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Recode Daily: Elon Musk’s ‘production hell’ crunch is starting to work

Plus, Ripple is looking for someone to use its $30 billion of bespoke cryptocurrency; fancy debit cards are the new black card; who wore it best at Instagram’s new New York offices?

Tesla CEO Elon Musk in front of a Tesla sign
Tesla CEO Elon Musk
VCG via Getty Images

Tesla effectively reached its self-imposed milestone of building 5,000 Model 3 vehicles in the final week of the quarter and in the process became “a real car company,” according to CEO Elon Musk. Factory workers said that the final vehicle completed its “final quality checks” around 5 am PT on Sunday, just hours past the midnight deadline Musk set. To make the production goal, Musk even built a tent to house a third general assembly line at the factory in Fremont, Calif. “Intense in tents. Transporting entire production lines across the world in massive cargo planes. Whatever. It worked,” Musk wrote. [Dana Hull and Josh Eidelson / Bloomberg]

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LeBron James, the top NBA star, signed a four-year, $154 million contract with the Los Angeles Lakers. While the obvious goal will be to win NBA championships, LeBron will also use LA as home to a growing business empire. “With his family settled and a long-term contract with his new team, James can begin his transition to his postcareer life. Movie star. Businessman. Team owner.” [Kevin O’Connor / The Ringer]

Google parent Alphabet is joining a $300 million funding round for scooter-sharing startup Lime. While there is some Google-y complexity to the deal, it’s interesting because Alphabet already has exposure to the nascent market via its investments in Lyft and Uber, the ride-hail rivals, which are also both looking for growth via scooter and bike-sharing. Opportunity? Exposure? Conflict? Sure. [Tim Bradshaw and Richard Waters / FT]

San Francisco-based Ripple has quietly become one of the most valuable startups of the last decade thanks to the value of XRP, the digital token its founders created six years ago. It’s currently sitting on $30 billion worth of the coin, and now comes the hard part — persuading people to use XRP for something other than speculative trading. Along with media gimmicks, Ripple has created a $300 million fund to pay companies to begin using XRP for its intended purpose — easing the transfer of money across international borders.[Nathaniel Popper / The New York Times]

The latest must-have for millennials: Fancy debit cards that function as status symbols. Companies like Acorns, Square, SoFi and Venmo are enlisting world-famous designers to give their cards cachet — and millennials are joining waiting lists to get their hands on them. [Jeff John Roberts / Fortune]

The dark side of influencer marketing: Unilever’s chief marketing officer Keith Weed recently called for “urgent action” to clean up the social-platform-driven marketing ecosystem, committing to stop working with any influencer found to be buying followers and prioritizing partners who are actively trying to improve transparency. Still, 62 percent of Weed’s marketing peers say they’ll be growing their influencer budgets this year. And here’s a candid conversation with a former influencer-turned-marketing executive who has been on the front lines of influencer fraud. [Jennifer Faull / The Drum]

How to steal 50 million bees: Every year, apiarists from all over the U.S. rent their hives to farmers in California, attracting the attention of some very specialized thieves. [Josh Dean / Bloomberg]

Recode Presents ...

Instagram is arguably the most important social channel for brands and retailers right now. So we’ve invited the top exec for Instagram’s business product strategy, Vishal Shah, to join us onstage at Code Commerce in New York City this September. Shah is turning the service into a shopping platform, allowing emerging direct-to-consumer companies to explode overnight. He’ll join Shopify founder and CEO Tobi Lutke and other soon-to-be announced speakers; once again, companies will be hosting on-location visits for attendees at their leading stores, delivery hubs and headquarters. Last year’s Code Commerce event sold out, and we expect the same to happen this year. So register today, while you can still grab our first-mover price.

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Who wore it best at Instagram’s new New York offices?

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