ESPN Launches ESPN+; Zuora IPO; VW Names New CEO

The Water Coolest

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The subscription billing space is so hot right now … said no one ever. Until now. Zuora was snapping necks and cashing checks on its way to jumping 43% on day one of trading. The stock IPO’ed at the top of its $11 to $13 range ($14) and closed at $20.

Zuora hawks cloud-based Software as a Service (SaaS) products for companies following a subscription model (read: Brazzers) with a focus on applications that track, bill, and record revenue.

Whether it’s music, movies, or a shave club the “Subscription Economy,” as coined by CEO Tien Tzuo, represents a shift in commerce.

Water Cooler Talking Point: “Between the subscription and gig economies, the world is definitely changing. Of course, who knows if their popularity will continue or if they’re just the flavor of the decade. But it’s going be years until we find out, so I’m happy to Uber home and watch Netflix until they run out of cash.”



Volkswagen will replace their CEO as part of a broader management overhaul. Matthew Mueller will step down, effective immediately, and VW brand chief Herbert Diess will assume the position.

Diess ‘Nuts’ is a champion of automobile technology and notoriously cost conscious. But most importantly, he is not part of the regime responsible for bamboozling thousands of VW owners.

Mueller, on the other hand, was in the driver’s seat during the far-reaching emissions scandal which put a lot of wear and tear on Das Auto’s stock price and reputation (see:  Netflix’s “Dirty Money”)

VW has made strides towards cleaning up their act in the years following “Dieselgate,” even vowing to electrify all 300 models by the year 2030.

Water Cooler Talking Point: “Talk about a case of the Thursdays. One minute you’re flying high getting ready for a fun weekend of schnitzel eating and lederhosen wearing, the next you’re submitting your resume to Smart Car.”



  • Disney officially launches ESPN+, its all-sports, all-the-time digital streaming service.
  • Amazon marks the finalization of its acquisition of smart doorbell company Ring by releasing a $100 first-gen version of the product. “The better to see you with, my dear.”
  • Checkr is raising $100M in Series C funding to grow their business which provides faster, more efficient background checks for companies including Lyft and Warby Parker.
  • Tesla was kicked off a fatal crash probe by the National Transportation Safety Board after inappropriately making statements blaming the driver of the Model X for causing the crash.
  • Madoff victims received another $504M. Better late than never, I suppose.
  • US indices were up yesterday:
    • DOW: +1.21%
    • S&P 500: +0.83%
    • NASDAQ: +1.01%




How to kill some time before lunch: Even the founder of Microsoft needs some inspiration. His top 9 TED talks are probably some you should throw into your queue.

If you’re already counting the days until your next paycheck: Maybe it’s time to cut down on a few ‘essential’ items. Madonna’s Material Girl may have been overrated.

Before drinking to reduce work stress: There are other ways to quiet the corporate demons. Understand that unless you’re the CEO, not every decision is up to you. There is hope yet.

When all else fails: Look at how happy these frickin’ dogs are!


The Water Coolest is a daily business newsletter consisting of business news, financial advice, and unfiltered commentary. Delivered fresh in your inbox every morning so you're ready to snap necks and cash checks. Written by Tyler Morrin, AJ Glagolev, Nick Ellis, and Ian Barto.