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Dumb Money is the Funko Pop version of the GameStop story

History as written to soothe the bagholders.

Bob Iger and Bob Chapek’s CEO battle made Disney the pettiest place on Earth

Current Disney CEO Bob Iger didn’t make Bob Chapek’s short-lived takeover any easier, according to this revealing report from CNBC.

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Seven banks who have Elon Musk-related debt are trying to negotiate with Musk.

They are discussing options that may make the debt less risky to hold. After the events of 2022, when Musk bought Twitter, it was difficult for these banks to offload the debt; they’ve agreed — for now anyway — to coordinate a sale together when X is “on firmer financial footing.”


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Whole Foods is planning to launch convenience stores for city-dwellers.

The Amazon-owned upscale grocer is launching Whole Foods Market Daily Shop stores.

The Seattle Times reports that, like at the larger stores, customers can pay using a palm print and associate it with their payment method through Amazon One, the biometric payments system Amazon debuted in 2020 that can be used to buy things or even verify you’re old enough to buy beer.


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Reddit will reportedly seek an up to $6.5 billion valuation when it goes public.

That’s according to The Wall Street Journal, which says Reddit could shoot for a price range between $31 to $34 per share when launching its IPO. The $6.5 billion number is significantly lower than the more than $10 billion Reddit was valued at in 2021 following a round of funding.


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Elon Musk has punked Matt Levine again.

“oh it’s a rare friday money stuff, i wonder who could have brought that about,” Levine wrote on Twitter.

And yes, that means an update on my Levine story is forthcoming.


Aston Martin’s first electric car has been pushed back another year.

Aston Martin boss Lawrence Stroll is probably focused on F1 at the moment, but he just revealed another delay in its plan to build an EV with help from Lucid Motors.

While its first plug-in hybrid EV is on track to enter production in 2024, the report says, “the Company’s first battery electric vehicle (BEV) is now targeted for launch in 2026.” Automotive News Europe reports Stroll said that there’s “much more driven demand” for it to offer a plug-in hybrid right now.


An outline of two car bodies over a drwing of an electric car platform with wheels and battery cells, demonstrating what Aston MArtin is building.
Aston Martin BEV platform
Image: Aston Martin
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Warner Bros. Discovery and Paramount have reportedly hit pause on merger talks.

Warner Bros. Discovery has stopped pursuing an acquisition of Paramount, sources tell CNBC. However, other potential buyers are reportedly still exploring a deal to acquire Paramount, including the production company Skydance Media and media mogul Byron Allen.

Although Comcast isn’t interested in buying Paramount Global, CNBC reports that the company is still looking into a partnership with the brand, which could involve bundling or merging streaming services.


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Google is giving advertisers more control over where their ads go.

Last year, a report from Adalytics found that Google had been placing search ads on questionable websites (something Google refutes). But now, it seems like Google is responding to these concerns.

In a statement to The Verge, Google spokesperson Farrell Sklerov says the company “decided to unify our brand suitability preferences so that account level placement exclusions will apply to the Search partner network, in addition to YouTube and Display” ads. That means advertisers should get the ability to exclude certain websites from search ad campaigns.


Crunchyroll president Rahul Purini on how anime took over the world

The head of the fast-growing streaming service discusses the Funimation merger and shutdown and where he sees growth in anime.

The Twitter deal is all downside risk for Elon Musk

Elon Musk has everything to lose and only retweets to gain

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Here’s five bucks for your trouble.

Following its hours-long nationwide disruption on Thursday, AT&T has announced it is reaching out to “potentially impacted customers” and is slapping a whole $5 credit on their accounts, which it says is the “average cost of a full day of service.”

Hooray?


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David S. Goyer is stepping down as Foundation’s showrunner.

Goyer will reportedly continue script-writing for the expansive Apple TV Plus sci-fi show that he helped create, while the head honcho reins to executive producer Bill Bost.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, Goyer was butting heads with Skydance over the budget for the show, which Goyer has said before he has an ambitious eight-season plan for.


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Temu dominates app download charts even as US lawmakers reportedly float import ban.

China hawks in Congress are concerned that shopping giant Temu has not done enough to ensure it’s not working with suppliers using forced labor. Rep. Blaine Luetkemeyer (R-MO) is among those pushing to list Temu as a violator of the Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act, which could effectively ban its imports, The Information reports.

Meanwhile, the Chinese e-commerce app sits among the top free apps on iOS and Android.


Reddit’s biggest risk factor is Google

As Reddit gets ready for its IPO, has it grown too dependent on Google for traffic and money?

