Morning Brew - ☕️ Not so rational actors

Robinhood is playing the long game with its new credit card...
March 28, 2024 View Online | Sign Up | Shop

Morning Brew

Aura Health

Good morning. It’s Opening Day for Major League Baseball, marking the second season a pitch clock has been enforced to speed up the game. In their first year, the clocks were impactful: The average nine-inning game was 24 minutes shorter than in 2022. Multiplying that across the 2,430+ games played during the season, it means more than 40 fewer days of baseball were played in total.

With results that impressive, don’t be surprised to see pitch clocks added to other areas of society. Let’s get a 10-second timer on people choosing their sides at a restaurant.

—Molly Liebergall, Cassandra Cassidy, Matty Merritt, Abby Rubenstein, Neal Freyman














*Stock data as of market close, cryptocurrency data as of 4:00am ET. Here's what these numbers mean.

  • Markets: The S&P 500 closed at another record high yesterday and, along with the Dow, broke a three-day losing streak. But pour one out for the meme stock lovers: GameStop plunged after reporting a drop in sales last quarter and laying off staff.


Robinhood wants you to sign up for its Gold Card

Gold credit card next to gold Robinhood logo Robinhood

The online brokerage firm that was home to meme stock mania is growing up, and that means getting its own plastic…or, in this case, gold.

This week, Robinhood launched its shiny new Gold Card, the latest of the company’s efforts to expand its financial services offerings beyond its commission-free stock trading app. The no-annual-fee card will only be available to Robinhood users who subscribe to its Gold program, which costs $5/month or $50/year.

The card’s main draw: It offers 3% cashback on all purchases—not just on certain categories like almost all other credit cards—plus 5% back on travel booked through Robinhood’s portal (and no foreign transaction fees). Customers can invest that cash via their Robinhood brokerage accounts, but the credit card will live on a separate app.

Robinhood will also give solid 10-karat gold versions of the new credit card to the first 5,000 customers who get 10 friends to sign up for a Gold membership.

All about the long game

Robinhood doesn’t just want to compete with popular rivals like the Chase Sapphire cards—it wants to become the everything platform for personal finance. “The goal is for all of our customers to hold all of their assets in Robinhood, and for all of their transactions to go through it,” CEO Vlad Tenev told Bloomberg this week.

  • Last week, Robinhood became available in the UK, operating outside the US for the first time.
  • Robinhood introduced retirement savings last year and does a 3% IRA match for Gold members. As of last month, ~500,000 accounts were open and deposits surpassed $3 billion, according to Tenev.

Zoom out: Robinhood follows Apple in releasing a no-fee credit card. As of January, 12+ million people have Apple Cards, which offer 2% cash back on all purchases made with Apple Pay.—ML



The Forbes 30 Under 30 founders transforming the mental health industry

Aura Health

People scroll on their smartphones; they get depressed. And this contributes to 25% of American adults suffering from some kind of diagnosable medical condition every year.

After seeing their mother struggle with depression, brothers and Forbes 30 Under 30 winners Steve and Daniel Lee started Aura, the all-in-one mental wellness marketplace that already has 8m+ users and 100k+ paying monthly subscribers.

Aura has already raised $10m+, including investments from legendary Silicon Valley investors Cowboy Ventures and Berkeley SkyDeck, as well as from executives at Spotify, Facebook, Masterclass, and Apple.

Their new investment round just opened to fuel internationalization and is filling up fast.

Join over 2k people investing in Aura. Only one day left for 5% bonus shares—campaign ends on April 29.


Tour de headlines

The castle at Disney World Roberto Machado Noa/Getty

Disney and DeSantis squashed their beef. Much like Buzz and Woody, Disney and Florida Governor Ron DeSantis are setting aside their differences and becoming friends—or at least parties not actively suing each other. The company and the board hand-picked by the governor to run the special district where Disney World sits after Disney spoke out against the state’s so-called Don’t Say Gay law have reached a settlement in their legal battle. The deal wipes out changes to the board’s power and the company’s development plans that Disney pushed through just before the new board was seated. Instead, Disney will move forward with an earlier plan to expand the theme park.

