Amazon’s Uber Imitation Program Flex Is A Disaster For Its Workers (HBO)

Amazon just had its best Prime day ever.

The company sold more than 100 million products over a 36-hour period, bragging in a press release that it was the “biggest shopping event in Amazon history.” But a massive shopping event like Prime Day is only in possible in part because of Amazon’s Flex program, which recruits everyday people to deliver Amazon packages for a modest wage.

That’s because the most expensive part of delivering a package is getting it from a local warehouse to a customer’s doorstep. Amazon’s Flex program helps reduce that cost by hiring delivery drivers as independent contractors.

VICE News followed a married couple in Phoenix, AZ, who use Flex as their primary source of income. “[Flex] saved our lives,” Beverly Karpinski, 64, told VICE News. “For three months we had no income except for my husband’s social security check, and one day I was on Craigslist and I saw Amazon was hiring independent delivery drivers.”

Karpinski and her husband, Ed, both signed up for Flex and have been delivering packages for more than a year. In Arizona, the Karpinski’s make about $18 an hour before expenses.

You don’t need any qualifications to drive for Flex: just pass a background check and have a valid driver’s license. Due to the driver’s independent contractor status, Amazon doesn’t provide any benefits like healthcare or paid time off. Amazon says Flex drivers across the country make $18-$25 an hour, but that doesn’t include gas or car maintenance.

Amazon declined to provide any details about how many Flex drivers Amazon hires, or how many fulfillment centers across the country support Flex, but an Amazon spokesperson confirmed that the company leverages its malleable Flex workforce in order to compensate for Prime Day. The spokesperson also confirmed that the delivery route given to Flex drivers is generated by an Amazon algorithm.

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Craig from Craigslist thinks he has a solution to ‘fake news’

Business Insider spoke with Craig Newmark, founder of Craigslist, about a solution to “fake news.”

Newmark believes that there are too many unreliable news outlets who are poor at identifying trustworthy news.

Newmark’s project aims to reduce bot networks that propagate fake news, identifying the trustworthy networks and leaving consumers with only reliable information.

Do you think this will solve the problem?

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Craigslist founder Craig Newmark explains why he chose philanthropy over an IPO

Business Insider spoke to Craigslist founder Craig Newmark at the World Economic Forum in Davos.

Read the full transcript below:

Craig Newmark: In my first year or two in San Francisco, a lot of people helped me acclimatise myself to the town.

They helped me understand what neighbourhoods were good and maybe where to shop. I got a lot out of it.

Early ’95, I decided I should give back, started a simple mailing list, it succeeded via word-of-mouth. I had to call it something at some point, was going to call it “San Francisco Events”.

Jim Edwards: How many people were on the email list at its height?

Craig Newmark: Well at that time, around 250 people. People around me though told me that I had invented a brand – Craigslist – they explained to me what a brand is, and I’m being literal here.

They were right, so that worked for a while. But by the time the end of ’98 came around, people helped me understand then that I needed to make it into a real company or it would fail.

I decided to monetise as little as possible, partially because of that Sunday school lesson: “Know when enough is enough.”

VCs and bankers at that point told me I should do the usual Silicon Valley thing and make some billions. But no-one really needs billions of dollars except to give away.

Jim Edwards: So you have no regrets about not doing the whole VC thing?

Craig Newmark: No, I’ve no regrets not doing my own IPO. I plan to give away a great deal more money to charity, I’ve already committed to do so, and trying to figure out how I – as an amateur philanthropist – I’m trying to figure out how I can do that most effectively given the realities of this time.
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Business Insider UK is the largest business news site for British readers and viewers in the UK. Our mission: to tell you all you need to know about the big world around you. The BI UK Video team focuses on business, technology, strategy, and culture with an emphasis on unique storytelling and data that appeals to the next generation of leaders.