Amazon To Retrain Workforce; OKC Thunder For Sale; France’s Digital Tax

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Amazon Is Developing A Wearable Device That Can Read Human Emotions


In its most Orwellian move to date, Amazon says it will be “reeducating” one-third of its US workforce. The goal is to retrain 100k of its workers in new skills ranging from machine learning to nursing. Probably for resuscitating those who pass out during their 18-hour shifts.

Hey big spender!

Over 6 years, Amazon will spend more than $700M to train its workers in skills that will be needed as automation and technology flips the way many of its employees work on its head.

The investment equates to about $7k per employee and marks one of the largest retraining initiatives on record. By comparison, other companies retraining employees spent an average of $500 per employee in 2017.

Other major companies have joined Amazon in the effort to prepare employees for the future. AT&T, Walmart, and Accenture have all forced workers hit the books over the last few years.

Given the rapid onset of digital transformation, and record low unemployment rates, companies would rather mold the employees they already have, rather than spend the cash to fire them and hire someone with the required skills. Plus, the new employees would probably all be millennials, and nobody wants a warehouse that reeks of avocado toast and entitlement. 



We save their sorry asses in two World Wars and how do they repay us?

By levying a tax on the second most American export there is: innovation. Freedom is number one, FYI.

What is this all about?

France was getting fed up about not getting an opportunity to tax the profits of tech companies (both American and non-American) which do not have a physical presence in the land of the baguettes and beheadings.

To combat the issue, the French legislature passed a bill that would create a 3% tax on digital revenues earned in France. Companies with revenue of more than €750M, with at least €25M generated in France would be subject to the taxation without representation. Roughly 30 companies will be affected.

The retroactive bill would collect about €400M this year … a paltry sum compared to the potential backlash …


Despite a swelling body of evidence (see: US trade war(s)) that this is a bad, bad idea France moved forward with collecting the proverbial pocket change.

US trade rep, and staunch proponent of tariffs, Robert Lighthizer, has already indicated that the US has opened an investigation and will not hesitate to retaliate.



The Oklahoma City Thunder have been in the news quite a bit lately. First the Paul George trade, followed by Russ to Houston, and now this …

Aubrey McClendon’s 22% stake in the Thunder is being put up for sale. “Why? Is he upset that the star players are leaving?” Well not exactly.  It has a lot more to do with him being dead.

Come again?

That’s right. Nearly ¼ of The Oklahoma City Thunder is owned by a dead guy. The co-founder of Chesapeake Energy passed away in a car crash in 2016 and since then, his stake has been held in his estate.

While the Thunder franchise is currently worth $1.5B, that valuation may change, as salary commitments are factored in. With Paul George’s $33M out the door and Russel Westbrook packing his $38.5M bags for Texas, potential investors will be re-running the numbers. It’s likely that the buyer will seek a limited partner discount, as much as 10% to 20%, as McClendon did not have a seat on the board or any voting authority.

Aubrey McClendon was not available for comment.





  • My whole Team winning. Microsoft let the streets know that more people use its messaging service, Teams, than recently IPO’d Slack. Bill Gates brainchild said that 13M daily active users are creating channels and sharing gifs through its platform compared to just 10M on Slack, during the three months ended January 31. Both messaging services boast a more efficient form of communication amongst groups compared to traditional email and direct messaging services. The MS service is included for free as part of the Office 365 suite.


  • Ford and Volkswagen are teaming up to form a transcontinental electric and autonomous vehicle powerhouse. If they added “big data” into the mix, they’d hit the Silicon Valley trifecta. The deal will result in “billions of dollars” being poured into the advancement of autonomous and electric vehicles between the two companies. The two initially announced the joint venture to build out a commercial vehicle, the Ford Transit van. VW will also invest $1B in Pittsburgh based Argo which focuses on AI development and has already received investment from Ford. The deal should be officially announced today.


  • T-Mobile and Sprint have hit (another) snag in the deal that will never end. The issue? The hypothetical, future ownership of Dish Network. The satellite company is set to purchase wireless assets from the two companies as part of the divestment required by the Department of Justice, thus creating a new wireless competitor. The fear is that Dish will divest some of those assets to another cable company, or be bought outright unless restrictions are put in place to prevent such dealings.


  • It’s been a bloodbath at Deutsche Bank as of late, so it wasn’t a great look when some of the bank’s top executives were seen buying $1.8k suits on the same day the company announced massive layoffs. CEO Christian Sewing announced that he has “reprimanded” (read: asked who their tailor is) those executives for their behavior.


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