Amazon ups its investment in AI. In the e-commerce giant’s largest outside investment since its founding, Amazon said yesterday that it’s pouring another $2.75 billion (on top of the $1.25 billion it already invested) into Anthropic, maker of ChatGPT competitor Claude. With the race for AI dominance heating up, Anthropic, which also counts Google and Salesforce among its backers, has raked in over $10+ billion in investments over the last year, including the latest one from Amazon, per CNBC. Meanwhile, bankrupt FTX recently reached a deal to sell off its $844 million stake in Anthropic, mostly to a UAE sovereign wealth fund.

Former Sen. Joe Lieberman, one-time VP candidate, has died. The centrist four-term senator from Connecticut died yesterday from complications of a fall at age 82. As Al Gore’s running mate in 2000, Lieberman was the first Jewish nominee for vice president from a major party. He mounted an unsuccessful bid for the presidential nomination in 2004, and was defeated in the 2006 Democratic primary for the nomination for his senate seat—but won the seat in the general election anyway as an independent. After retiring from the Senate in 2013, he helped lead the group No Labels, which has said it intends to field a candidate in the 2024 presidential contest.


The NCAA is very worried about prop betting

NCAA Men’s Basketball game Stacy Revere/Getty Images

On the heels of an NBA investigation into allegations of prop betting irregularities involving a Toronto Raptors player, the NCAA has set its sights on preventing similar scandals.

NCAA President Charlie Baker issued a statement yesterday calling on states to prohibit prop betting on college sports games, citing concerns about maintaining the integrity of the game and the safety of student-athletes. Prop betting allows bettors to wager on players’ individual stats rather than on the outcome of games.

  • Baker has opposed college prop betting since he became NCAA president last year. He’s said that legal sports gambling is increasing stress on college players.
  • Some student-athletes have been harassed by prop bettors for failing to make them money.

Prop bets on college sports, which accounted for just 1.4% of total DraftKings wagers last year, are only fully legal in Kansas, Louisiana, Michigan, Wyoming, and Washington, DC.

NCAA gambling scandals have already begun: Temple University, Iowa State, and the University of Alabama have all been implicated to varying degrees in betting improprieties within the last year.

In other betting news…the Wall Street Journal reported yesterday that online betting VIP programs are facing federal scrutiny.—CC




Follow the data . AI has changed a lot—and Snowflake’s here to break the data down. Uncover the insights in the free report: Snowflake Data Trends 2024. It explores key trends, including how 9k+ leading organizations are building toward advanced AI success. Read the deets.


What the father of behavioral economics taught us

Daniel Kahneman at speaking event. Sean Gallup/Getty Images

Daniel Kahneman, the father of behavioral economics, died yesterday at 90 years old. He’s best known for applying psychology to economics and uncovering biases and mental shortcuts that make people act irrationally, as he chronicled in his best-selling book Thinking, Fast and Slow.

Kahneman, along with his long-time collaborator and friend Amos Tversky, developed “prospect theory,” or loss-aversion theory, which earned him the Nobel Prize in Economics in 2002 (which he shared with fellow economist Vernon Smith). The idea is that people value losses and gains differently, so we feel more bad about losing $100 than we feel good about making the same amount.

He applied this theory to investors, who had previously been considered rational decision-makers. It shows up elsewhere, too—for example, golfers putt better when they’re facing the loss of a stroke than when they might gain one.

A few other biases he identified that are probably buried in your brain (whether or not you learned them in Psych 101):

  • The “peak-end rule” that people remember an experience primarily based on how they felt at its most intense moment and the final part of it. It’s why you consider a whole vacation good if the last day was good—or the opposite.
  • The conjunction fallacy where people erroneously think the probability of two things being true is more likely than just one thing, which the famous “Linda the Bank Teller” problem illustrates.