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Sam Altman owns a big chunk of Reddit.

A fun fact from Reddit’s IPO filing: Sam Altman owns more shares than CEO Steve Huffman! Reddit’s three largest shareholders in order are: Advance Publications (which owns Condé Nast), Tencent, and Altman.

The OpenAI CEO owns 8.7 percent of the stock versus Huffman’s 3.3 percent. He has more than double Huffman’s voting power, too.

While he isn’t a co-founder, Altman has been deeply involved in Reddit since basically the beginning. He quietly stepped off the board in 2022 as OpenAI was rising to prominence and Reddit was gearing up to go public. Now, he owns a big chunk of a company that really wants AI companies to pay for its data. Interesting times!


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Swiss company Vestergaard changed the coating on its malaria bed nets — and now malaria cases are soaring.

The new coating was cheaper, and much less effective. Did Vestergaard disclose the change to malaria control organizations, at least? No.

“This is a huge embarrassment,” [Tim] Freeman said. [He is a program manager for an organization attempting to eliminate malaria.] “They’ve been distributing, for 10 years, lower quality nets than in the past. No one wants to admit that.”


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Substack says it has a million more paid subscribers than last year.

There are now more than 3 million paid subscribers on Substack. It’s a bright spot for the company, which has lately been in the news for a Nazi problem — leading several big-name newsletters to decamp, including my former colleague Casey Newton’s Platformer.

The Axios story says nothing about Substack’s biggest problem: keeping its costs under control. (That’s kind of a pattern!)


The birth of a salesman

The Flip shopping app is a TikTok knockoff, filled with wannabe influencers making pennies per video view — myself included.

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Staying on Ozempic for weight loss in the long-term is expensive. Now what?

One reason GLP-1 drugs are tough for patients to take long-term is the cost... even without a telehealth subscription (expensive in its own right), the drugs are pricey. Doctors tell The Wall Street Journal that insurers are approving fewer patients’ prescriptions. And it’s not yet clear how to get off Ozempic and its ilk without regaining weight.


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Google is reportedly Reddit’s $60 million per year AI content licensing customer.

Charging for data access was a flash point for last year’s protests, with Reddit CEO Steve Huffman telling The Verge, “...data licensing is a new potential business for us.”

Now, with Reddit’s IPO launch close at hand, Reuters is putting a name on rumors of an AI company that’s paying Reddit for training data, in a deal that could be a model for similar arrangements, citing three sources who say the company is Google.


From ChatGPT to Gemini: how AI is rewriting the internet

How we use the internet is changing fast thanks to the advancement of AI-powered chatbots that can find information and redeliver it as a simple conversation.

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Three Arrows Capital cofounder on jail: “I think it’s definitely good for you.”

That’s Su Zhu; Kyle Davies is still on the lam. But their woes may not yet be over:

Among the most incriminating evidence brought forward against Zhu and Davies is a document they sent to at least one creditor as crypto markets were collapsing in May 2022, claiming 3AC had nearly $2.4 billion under management. Both lenders and people close to the liquidators now believe this number was false, grossly overstating the fund’s assets. “We firmly believe they committed fraud.”

👀


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Matt Levine has some thoughts about Reddit offering its stock to Redditors.

There are rumors the Reddit IPO is happening soon. Some of the most active Redditors may get the opportunity to buy in at the IPO price. Is a new meme stock in the making? Maybe!

In the 2020s, some companies are owned in large part by retail investors, and some of those investors are more interested in being part of an online community of investors, and trading jokes and memes, than they are in financial analysis. And you can make those investors happy in less traditional ways, like by giving them popcorn or buying a gold mine or doing a YouTube interview with no pants on.


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At Apple, 18 of 23 Jony Ive-era industrial design team members have left.

That’s according to Mark Gurman of Bloomberg, who writes in his Power On newsletter today that the recent departure of Bart Andre leaves just five of the company’s old-guard product design team.

While many of those have gone to work with Ive at his company LoveFrom, he wrote, Andre, who started at Apple in 1992, is retiring from the biz.


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Intel Xeon server benchmarks get the boot at SPEC.

The Standard Performance Evaluation Corporation added notes to over 2,600 benchmark results (here’s an example) accusing Intel of cheating one of its tests by tuning compilers mostly from Xeon server CPUs to overperform on a pair of specific benchmarks, according to Tom’s Hardware.

As PCWorld noted yesterday, companies’ decisions on spending “millions, sometimes billions of dollars” often hinge on third-party benchmark results like those SPEC supplies.