Airbnb’s Changes; E-Sport’s Explosion; Kylie Jenner’s Tweet Tanks Snap

The Water Coolest

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Airbnb lives in the grey area between Craigslist “Rooms and Shares” and online hotel marketplace hawked by a roaming gnome (we see you, Travelocity.)

That is, until now. Caving to the if you can’t beat ’em, join ’em pressure, the real-life Room Raiders will begin featuring hotel rooms on Airbnb and create a loyalty program. If this sounds familiar it’s because it’s been done by each and every one of the companies Airbnb has been trying to steamroll.

There’s a good chance that hotels will be more than happy to leave the light on for Airbnb, whose 3% to 5% listing fees are a welcome change from the likes of Expedia and Travelocity who charge upwards of 20%.

But this isn’t the only trick Airbnb has up their sleeve. The company will roll out an option for “premium” lodging selections called Airbnb Plus.

$31B valuation is enough to make Airbnb the second most valuable private company in the US behind Uber. But despite investor pressure, co-founder and CEO Brian Chesky does not have plans to go public … in 2018 at least.

Water Cooler Talking Point: “This may be a nominee for the business move of the century. With one decision, which will undoubtedly increase top line, Airbnb will go from being ‘that site that lets strangers go through your stuff’ to anyone over 40, to ‘I like this so much better than that site with William Shatner and the decent travel deals to Boca (read: Priceline).’ Well played, Chesky.”



Sweaty-palmed dweebs are the future of sport. Or at least according to Vision Esports, an investment fund focused on e-sport opportunities, that’s the way its gon’ be. The company closed a $38M funding round led by Evolution Media, who ironically makes investments for many actual athletes.

Vision Esports seems to have the cheat codes for locking down every aspect of the gaming market. They own a team, a stat company that tracks gaming activity, and an entertainment company that organizes the actual … um, matches? games?… whatever they call these competitions.

The industry is currently valued at $696M and is estimated to jump to $1.5B by 2020. E-sports has been a focus in the investment portfolios of Kevin Durant, Odell Beckham Jr., and many other athletes. Financial risk? Yes. Injury risk? Not so much.

Water Cooler Talking Point: “I definitely remember enjoying watching my friends play video games in college when I was highhh-ly motivated to study. I get why these athletes invest though: lucrative endorsement deals and relatively tiny contracts for players that don’t have to worry about getting CTE. What’s not to love as an owner?”



Snap Inc. is feeling the heat after Kylie Jenner tweeted that she doesn’t use the app anymore. If you ever wondered what a tweet is worth … it’s approximately $1.3B in market value. Wall Street is clearly listening to what Kylie has to say. Maybelline NY also openly questioned their existence on the ephemeral messaging app.

Snap, who recently redesigned the once popular app for accidentally sending nudes to your family, has been catching some serious flak for the changes. When 1.2M people sign a petition demanding change, it might be time to listen. Spiegel and Co. did respond and promise they care … just not enough to do anything. 

Evan Spiegel, Snap’s CEO, might need to start worrying, but only after he spends the $636M stock grant he awarded himself after the companies IPO early in 2017. To put that in perspective, when Tim Cook took over Apple, he only got $378M. Apple did always like to keep things simple. 

Water Cooler Talking Point: “It’s pretty amazing to think about what the power of a tweet is these days. You could land a job, get fired, or cause $1.3B in market value to disappear. There hasn’t been a social fallout of this scale since Kelly took Meaghan out of her Top 8 Myspace friends right before homecoming.”




  • The FCC’s “Restoring Internet Freedom” order took effect Thursday morning. This means that internet service providers can charge different prices and even block users, sites, and content as they see fit. And because I know you’re curious … the answer is “Yes, a do-gooder at your internet service provider could indeed decide to block your access to adult content … or even a specific genre of adult content for that matter.”
  • Apple is launching a new version of AirPods later this year. They will be water resistant, voice-activated by “Hey Siri”, and be even easier to lose than ever before.
  • The number of Americans filing for unemployment benefits fell to a 45 year low this past week. Coupling with the 4.1% unemployment, the labor market is near full employment. This should provide some comfort that no matter how poorly you perform at your job you won’t get replaced.
  • The Finnish company that created Angry Birds, Rovio, has lost half of its market value since it’s IPO in September. Investors dumped stock as forecasts for 2018 sales and profits were much lower than initial estimates. Damn Green Pigs shorting Rovio.
  • US indices were mixed yesterday:
    • DOW: +0.66%
    • S&P 500: +0.10%
    • NASDAQ: -0.11%



Professional motivation, tips, tricks, hacks & resources carefully-curated by yours truly. Something you’d like to see featured? Shoot me an email at



Ah, the out of office message: the corporate equivalent of a pre-vacation mic drop … and the bearer of bad news in the midst of a fire drill. Your best friend … and your worst nightmare.

Out of pocket messages come in all different shapes and sizes …

  • There’s the “I’m a company man who works through vacation, forgets how old his kids are and is on the brink of divorce” out-of-office message.
  • And the “If you so much as CC me on my half PTO day I will find you and I will kill you.”
  • And don’t forget about the “I’ll be so thorough in the explanation of my absence that it definitely seems like I’m lying about where I am.”

But I don’t care about everyone else’s “away message.”

I want to take this relationship to the next level and hear from you. What’s your go-to OOO message? What’s the funniest OOO you’ve ever seen?

Let me know and we’ll share the best of the best next week.