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Define third world country. Venezuela has been on a downturn for the better part of a decade. Hyperinflation, poverty and decreased oil output are a few of the issues plaguing the oil rich country. The country’s oil output for January was just 1.6M barrels, down 20% from a year ago. This is especially concerning considering that Nicola Maduro’s nation has more crude oil than any other country in the world.
Crude oil makes up about 95% of Venezuela’s exports. Similar to Greece’s tourism based economy, it’s bad news when you’re a one trick pony and that pony breaks a leg. Venezuela’s biggest bargaining chip was Citgo, but they already offered that up to Russia as collateral for debt that they couldn’t pay.
As Venezuela’s woes increased, so too did the price of oil. From June ‘17 to January ’18 the price of oil rose from $45 to $66 per barrel. This increase in price was largely attributed to OPEC’s decisions to consistently decrease production from participating.
While the OPEC countries were reeling it in, the US was full steam ahead, creating a new supply glut. Now oil is back to around $60 per barrel. Ah, I love the smell of economics in the morning.
Water Cooler Talking Point: “Next time you complain that they raised the price of chocolate covered edamame at Trader Joes just remember that eggs cost over $100 per dozen in Venezuela … when you can even find them.”
Remington Outdoor, the nation’s oldest gun maker announced that they are filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. For those keeping score at home, that’s the one where they get to reorganize their debts but will ultimately keep operations running for the time being. Remington looks to reduce some $700M in debt and add $145M in capital.
Sadly, Remington is the company who made the Bushmaster AR-15 style rifle used in the Sandy Hook elementary school shooting in 2012. Although they were cleared of any wrongdoing the association alone has been enough to cause a sales decrease.
Contrary to what one might think, Trump’s appointment as President has actually hurt gun makers bottom line. Background checks, a great barometer for measuring gun sales have decreased since the Donald took over. People always want what they can’t have …
Water Cooler Talking Point: “I think it’s fascinating that gun sales actually drop when a proponent is in office. The fear of not being able to buy guns makes people want to buy more guns. If only I could make my boss fear paying me more …”
Just when it looked like Instacart could have gone the way of a Jackass shopping cart stunt (read: directly into a cement wall at high speeds), the company raised $200M in venture capital at a $4.2B valuation.
This is the on-demand grocery service’s first funding round since Amazon threw a wrench in their tiny little shopping cart spokes with the purchase of Whole Foods. Last week Amazon announced it will be offering 2-hour Whole Food’s deliveries via Prime directly competing for the hearts and gluten-free stomachs of Instacart’s asparagus water drinking, upper middle class, clientele.
Instacart will earmark its war chest to outflank Amazon. Using its existing infrastructure, the personal-grocery-shopper can continue to to sign on chains that share a similar disdain for Amazon … like Albertson’s with whom they recently partnered. Because remember, the enemy of your enemy is your friend … or something like that.
Water Cooler Talking Point: “This business model just screams “for that reason, I’m out.” Every shark on Shark Tank would want to know how a grocery delivery service will scale, how something with such thin margins will work and what’s proprietary about the operation. But this isn’t Shark Tank, this is Silicon Valley, folks. Hence the nearly $1B in VC money.”
IN OTHER NEWS
- Amazon is cutting hundred of corporate jobs this week. Fast hiring has left departments over budget and with too many staff members. Apparently Bezos doesn’t subscribe to the rest and vest school of thought.
- Snap’s head of sales is leaving before his two year anniversary with the company. The news comes as Snap begins to phase out Lucas’ traditional methodology of selling ads for a more automated process. It’s not just the messages that disappear quickly.
- President Trump finally inter-office memo-ed his infrastructure plan over to Congress yesterday. Congress was skeptical, as it appears all roads lead to legislative delays.
- General Dynamics is buying CSRA in an effort to bolster their government IT services in a deal worth $6.8B, which probably means you’ll be able to take WebEx calls from inside your Abrams tank.
- US indices were up yesterday:
- DOW: +1.70%
- S&P 500: +1.39%
- NASDAQ: +1.56%
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SUPPLY AND DEMAND
Econ 101 teaches us that there is a finite supply of pretty much everything. And the school of hard knocks teaches us that to get what we want we have to lay waste to our opponent … or casually brush them aside at the very least.
Gary Vee said (read: yelled) it best in a made-for-Instagram quote: “I want to build the biggest building in town, by actually building the biggest building in town,” not by tearing down anyone else’s.
Darius Foroux echoes the sentiment that life is abundant and if you want “it” you can still have “it” even if someone else has “it” whether “it” be a job, account, business idea etc. You might not be able to take “it,” but there’s no reason you can’t go out and create “it.”
Wow, that got really existential, really fast.