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Daily Brew

Workhuman

Good morning. Normally the entire writing team collaborates on this top blurb, but it’s Lincoln, Nebraska, native Matty stepping in to personally let everyone know that the Huskers kick off their college football season today vs. Illinois. And we need as many good vibes as you can spare because it seems like coach Scott Frost is hanging on by a thread.

Matty Merritt, Jamie Wilde, Neal Freyman

MARKETS

Nasdaq

15,129.50

S&P

4,509.37

Dow

35,455.80

Bitcoin

$49,036.88

10-Year

1.314%

Peloton

$104.34

*Stock data as of market close, cryptocurrency data as of 7:00pm ET. Here's what these numbers mean.

  • Markets: All three major stock indexes closed the week in the green, thanks in part to soothing words from Fed Chair Jerome Powell (more on that in a bit). Peloton slid a day after reporting sour earnings, and said that it had been subpoenaed by the DOJ and the DHS over treadmill injuries.  
  • Afghanistan: The death toll from a bombing outside the Kabul airport climbed to 169 people. But the US pressed on with its evacuation efforts ahead of President Biden’s Tuesday deadline, when American forces will completely withdraw from Afghanistan. It also carried out a drone strike against a member of the Islamic State affiliate which claimed responsibility for the attack in Kabul.

TECH

Tim's Apple, 10 Years On

Tim Cook sayin hi

Giphy

What did your partner get you for your 10th anniversary? Chances are, it’s a little less generous than the $750 million Tim Cook is receiving from Apple as the final tranche of a pay package he secured when he was promoted in 2011.

That’s right, Cook has been the CEO of Apple for exactly 10 years this week.

Morning Brew didn’t exist when he took over the top job but if we did, we would have written about how Cook, who ran Apple’s operations, was handed the daunting task of replacing cofounder and longtime CEO Steve Jobs.

Turns out, Apple did a much better job finding its next leader than Jeopardy! did (admittedly a low bar).

  • Under Cook, Apple’s market capitalization has grown around 600% to $2.5 trillion, making it the most valuable public company in the world. 
  • Apple’s annual revenue in 2011, when Cook took over, was $108.2 billion; in 2020 it made $274.5 billion. 
  • Sorry, one more thing—Apple was also the most profitable company in the world in fiscal 2020.

How did that happen?

While the iPhone still reigns supreme, Apple has expanded its hardware lineup in the last decade and scored hits with the Apple Watch and AirPods. It also made a big move into services (Apple Pay, Apple Music, etc.), a unit that brought in a record $17.5 billion in revenue last quarter—nearly half of iPhone sales.

While leading these initiatives, Cook has been a part of a growing number of CEOs who are speaking out on social and political issues. For instance, he criticized former President Trump’s hardline stance on immigration and forcefully defended LGBTQ rights (Cook was the first openly gay CEO of a Fortune 500 company).

Looking ahead...Cook still has plenty of problems to deal with, from high-stakes legal challenges against Apple’s App Store policies to a more vocal workforce to thorny privacy questions. Will he stay on for another 10 years to solve them? “Probably not,” Cook told NYT journalist Kara Swisher. — NF

        

ECONOMY

Powell on the Economy: “Clear Progress”

Jerome Powell sitting at a desk looking concerned

Alex Wong/Getty Images

Jerome Powell is ready to take the US economy off the injured reserve list. In a highly anticipated speech yesterday, the Fed Chair said that the economy has recovered enough that “it could be appropriate” to start slowing down some of the Fed’s pandemic-era stimulus measures.

The backstory: Since July 2020, the Fed has been buying $120 billion worth of bonds and mortgage-backed securities each month to keep markets working like Adam Smith drew them up.

Fast forward more than a year, and every investor is desperate to hear when the Fed will begin scaling back those asset purchases—a process known as “tapering.” Without a sufficient heads up, winding down stimulus programs could potentially spark a “taper tantrum” in financial markets.

  • So when will that be? After Powell’s speech, Goldman Sachs predicted that the Fed would give advance notice next month and then formally announce tapering in November. 

As for the Fed’s other tool to juice the economy, low interest rates, Powell indicated that hiking interest rates were not on his immediate to-do list. — NF

        

STOCKS

Yep, That's a Meme Stock Chart

Support.com stock price chart starting at 2016 and surging recently to nearly $30

Support.com is a relatively unknown software company, considering how high it must rank in Google search results. But it’s under-the-radar no more: Amateur traders are gassing it up like friends at a bridal fitting.

Shares of Support.com skyrocketed as much as 203% on Friday, before closing the day up 34%.

