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March 1, 2024

The Next Big Thing – March 2024

Author: Georgia-lorene MacEbong

An AI-Powered Upgrade – Love, Microsoft.

After three decades of sticking to the standard keyboard, Microsoft is shaking things up! They’re sliding an AI button onto every new computer, giving the good ol’ QWERTY a zesty makeover. Why mess with perfection, you ask? Well, Microsoft’s betting big on AI and replacing one of the 2 Ctrl buttons with an AI button to give easier access to Copilot – Microsoft’s AI tool.

There’s more to this than meets the eye (or finger)! This button doesn’t just summon an AI tool—it unveils a clever slice of advertising genius. Flashback to 2011, when Netflix cleverly dropped a $1/piece to TV makers to get its button on every controller, dominating the most useful advertising slot since television – your physical remote. Fast forward to 2024, and Microsoft’s channeling that same strategy but where Netflix had a very accessible price tag, Copilot is not your average AI assistant. This exclusive buddy comes with a $30/month price tag, making it the fanciest key on the block.

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Tiktok is mute. A Universal shocker! 🎵

Cue the dramatic soundtrack—TikTok’s parade hit a snag as the clock struck twelve on the West Coast on February 1st. Universal Music Group’s roster- from Taylor Swift to Drake, and BTS—suddenly turned silent on the platform. Imagine hitting play on a TikTok only to be met with an eerie silence and what looks like a “mime” challenge. Yup, the pop beats that once filled our scrolls are now ghostly echoes.

Universal’s beef with TikTok? It’s all about the Benjamins, or the lack thereof. With Universal being one of the music industry’s heavyweights, their demand is simple: they want TikTok to pay more. According to Universal, Tiktok’s offer is a mere pittance, hardly matching what other social giants shell out for their musical scores.

The standoff boils down to what seems like pocket change but is actually a fortune. TikTok is offering one penny for every thousand streams but the record label is screaming “double or nothing”. With TikTok’s ocean of content, we’re talking about a tidal wave of cash at stake. But until these titans find common ground, Universal’s hits are paused on TikTok.

So, as we navigate a quieter TikTok landscape, the question looms: will these industry giants bridge their penny gap? 🎶

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Starbucks Barista Tournament: Oatmilk and Employee Relations

Starbucks is stirring up excitement with its very own Barista Tournament, proving that the secret to great public relations lies in the heart of employee satisfaction.

Turns out that crafting the perfect latte is no small feat. Did you know that there are 19 different variables involved in a Starbucks cafe latte? Insane!. But get this, according to Bloomberg, there are actually 383 Billion different possible cafe lattes at Starbucks, highlighting the skill and dedication of its baristas.

In recognition of their hard work, the beverage company is launching a Barista Championship. Picture the grand slam for coffee aficionados, a blend between the intensity of the Superbowl and the prestige of the Olympics, but for latte artistry. Dubbed the ultimate showdown for espresso experts, this championship will see baristas from across the U.S. and Canada, representing over 15,000 locations in a battle of brews.

The journey to the top begins with district face-offs in March and culminates with the nationals in May scheduled to take place at Starbucks’ birthplace, Seattle, Washington. The champion will whisked away on an all-expenses-paid trip to Costa Rica, home to Starbucks’ research and development hub.

While the championship marks a celebration of barista talent, it arrives amidst whispers of recent challenges in employee relations (not to mention recent customer boycotts). This event could well be Starbucks’ recipe for blending employee engagement with a dash of positive publicity, showcasing their team on the grand stage and brewing up some much-needed camaraderie and recognition.

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