TIME TO READ: 4 min 4 seconds
January 24, 2018
Good morning squad,
Want to know something insane? ESPN’s Mike Reiss pointed out this weekend that there are 19 active Patriots players who have advanced to the AFC championship in every year of their professional careers. This weekend’s game marked the Pat’s 7th straight AFC championship game.
But they cheat so who cares.
Here’s some stuff you may or may not care about.
Spare Time Link
Shut ‘er down. Lawmakers voted on Friday to shut the government down after Senate democrats and republicans could not come to an agreement over immigration; then they voted to reopen it Monday afternoon after weekend negotiations. Clearly someone couldn’t miss their weekend barbecue. Here’s what you should know:
- Republicans offered Democrats a six-year funding extension for CHIP (Children’s Health Insurance Program) to try and get them to ease up on DACA
- Five Senate Republicans joined the 49 democrats in the first vote to shutdown the government, citing failure to reach an agreement on immigration and an unwillingness to pass yet another continuing resolution (CR) that would temporarily fund the government
- Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has since promised open negotiations on DACA in exchange for a continuing resolution (CR)
The lukewarm take…jury’s still out on how the media will spin this, but it’s likely that the shutdown will reflect poorly on both parties — on the democrats because they didn’t stand their ground on DACA, and on the republicans because this is the first time in history that the government has shut down when the same party controls the White House and Congress.
The democrat’s strategy here is hazy. Many Senate democrats up for reelection this year took a risk shutting the government down and its unclear what they’re getting for their support. Six years of funding for CHIP is a big win, and if the two parties can’t come to an agreement about DACA in the next three weeks, democrats will have more grounds to shut the government down (again) and blame the GOP for it. Look this week to see if McConnell makes good on his word — that should give you an idea of whether we’re headed for round 2 in a few weeks.
GM is beating Waymo (cue the double take). Each year, Navigant Researchevaluates all companies that are developing self-driving cars and ranks them based on their strategy and execution. Essentially, how far along is their technology and how much market share does it look like they’ll be able to take? The short and sweet…GM is winning. Here’s what you should know:
- GM is already providing self-driving rides to its team in SF and the company announced last week that it will begin manufacturing versions of it’s Chevy Bolt without steering wheels.
- Tesla came in dead last after they split with self-driving car darling Nutonomy earlier in 2017. Not what the world was expecting
- Baidu — the Google of China — has been tasked by the Chinese government with leading the autonomous driving effort. Look to see major moves from them this year
The spicy take…production is the next big challenge for a lot of these companies, and that’s a big reason why GM takes the cake in this year’s study. Waymo may have the best technology, but there’s no sign they’re going to license it and they don’t have the production capabilities to mass produce cars of their own. That leaves GM with a sizable go-to-market advantage, despite their technology gaps. Recent partnerships with Lyft may bring these companies together, but look for GM to make a big push this year.
S&P 500: (+1.74%)
Netflix n’ Cash Monayyyy…the streaming giant is now valued at more than $110B after it’s stock price soared more more than 20% on news that it added a record 8 million new subscribers in the fourth quarter of 2017. 2 million of these came from the U.S., while more than 6 million came from abroad. This is all in addition to a 10% price hike last month that brought it’s monthly subscription from $9.99 to $10.99.
The hot take…Netflix continues to surprise investors. The streaming service said it plans to spend $8 billion on original content and $2 billion on marketing to maintain it’s lead in an increasingly competitive market. Analysts have long suggested that Netflix will stagnate as Amazon and Apple invest more in original content. But the biggest threat in the near future is likely to be Disney. The studio behemoth is set to release its own streaming service sometime this year and will pull its content from Netflix. With rights to the Marvel and Star Wars universes, look for Disney to bring the heat.
Design & Culture
The cardboard box is the most fun part of the present. Nintendo has a knack for pushing the gaming industry with pretty cool stuff. They led the way in handheld systems, touchscreens for gaming (still got that DS), and motion controllers. But so far it seems the Nintendo Switch is their 5th Symphony. And if you didn’t have a good enough reason to buy one already, meet Nintendo Labo (English pronunciation still up for debate, but I’m leaning towards “lab-oh”).
Nintendo Labo is essentially the cardboard descendant of the plastic fishing pole you could fit into a Wii Remote to catch Magikarp, but this time you get to build it yourself. Kids and parents (and of course all the millennials who grew up on this stuff) can assemble various cardboard items that act as controller extensions when paired with the Switch and its detachable controllers. Honestly, building your game before you play it looks pretty cool.
The hot take… As modern-day parents become more worried about how much screentime their kids are getting, Nintendo has created a hands-on activity to augment video gameplay and kids movin’. The two kits they’ve announced come in with a higher price tag than expected: the variety kit of 5 “Toy-Cons” is $70 and a robot kit is $80. We’ll see how much fun is required to make people shell that out for cardboard. But the robot kit lets you “build an interactive robot suit with a visor, backpack and straps for your hands and feet, which you can then wear to assume control of a giant in-game robot.” $80 to be Iron Man? You bet.
Startup to Watch
Yo, I’ll pay you to work out…Sweatcoin made headlines this year by paying its users in cryptocurrency in exchange for their health and fitness data. Users sign up, then link their phone’s health, fitness, and GPS data to the app. The app tracks the number of steps you take every day, and for every 1,000 steps you take, the app will pay you 0.95 in “Sweatcoins.” These Sweatcoins can then be donated to charity or exchanged for fitness gear, workout classes, and other stuff. Over the last year, the app has grown revenue by more than 260%, and with 2 million weekly active users and $5.7 million in fresh venture cash, it’s poised to be the hot fitness app of the year.
The hot take…Sweatcoin’s business model should be a sign to investors and entrepreneurs that something much bigger is on the horizon: people want to own their data and they’re tired of Google making money for it. Not a lot of people are talking about different ways that consumers can monetize their data, in large part because most of us think it’s already too late. But look for more companies to begin turning the traditional data model upside down and start finding ways to pay users for the data they collect. Just imagine if Google paid you a monthly fee for all the crazy things it knows about you. #DreamingOfLouboutins
Did you know…
On this day in 1935, canned beer made it’s debut to the world. The Gottfried Krueger Brewing Company, in partnership with the American Can Company, shipped 2,000 cans of Krueger’s Finest Beer, and Krueger’s Cream Ale, to customers in Richmond, VA. Within 3 months, over 80 percent of distributors were handling Kruger’s, and by the end of the year, Anheuser-Busch, Pabst, and Schlitz had followed suit. Together they sold 200 million cans of beer by the close of 1935.
Be well and do good work.
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