Why Support.com? For the same reasons that traders doubled down on AMC and GameStop this winter: to profit off of professional investors’ short bets.

Last month, Wall Street shorted Support.com’s stock, betting on the company’s stock to go down. Amateur investors bet against their bets, attempting a “short squeeze” that can accelerate a stock’s surge like throwing Mentos into Diet Coke.

But someone must have told the SEC about dramatic irony

Because yesterday it launched a probe into social media-fueled trading. SEC Chair Gary Gensler said his regulatory agency is looking into how apps like Robinhood gamify trading with features that encourage the kind of frenzied investing activity we’ve seen around meme stocks like Support.com.

Looking ahead...the SEC’s investigation could portend a crackdown that might tone down meme stock rallies—with the ultimate goal of protecting amateur traders from catastrophic financial losses. — JW

        

SPONSORED BY WORKHUMAN

“Hey—Kudos on That Preso”

Workhuman

We all deserve more praise in the workplace—be it for the big things (like kicking butt on a preso), or the little wins (like managing to keep an orchid alive on your desk for more than two months).

Workhuman is designed to help you and your company build a more socially connected workforce, grounded in a positive culture of trust, goodwill, and humanity. 

Through workplace recognition and expressing gratitude, teams experience a boost in positivity and well-being, which translates to better performance and employee retention.

Even gratitude in its simplest form works wonders. When somebody receives more than five formal 'thank you’ moments in a year, their propensity to leave their organization is cut in half—from about 15% to 7%.

You know what? Thank YOU, Workhuman, for pioneering a more human workplace. It’s true: Without humans, it’s just work.

Learn more about Workhuman right over here.

GRAB BAG

Key Performance Indicators

Cristiano Ronaldo scores a goal

Giphy

Stat: Soccer star Cristiano Ronaldo is returning to his former team Manchester United, and whenever he switches clubs it’s a major business event. When he moved to Italy’s Juventus in 2018, the club sold 520,000 Ronaldo jerseys (equivalent to $62.4 million in revenue) in the 24 hours after he joined. Plus, Manchester United stock—yes, it’s a publicly traded company—jumped about 6% on the day.

Quote: “I don’t know a single person who regularly watches TV financial news. They’re going to these specialized YouTube channels and social media. Giving their money to some guy in a suit on Wall Street, I just don’t think that’s something that would ever even occur to them.”

Social media consultant Sarah Petite spoke to the WSJ about the new generation of stock-picking influencers who’ve taken over YouTube. 

Read: Inside the daring mission by US special operations vets to rescue Afghan allies. (ABC News)

        

SPORTS

Q&A With Paralympic Gold Medalist Mike Schultz

Mike Schultz after winning gold at the 2018 Paralympics

Courtesy of Mike Schultz

The Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games kicked off Tuesday, featuring high-stakes competition from 4,403 athletes with a range of physical and intellectual disabilities, as well as the first-ever Refugee Paralympic Team.

USA is currently ranked fifth in medal count, but chill, it’s only Day 5. 

To learn about what it takes to be a Paralympic champion, we asked gold medal-winning snowboarder Mike Schultz what was harder: winning the gold or starting his company, BioDapt, which provides lower-limb prosthetics for action sports. 

  • Here’s a snippet: “Winning the gold is extremely tough, and in the short-term sense, it takes a lot of commitment to be 100% all the way through the competition. But starting a business is an ongoing set of challenges. So, I'd have to say the business is definitely more challenging for me,” he said. 

You can read the full interview with Mike Schultz here.

More Paralympics content: You can catch some of the events on *sigh* Peacock; follow some of our fave athletes like long jumper Lex Gillette and swimmers Jessica Long and Mallory Weggemann on social media; or dive deep into the competition referred to as “murderball.” — MM

        

WHAT ELSE IS BREWING

  • Rivian, an electric truck company backed by Amazon and Ford, filed to go public and is reportedly seeking a valuation of ~$80 billion.
  • ESPN has held talks with big sports betting companies about a licensing deal worth more than $3 billion, according to the WSJ.
  • Affirm shares spiked as much as 47% after hours when Amazon said it was partnering with the buy now, pay later service for payments on its site.
  • Hurricane Ida is expected to strengthen and slam the Louisiana coast on Sunday. 
  • How much do webcam models make?

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GAMES

Brew Crossword: In the Neighborhood

Brew Crossword

Once you crack this puzzle’s theme you’ll be feeling smarter than a certain MIT janitor. Play it here.

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Written by Jamie Wilde, Matty Merritt, and Neal Freyman

Illustrations & graphics by Francis Scialabba

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