Elon Musk’s Pay Day; Apple’s HomePod Release; Stripe Halts Bitcoin Payments; Siri News Briefs
The Water Coolest is a free daily business news and professional advice email newsletter created for weekday warriors that is delivered fresh daily at 7 AM EST. You can subscribe at thewatercoolest.com.
Don’t have 3 minutes and 5 seconds to read this? Click here to listen to our brief, daily podcast covering the biggest business news stories of the day.
YOUR (FAKE) MONEY’S NO GOOD HERE
Payment processor, Stripe has decided it will no longer accept bitcoin payments. The company hopped on the bitcoin train 4 years ago and has been struggling to integrate the currency into its payment platform ever since. But with more turmoil than an episode of 16 and Pregnant, bitcoin has become a little too risky for Stripe’s appetite.
Transactions can take some time to process, and purchasing goods at fixed prices with a currency that can be worth +/-10% in 3 to 5 business days just doesn’t make sense. This coupled with exorbitant transaction fees has turned vendors off to the once novel idea.
You don’t know Jack
This announcement has to sting a little bit for one of Stripe’s biggest competitors, Square. Jack Dorsey’s company announced in late 2017 that they would begin testing the option to buy and sell bitcoin on their platform.
Water Cooler Talking Point: “Talk about purchase price parity! Seriously talk about it, I know it’s an Econ 101 term but class was on Friday mornings at 9 AM …”
C.R.E.A.M (CASH RULES EVERYTHING AROUND MUSK)
Elon Musk is reinventing what it means to live “paycheck to paycheck.” The prudish billionaire won’t collect a dime from Tesla until the company reaches lofty milestones. Should the $60B car company reach a $650B market cap in the next 10 years, Musk could be eyeing a $55.8B payout. His incentives will trigger at different levels starting at $100B in market cap and increasing in $50B intervals.
As part of the deal Elon will need to stay on as CEO or head of product. This should help the attention deficient founder keep his eye on the prize of reaching the likes of Toyota ($208B market cap) while juggling SpaceX, The Boring Company, OpenAI and Tesla-owned Solar City. And you thought your calendar was booked.
Water Cooler Talking Point: “So what could go wrong? Quite frankly, A LOT. A plan only tied to outlandish stock growth metrics can incentivize less than-desirable growth mechanisms (at best) and some shady sh*t *cough* Wells Fargo *cough* (at worst). Plus I can’t help but feel that this comes across as a pretty big bet on one, fallible human being. Two words: Travis Kalanick.”
HOME IS WHERE THE POD IS
After announcing their creation in a way that only Apple can (i.e. a self-promotional TED Talk held in a massive Silicon Valley theater), there’s finally a release date for the HomePod smart speaker originally unveiled in September. Preorders for the device will begin on January 26th, and the speakers will ship on February 9th. The speakers will run you $349, so start saving those bitcoins.
The high price of the speaker is proof that Apple wants no part of the Google/Amazon controlled “cheap speaker” market. HomePods are being presented as comparable to Sonos’ products, thus taking Siri out of direct competition with Alexa and whatever the Google guy/gal’s name is.
HomePods were initially supposed to launch in December, but Apple offered no explanation for the delay. Industry sources believe it had to do with a tweak to how the software/hardware interact with one another.
Water Cooler Talking Point: “I think the only way to solve this battle for virtual assistant supremacy is to put Alexa, Siri, Google, and IBM’s Watson in a cage and let them duke it out. Now that’s something I’d buy a ticket for.”
IN OTHER NEWS
- Jerome Powell secures enough votes in the Senate to officially become Fed Chairman. And just like that the long-standing tradition of old white dudes holding the most powerful position in the economy is reinstated.
- Twitter COO Anthony Noto will take over the vacant SoFi CEO position. This lead to a 2% drop in Twitter’s share price as investors wonder who the hell is going to be running the show.
- Snapchat will now allow you to share stories on Facebook and Twitter. Some of us would refer to this as a video.
- The maker of Huggies and Kleenex, Kimberly-Clark, will cut approximately 5k jobs or 12% of its workforce blaming declining birth rates.
- In the latest round of tax reform related bonuses, Disney will give 125k employees $1k bonuses. This gives a whole new meaning to the Happiest Place on Earth.
- Barstool Sports raises an additional $15M, valuing the media company at $100M. Who says sexism doesn’t sell?
- US indices were mostly up yesterday:
- DOW: -0.01%
- S&P 500: +0.22%
- NASDAQ: +0.71%
Professional motivation, tips, tricks, hacks & resources carefully-curated by yours truly. Something you’d like to see featured? Shoot me an email at email@example.com
ARE YOU SIRI-OUS?
As is tradition, Apple product launches are typically accompanied by a dreaded iOS update. You know, that push notification you ignore until your phone literally starts to smoke. And the release of the HomePod is no different.
The launch of the Alexa competitor means Apple is stealing some (read: all) pages out of Google and Amazon’s playbooks. Most notably (for this business news publication, at least), the addition of sports, business and music news briefings to Siri’s repertoire. That’s right, the HomePod is giving Siri new life. She can recite the latest headlines directly from NPR, CNN, Fox News and more … and she won’t even shamelessly request your email address.
With the update your Siri enabled phone will essentially become a HomePod Mini, thus saving you $349 and the embarrassment of standing in line at the Apple store to overpay for an Amazon Echo knockoff. You’re welcome.