TradeBriefs Editorial From the Editor's Desk

Skies Aren’t Clogged With Drones, but Don’t Rule Them Out Yet
If you’ve been worrying that drones would be filling the skies over your head, dropping packages off day after day at your neighbor’s house, leaving food on doorsteps or photographing your every move, you can relax a little. At least for now.

The hype over commercial drones is, so far, largely just that. One of the people who contributed to that hype was Jeff Bezos, the Amazon founder. In a "60 Minutes” interview in December 2013, he predicted that deliveries by drones could become commonplace within five years.

The fifth anniversary of Mr. Bezos’s prediction has come and gone, but widespread deliveries by drone are not yet a reality, neither by Amazon nor by any other company.

Regulatory thickets, technical complexity and the public’s skittishness have proven to be formidable hurdles. At a minimum, the unresolved issues include whether it is safe to allow drones to fly beyond a pilot’s visual line of sight, to operate at night and to fly over people.

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TradeBriefs Editorial From the Editor's Desk

How to hack the freeconomy
I have come to realise, however, that I am nothing but a novice. One popular route to free riches involves a "referral code", which gives each person who uses it a credit for helping secure new customers. Felix, who runs a startup in San Francisco, has taken this to extremes. He accomplished what he calls his "Bay Area hack" by buying around $600 in advertisements on Google and placing his referral code from Uber in each ad. He spent hours fine-tuning his approach until his ads often had a higher click-through rate than Uber's own. For each person who signed up to Uber's service through his ad, he received a credit. He eventually amassed $30,000 in credits, which allowed him to ride around the city in Uber's cars and eat three meals a day from UberEats, the company's food-delivery service, for a whole year without paying a cent.

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TradeBriefs Editorial From the Editor's Desk

Being An Instagram Influencer Is Hard Work, So This Guy Made A Bot To Do It For Him
Chris Buetti had a problem: Dining out in New York was getting too expensive. He saw was one obvious solution - becoming an Instagram influencer and asking restaurants to give him free meals to post about them - but that process would be time-consuming and require annoying soft skills like “being good at taking photos" and "creating content people enjoy." Anyway, he already had a job.

So Buetti, a data scientist by trade, decided to use his actual skills and automate the hard work of influencing by writing a program that recruited an audience of 25,000 (by autofollowing their accounts in hopes of getting a follow back), and reposted photographers' eye-catching photos of New York City for his growing entourage to engage with ("😍🤗🤗🤗great shot💕," one person commented). Poof: @beautiful.newyorkcity was born - an active, popular, and 100% artificial Instagram account. For Buetti, it's the perfect solution if you don't want to actually dedicate time to curating an online following, but still want to score free spaghetti from restaurants seeking publicity. His program even finds restaurant accounts in New York, and sends them direct messages offering to promote them to followers in exchange for a comped meal - and no, it does not disclose that @beautiful.newyorkcity is run by a robot.

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