henry Blodget and WSJ's Geoffrey A. Fowler]
  2. Austin stays weird, and that may be why it gets smarter. The city, still clearly a bit hung over from SXSW traffic snarls, announed that German automaker Daimler will test a first-of-its-kind car-sharing program in the U.S. for city employees. Austin mayor Will Wynn says Austin got picked because of its "reputation for innovation." And its promise not to stink up the cars with BBQ and patchouli oil. [via Austin American-Statesman's
  3. New York's financial sector and Detroit's automotive business have already had their economic comeuppance. Is Los Angeles' entertainment industry next? Yes, box office is up this year, but Steven Pearlstein sounds the warning shot, suggesting that it needs to reinvent its business model or risk what happens "when an arrogant and insular industry comes to view its dominance as inevitable and its outsized compensation as an entitlement." I sure am glad that the media doesn't suffer from those problems. Am I right or am I right, unwashed masses? [via Washington Post's Steven Pearlstein]
  4. Can't live without your laptop and flat-panel TV? You're not alone. Best Buy gave the economy a boost with a positive quarterly earnings report yesterday, suggesting that robust sales for those devices mean that a portable computer and big, sleek TV are now necessities. In a related story, writer Kurt Andersen is holed up with his MacBook Pro and 52-inch HDTV plasma to avoid public mockery for his story on the End of Excess in today's Time Magazine. [via BusinessWeek's John Tozzi and Time]
  5. We all know by now that Twitter has captured the fancy of celebrity musicians (50 Cent, Diddy Combs), actors (Ashton Kutcher), and politicians (President Obama). The New York Times breaks today with the news that some of these celebrities have hired ghost Twitterers to update their accounts, as if the red-hot microblogging service is just some crass marketing tool and not a (140-characters-at-a-time) deep expression of personal sentiment. Shocked! Shocked, I say. Damn you, US Magazine: Stars, maybe they're really not like us. [via NYT's Noam Cohen]

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