For further reading: Kahneman and Tversky were the center of Michael Lewis’s 2016 book, The Undoing Project.—MM



Key performance indicators

A baby's bottom in a diaper Karl Tapales/Getty Images

Stat: Japan’s aging population is shifting even its diaper business. Japanese diaper company Oji Holdings recently announced that it’ll stop producing for babies domestically and will make adult versions instead—though it will continue making products for babies’ tushes in Malaysia and Indonesia. The decision reflects what’s been happening in the Japanese market for a while now: In 2011, the nation’s biggest diaper brand, Unicharm, said adult versions had outsold baby ones. And it’s grown more acute since then. Last year, Japan recorded its fewest annual births since the 19th century, and the proportion of its population over age 80 grew to more than 10%, per the BBC. Japan’s growing adult diaper market is estimated at ~$2 billion.

Quote: “This is an unprecedented situation and a big deal. It’s not a huge change in the Earth’s rotation that’s going to lead to some catastrophe or anything, but it is something notable.”

Feel dizzy? It might be because the Earth is spinning faster than it used to. OK, you can’t really feel the change, but to keep our clocks running precisely, we may need to have a “negative leap second” (where clocks will skip a second) in 2029, according to a paper published in Nature yesterday. The geophysicist behind the paper—who explained to the Associated Press that this is most unusual because to reconcile astronomical and atomic time, we usually add seconds—claims that climate change has delayed the need for a strange subtraction because the melting of the polar ice caps has counteracted some of the extra rotational speed by slowing Earth down with extra ocean water.

Read: An architect’s vision for cities that float on water. (The New Yorker)


What else is brewing

  • Sam Bankman-Fried will be sentenced today for his role in the collapse of FTX. The government wants him behind bars for 50 years, while his lawyers say six years would be enough.
  • Divers found the remains of two of the six people presumed to have died after a cargo ship crashed into Baltimore’s Francis Scott Key Bridge.
  • An appeals court ruled that Texas’s controversial immigration law allowing the state to arrest migrants will stay on hold while it considers the law’s constitutionality.
  • A federal judge ruled that the SEC’s lawsuit accusing Coinbase of selling unregistered securities can go to trial, rejecting the crypto exchange’s bid to get it tossed.
  • Twitch’s most popular streamer, Ninja (real name: Tyler Blevins), has been diagnosed with skin cancer.
  • New York City is poised to levy a $15 toll for driving into parts of Manhattan after the controversial congestion pricing plan was approved by the city’s transportation board.


To do list Thursday

Watch: A very special road race has waiters traversing the streets of Paris while carrying trays with a croissant and coffee.

Get inspired: A list of verbs for making art by sculptor Richard Serra, who died this week at age 85.

Learn: How jelly beans became an Easter candy.

Eclipse tips: This video explains how to take the perfect photo of the sky, and here’s how to watch without harming your eyes.

Rep the Brew: It’s warming up, which means it’s time to snag a Brew Smiley tank top. Get yours here.

Cash + credit: Get up to 3% unlimited Daily Cash on every purchase with Apple Card. That’s real cash that never expires or loses value. Apply for Apple Card.*

*A message from our sponsor.


The puzzle section

Brew Mini: If today’s grid were a Scrabble board, it’d probably rack up a very high score. See what we mean here.

Three Headlines and a Lie

Three of these headlines are real and one is faker than your plans to just iron it at the hotel. Can you spot the odd one out?

  1. Canada’s maple syrup reserve hits 16-year low
  2. New bottled water company is targeting people who suffer from IBS
  3. Shop error leaves Orkney island with more Easter eggs than people
  4. Lego head mugshots add to California’s debate on policing and privacy


The business empires you’ve never heard of

Looking through glasses at zipper ad at bus stop Francis Scialabba

You might know that Nestlé makes a ton of the snacks in your pantry or that Johnson & Johnson is all over your medicine cabinet, but lower-profile industry titans lurk behind many of the other products that have become part of our daily lives. If you’ve used a zipper, put on glasses, or walked by a bus stop today, you’ve probably encountered one.

Check out our dive into three brands you might be accidentally loyal to here.


We made up the one about the IBS water.

Word of the Day

Today’s Word of the Day is: improprieties, meaning “behaviors that are dishonest, socially unacceptable, or unsuitable for a particular situation.” Thanks to Brett from San Francisco for the totally appropriate suggestion. Submit another Word of the Day here.

✢ A Note From Aura Health

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