XFL Returns; Robinhood To Support Bitcoin Trading; Crock-Pot’s Very Bad Day; Casual Friday
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RAIN DROP, DROP TOP, CROCK POT, STOCK DROP
If you caught this past week’s episode of ‘This is Us’ you’ll know that a big, bad Crock-Pot took sweet, sweet Jack from us. This is arguably the saddest death of a Jack since Rose let go, even though she said she wouldn’t, way back in 1997.
Speaking of things dying, Newell Brand, the maker of Crock-Pot, Elmer’s Glue and other random household staples, got pummeled yesterday. Note: this is totally unrelated to the prime time TV drama. The stock plunged over 20% Thursday and has lost 1/3 of its value in 2018 alone. Oh how the mighty have fallen. Just over a year ago Newell acquired Jarden for $13B. But integrating a business whose portfolio included Elmer’s Glue, Sharpie Pens and Yankee Candle was slightly more challenging than anticipated.
Newell will look to trim some fat as they focus on their nine core consumer businesses. It appears brands such as Rubbermaid Outdoor, US Playing Cards and Process Solutions could be on the chopping block.
Water Cooler Talking Point: “I’ve never watched ‘This is Us’ before, but this episode involved a lot of puppies. I’m not sure if this is the case for episodes in the previous two seasons but I’m willing to waste my weekend and find out.”
GETTING BACK WITH YOUR X
If you want something done right, do it yourself. Hopefully, Vince McMahon was taking notes the first time around, as he plans to bring back the XFL in 2020. Some noticeable differences in this iteration include the lack of scantily clad cheerleaders and a crackdown on the tomfoolery that plagued the original league back in 2001.
McMahon will be the sole backer of this little x-periment. The money is coming from the $100M in WWE stock that McMahon cashed out last month to start Alpha Entertainment. The XFL will be run by entirely different management than the WWE.
The new and improved XFL will feature 8 teams with 40 players each, who will play 10 game seasons when they kick off in 2020. New rules will include standing for the anthem, and no players with a criminal record will be eligible to play.
Water Cooler Talking Point: “Something tells me that excluding players with a criminal record won’t be great for a league aiming to pick up guys that couldn’t make it in the NFL. Either way, I’ll be tuning in. I wonder what He Hate Me is up to?”
IF IT’S FREE IT’S FOR ME
Robinhood might not steal from the rich and give to the poor, but they do offer no fee trades on (most) investments. And as of today, crypto-currencies will be available on the investment platform.
For now bitcoin and Ethereum will be the only crypto-currencies made available for investors to lose their money. And trading will only be available in 5 states across the US for the time being. The app will offer information on the remaining currencies and the company has plans to bring others on board. Can you say “no fee Ripple trades?!”
Hel-lo Ro-bo (adviser)
One of the biggest criticisms of bitcoin are the fees associated with trading it. Popular exchange Coinbase charges a fee between 1.5% and 4% per transaction. Robinhood’s philosophy is to not charge commission at all. How do they do this? By automating trading with computers. This saves on bonus payouts, health insurance and most importantly, a fully stocked fridge of every beverage imaginable.
Water Cooler Talking Point: “At this point, I’ll throw some cash into bitcoin through Robinhood. If I’m going to lose all my money, I feel a lot better about losing it with no transaction fees.”
IN OTHER NEWS
- Caterpillar saw a spike in sales for the first time in more than four years. Sales grew 18% year over year worldwide. In North America the economic boom lead to a 46% growth in top line. You could say that they managed to dig themselves out of the hole they were in.
- Google is adding a feature that allows users to turn off those creepy reminder ads that just so happen to push a product you were looking at an hour ago but didn’t buy. Nothing says Big Brother quite like ads stalking you.
- US health advisors dealt a blow to Philip Morris ruling that their iQOS electronic tobacco product cannot be marketed as less risky than cigarettes.
- The unicorn club has a new member. With a $260M funding round, Snowflake, the cloud-based data warehouse service attains a $1.5B value.
- The World Economic Forum held in Davos, Switzerland comes to a close today. The 4-day event is a who’s who of the business and economic world. President Trump will give a keynote speech today. Headlines thus far include Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin suggesting a weaker dollar is good for trade, a comment met with backlash. We’ll have a full recap Monday.
- US indices were up yesterday:
- DOW: +0.21%
- S&P 500: +0.44%
- NASDAQ: +0.55%
Welcome to casual Friday …
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CAFFEINE IS A HELL OF A DRUG
If I told you caffeine was a psychoactive drug, what would you say? If you just said “Grande Red Eye Black” out loud … you’re probably a caffeine addict (and your co-workers are likely beginning to worry about you).
For what it’s worth, roughly 87% of Americans are dependent on caffeine every single day, and it’s the second most sought after commodity (after oil, of course). The drugs closest relatives?
My point? If you’re not drinking coffee, are you even corporate? The science behind the legal stimulant is actually kinda intriguing … or a very good Friday watch at the very least.
BAGELS ARE FOR SALES ASSOCIATES ONLY
Admittedly there is no lesson to be had here, this is just one of the funniest corporate-centric clips (it’s safe for work) to come along in a post-The Office world. BTW, has anyone watched the new Comedy Central show “Corporate”? Let me know.