No. 1: What Happens Now?
Can one newsletter save the world? We are going to find out.
The current plan is to do this at least once a week, with some deeper dives along the way for VIPs3. I encourage any feedback on how to improve4, including thoughts on what you want to see more (or less) of, ideas for subjects to cover, and/or if you are interested in collaborating on a piece or publishing something here in the future. I welcome all contributions, big or small.
Quick shout-out, FYI is brought to you by Refind, my new favorite app for finding the best articles from across the web.
Also brought to you by copious amounts of coffee. There is a lot of high-test cold brew that goes into everything you see here. Thank you to everyone responsible for getting those beans from their tropical origins into my mug.
With that out of the way, let’s get to it…
💉 The More the Merrier: An FDA panel green-lit Johnson & Johnson’s single-dose COVID-19 vaccine, moving it closer to becoming the third to enter the U.S. market, with more than 70 others in various stages of testing now.
🏬 Of Vaccines and Vacancies: There’s a game of chicken going on behind-the-scenes at America’s malls today: retailers are signing shorter-term leases, creating added uncertainty for mall and shopping center owners. On the flip side, already-struggling retail businesses are leaving themselves exposed to significant rent increases and/or get the boot as economic conditions shift5.
🏠 Passing the Buck: New research reveals the economic realities of the work-from-home movement: remote workers in the U.S. spend more on rent and housing costs than those who stay in the office — a gap that could reach $15 billion or more if commuters don't return (and rest assured most companies will not race to close that gap if they don’t have to).
📡 Crashing to Earth: AT&T announced plans to spin out DirecTV in a deal with private equity firm TPG Capital, which likely spells the end of the long-standing NFL Sunday Ticket6 service’s exclusivity on the satellite provider. If you’re an AT&T shareholder, this bit has to sting:
The implied enterprise value for the new spinoff entity is $16.3 billion, well shy of the $48.5 billion AT&T originally paid for DirecTV back in 2015.
🏈 NFL’s Prime Time: Yesterday the Wall Street Journal reported that the NFL is in discussions with Amazon about moving some games exclusively to Prime Video. Amazon previously simulcast games on Prime, but those were also available on broadcast channels like Fox. Forcing the NFL’s millions of viewers onto a digital platform would represent a huge step forward for live sports streaming7.
♟️ The Netflix Effect: Buoyed by interest from the worldwide popularity of The Queen’s Gambit, Twitch users watched over 18 million hours of chess content in January and even more in February, surpassing marquee games like Fortnite, League of Legends, and Valorant to become the most-watched game on the platform.
👟 Sneaker Stores of Value: What started as a profile of sneaker resellers and streetwear as an investment vehicle took a reporter down a rabbit hole that led to the realization that the guy featured in the article was actually the son of a Nike executive, using his mom’s card and corporate access to game the system. Great thread on the whole saga below8.
💊 For the Pill Addicted: The QAnon Guide to Redpilling shares the modern playbook that various online groups who position themselves as victims of conspiracy leverage to attract new members to their communities, straight from the pages of 8chan from which they sprung.
🧳 Not All Those Who Wander Are Lost: An interesting insight from Airbnb’s latest product announcement by CEO Brian Chesky:
It used to be that people knew where they were going. That's why there's a search box [that asks] where are you going? Now 40% of our guests who come on Airbnb either don't have a location in mind or don't have a date in mind.
🤳 Link in Bio, Dignity At Large: This one is a couple of weeks old but I hope you’ll forgive me based on the headline alone: “When Influencers Make Fools of Themselves.”
And with that, I’ll sign off for now. One issue down, many more to come. Here’s hoping I stuck the landing better than SpaceX:
Or really didn’t give you a choice and just added you to the list.
That means you, important person.
Be brutal, I can take it.
While I’m not betting on a major mall rebound, 2020 was brutal for retailers without robust e-commerce operations. Even small increases in rent costs could spell the end for many a mallrat.
Pour one out for the millions of dishes on the roofs of NFL fans’ homes.
This would also be a major incursion by Amazon into the sports media world that should have traditional players very nervous.
This story features truly epic amounts of hubris, even by 20-year old child of privilege standards.