The Backstory Of Warren Buffett, Plus Coursera’s Still Looking Like The Coolest Kid In School

Here’s your hand-crafted Brew for June 8th—All news. No Google docs…


“Can’t believe it’s been 1,000 years since we went public” –– Elon Musk crackin’ binary jokes at Tesla’s shareholder meeting. Do less, Elon.

Market Snapshot

Straight D Student

Nothing better than taking an exam in your underwear, right?

On Wednesday, Coursera played teacher’s pet, receiving extra credit on its way to raising $64 million in Series D funding. That puts the online education platform at a roughly $800 million valuation.

The Cali-based edtech company is looking to “alternatively-educate” the masses, using the newly secured funds to personalize the learning experience, expand its range of online masters programs and kick-start training programs for corporations. Take that University of Phoenix.

It’s been easy A’s all around, as edtech companies continue to attract scholarships from an impressive cadre of investors.

Competitors Udemy and Duolingo recently secured funding to the tune of $65 and $45 million, respectively.

But Coursera’s still lookin’ like the coolest kid in school…

with 150 university partnerships, 2,000 online courses and 180 specializations.

No wonder 26 million students are gettin’ on board with it. And while most classes are free, this school does have tuition.

Most of Coursera’s certified courses are $49 per class and while it does make a dent, it’s not what’s bringing in the big bucks.

Which might be the reason the traditional classroom still has a chance

…for now. Ex-Yale prez and current Mountain Valley superstar, Rick Levin (chief exec at Coursera) is skipping college, focusing on corporate training and master’s programs.

A strategy seemingly endorsed through Linkedin’s $1.5 billion acquisition of in 2015. With 50 company training partnerships already locked in, Coursera seems to be fresh out of grad school and already climbing that corporate ladder.

As for those master’s degrees? Don’t worry you young Princeton and Harvard grads, you’re spots in the classroom are safe for now. “The average Coursera MBA student is 37 married with a child and a job.”

Virtually Unstoppable

There’s a good chance you haven’t thought about virtual reality since Facebook (+0.20%) snatched up Oculus.

But apparently there are at least 1 million people who are choosing not to escape reality like the rest of us (read: with alcohol). Sony’s PlayStation VR headset hit the two comma club, leading the virtual reality field in all-time sales.

And Sony (-0.76%) is still clinging on to its high score, sitting atop the very real, virtual leaderboard accounting for approximately 20% of 2017 VR sales. The Sony PlayStation VR headset’s relatively low price point ($399) vs. Oculus ($599) and VIVE ($799) as well as compatibility with the Playstation 4 console have helped level up sales.

Despite Sony noting that sales “exceed our expectations,” the VR market feels more like Final Fantasy than a game-changer for producers at this point.



Starting yesterday, Googlers could finally take that virtual walk they’ve always dreamed of: through the Uluru desert in Australia.

Not impressed? You might be when considering that our Silicon Valley hombre is using the wandering patterns of elephants and camels to map out “street views” in places most travel nuts wouldn’t dream of going.

It’s a pretty suave move for the Valley’s map king as it looks to impress users and capture a user-location ad industry that’s projected to grow to $32 billion by 2021.

Heck, it might even be worth losing a few cameras to a few sassy monkeys along the way.

JBS Loses the Loin

But the ribeye…forget about it.

After selling off part of its beef operations (to enemy meatpacker Minerva) for $300 million, the world’s largest beef company has put its hoof down and horns up, insisting that no core assets, like its U.S.-leading Pilgrim’s Pride, will be on the menu.

But speaking of menus, JBS (-2.53%) recently paid the bill for a romantic steak dinner with the Brazil Exchange Commission (BEC).

And boy did BECky splurge. After admitting to foul play (like $150 million in bribes to politicians), JBS agreed to end the disaster-date early by paying $3.14 billion over 25 years.

But now the beef’s behind it…well done.

What Else is Happening…

  • A loophole is allowing Uber to avoid paying sales tax on booking fees in the UK.
  • YouTube loses three more advertising partners due to hateful video content.
  • IKEA will test out selling products on third party websites.
  • Ford (-0.45%) is now offering short-term car leases through its subsidiary, Canvas.

Economic Calendar

Water Cooler

The Backstory: Warren Buffett

Welcome back to The Backstory, the Brew Crew’s new segment that highlights the journeys of innovators and disruptors!

Everyone knows Warren Buffett as the exec chairman of Berkshire Hathaway, a $409 billion conglomerate. He’s worth a casual $74.5 billion and is one of the greatest investors of all-time.

But, did you know the value king has hustled since day one.

At six years old, Buffett was already movin’ and shakin’, selling sticks of gum.

As a youngin’ at the age of 13, Buffett was biking paper routes, while selling stamps, Coca-Cola (-1.02%), golf balls and magazines door-to-door. All secondary to being crowned “Pinball King of Omaha“.

It gets better…by 15, using his $1,200 in savings, Buffett purchased a 40-acre farm, where the adolescent “Oracle of Omaha” even had his own employee.

And by 17? Berkshire’s bad boy already had $53,000 to his name.

After his first job as a securities analyst at his father’s firm, Coca-Cola’s unofficial poster boy bought a house for $31,000. Pretty good value for a 5-bedroom he still calls home.

It wasn’t until 1964 that Buffett acquired the textile manufacturer, Berkshire Hathaway. And the rest is history…

The Breakroom

Interview Question of the Day

What’s the largest amount of money you can have in change and still not have change for a dollar?


Name That Food Chain

  1. The funding for my first store came from a college savings account.
  2. I have a strict no delivery policy. I even denied delivery to a general at the Pentagon when I first opened.
  3. Shaq owns about 155 of my locations.
  4. I opened my doors to franchises in 2003 and sold more than 300 in the first year.

(Still guessing?)

Stat of the Day

$1 million

That’s how much one Buffett fanatic is willing to pay for a lunch with the Berkshire king himself.


From The Founders

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