Mark Di Stefano, The Information

Mark Di Stefano

The Information

United Kingdom

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Past articles by Mark:

Amazon Live Shopping Melts in the Spotlight; Poop Emoji in Court

Happy Day Two of Prime Day, the mid-year firesale of products on where (nearly) everything must go! I hope you were able to pick up a little smartspeaker on sale, or your annual haul of cheap underwear and socks. This year’s sales event has taken on added importance as Amazon tries to ... → Read More

A ‘Netflix for Sports’ Wagers on League Deals, Betting to Save Streaming Dreams

Early last year, it looked like DAZN might finally be turning a corner. The streaming company—bankrolled by Ukraine-born billionaire mogul Len Blavatnik—had survived the shutdown of live sports during the pandemic, a near-death experience for a company with the ambition of becoming a global ... → Read More

What’s Driving Amazon and Walmart’s Ad Prices in Different Directions

While the cost to buy ads on Amazon’s main marketplace has surged in the past year, prices at Walmart and Instacart have dropped as these retail rivals have added more ad space. The divergence suggests the companies eager to copy Amazon, which has created a $31 billion ad powerhouse, may have ... → Read More

New Facebook Storm Nears as CNN, Fox Business and Other Outlets Team Up on Whistleblower Docs

It’s not often that major news organizations coordinate to sift through a large trove of leaked company documents and agree not to publish stories about them until a certain date. But in the world of news related to Facebook, these are extraordinary times. Something similar happened in 2016 when ... → Read More

How Amazon Is Using High-Tech Cameras to Rate Driver Safety

Amazon raised privacy hackles earlier this year with a plan to put high-tech video cameras in delivery vans to keep tabs on its drivers’ attention to safety. Now confidential documents viewed by The Information show how Amazon is using the devices to collect safety data about drivers that can ... → Read More

The Robotics Startup That Got Away (From Amazon)

When Jeff Bezos attended a private robotics and artificial intelligence event in Palm Springs, Calif., in 2018, one presentation in particular caught the attention of the Amazon founder. It was a demonstration conducted by a frizzy-haired University of California, Berkeley, professor named Ken ... → Read More

Gorilla Warfare in Europe’s Startup Scene

Last year, Kağan Sümer blasted out of nowhere with a startup called Gorillas that had an audacious vision: to kill the grocery store. The Berlin-based grocery-delivery company surpassed a $1 billion valuation a year after it was founded, a nearly unheard-of rate of ascent for a startup in ... → Read More

Disney and Netflix Lag Behind European Quotas for Local TV Shows, Movies

Europeans who watch streaming services from Netflix, Walt Disney, Amazon and others have shown an almost insatiable appetite for Hollywood television and movies. But those streaming providers are facing new regulations that will force them to significantly increase the amount of homegrown ... → Read More

What It’s Like Getting a Haircut at an Amazon Salon

For a long time, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos has been saying the company has a simple criterion for opening new categories of physical retail stores: Can it significantly improve on the traditional store experience? With its Amazon Go chain, for example, it used sensors, cameras and software to get ... → Read More

‘Shopify Mafia’ Aims to Become Bigger Force in Angel Investing

Every week, the phones of more than two dozen current and former Shopify employees ping with alerts for a new group chat on Signal, the encrypted messaging app. The chat—dubbed Shopify Angels by its participants—has become a gathering spot for a new generation of investors connected through ... → Read More

The People With Power at Shopify

Tobias Lütke has transformed Shopify into an e-commerce giant with a $145 billion market value, thanks to the popularity of its tools, which power online shopping functions for a huge range of sellers, from the shoe company Allbirds to ketchup maker Heinz. Inside Shopify, though, his intense and ... → Read More

Branded Joins Frenzy of Startups Acquiring Amazon Merchants, Finds Profits

Michael Ronen recently learned more than he ever thought he’d know about soap. Ronen runs Branded, a startup that buys up successful small businesses who sell their wares on Amazon. He was courting the American proprietor of a profitable online soap merchant, a business he was considering ... → Read More

Spotify’s Next Dilemma: Grappling With Hate Speech

At a Spotify employee workshop held in late 2018, participants were presented with a series of statements which they were told came from a podcast on the service, urging violence against the police. The participants were asked if the statements amounted to hate speech and should be removed from ... → Read More

How Netflix Fumbled India

In 2019, Amazon and Netflix each released spy thrillers on their streaming services aimed at the India market—with dramatically different results. Amazon’s “Family Man,” which told the story of a middle-class man who secretly spies for India, nabbed rave reviews, became the most watched original ... → Read More

Five Warehouse Robotics Firms to Watch

Warehouse robotics is suddenly looking like a hot sector. A series of deals in the past few months, including SoftBank’s $2.8 billion investment in Norwegian robotics firm AutoStore this month as well as the merger of robotics firm Berkshire Grey with a special purpose acquisition company, ... → Read More

Amazon Drops Plan to Track Mask Wearing by Drivers With Cameras

Amazon has scrapped a plan to use new high-tech surveillance cameras to verify whether its delivery drivers are wearing face masks on the job. The internet retail giant is in the process of installing the cameras—which will use artificial intelligence to identify driver drowsiness, distracted ... → Read More

Amazon Expands Effort to ‘Gamify’ Warehouse Work

At dozens of Amazon warehouses every day, employees go about their regular work routines, plucking the items from shelves that make up customer orders and dropping them into plastic bins. They get paid, of course, but some of them are also vying for digital rewards that allow them to buy virtual ... → Read More

Amazon’s Bench: Ten Executives From the Company’s Next Generation of Leaders

Get ready to hear more from a new cast of Amazon executives. That includes people in the most senior leadership positions at the internet giant, including Andy Jassy, the longtime head of its cloud unit, who will replace Jeff Bezos as CEO later this year, and Dave Clark, its logistics head, who ... → Read More

A Netflix for Sports Rolls With the Punches

A few years ago, it seemed like DAZN had all the ingredients for fulfilling its vision of becoming a global Netflix for sports, including a billionaire backer who had already made a killing betting on media and a leader who was the onetime head of ESPN. It even had a goofy, vowel-challenged name ... → Read More

Amazon Plans AI-Powered Cameras to Monitor Delivery Van Drivers

Big Brother could be coming to Amazon’s delivery vans soon. The company plans to install high-tech video cameras in Amazon delivery vans in a move that it says is aimed at improving safety but that will surely ignite questions about privacy. The company recently disclosed the plans by sharing an ... → Read More