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The Best Newsletter Yet

Vol. 22

(👆 More on that in a minute)

Happy Last-June-Saturday Besties,

Have ya heard the Hot Brat Summer trend — it was coined by Charlie XCX who is promoting her new album titled, Brat. So if you’re seeing a lot of things in this color (like a green Brat hot dog) that’s why.

But we’re on the Hot Deal Summer train… because $5 is the magic number for fast food this summer. McDonald’s, Wendy’s, Burger King, & Starbucks all launched $5 value meals because, psychologically, consumers prefer the number 5 in prices. This has #BigDealEnergy.

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ICYMI

Photo credit: PEOPLE

  • The World’s Ugliest dog has been crowned — He’s an 8-year-old Pekingese appropriately named Wild Thang. The prize was $5K. The competition was at the Sonoma-Marin Fair last week. The runners-up are here if you’re curious.

  • MAJOR OUTAGE: 15k American car dealerships have been effectively shut for the last week — All because one company called “CDK Global” (THE software provider to 15K car dealerships in North America) got hacked. Get this: 2.6% of US GDP goes through this 1 company.

  • LeBron Jr. & LeBron Sr: The LA Lakers drafted 19-year-old Bronny James in the NBA draft — this means LeBron and his son are playing on the same team. LeBron celebrated the news on Instagram with a 1-word post captioned: LEGACY!!! 🤴🏾🤴🏾

MACRO

Source: International Monetary Fund

European Tour: Portugal, Italy, Greece, Spain (a.k.a. P.I.G.S.), the once-struggling southern European economies, now make up ½ of the EU’s GDP growth.

  • The reason: American tourists. Tourist Tammy from Tampa is hitting Lisbon for the T-Swift tour since it’s cheaper than seeing her in Florida.

  • The surprise: Historically, Germany, France, and the UK have been the strongest European economies. And 15 years ago, the 4 P.I.G.S.🐷 🐷 🐷 🐷 countries’ caused the European Debt Crisis. But now, American tourists have powered the opposite — southern Europe has the fasts growing economies on the continent with the north struggles.

  • HERO STAT: Even though Europe makes up just 5% of world pop, it takes in ⅓ of world tourism spend. But Tourism is cyclical, which means when a recession hits, it hits the EU especially hard.

Plus, Jack can’t wait for that Paris trip 😉

MARKETS

“Vibecession” = People feel like the economy’s bad, even though data shows it’s good. The S&P 500 has hit a record high 32 times in 2024 (including on Friday).

  • But there’s a catch: Almost all of that gain is because of the 6 “AI Mafia” stocks: Nvidia, Apple, Microsoft, Amazon, Google, & Meta. Each has gained $1 trillion in value since ChatGPT launched 18 months ago. If you remove them, then the stock market is actually flat or down.

  • An indicator of how the rest of the market is doing: The Russell 2000, which is a broader index that tracks 2,000 small publicly traded companies, and that is up just 2% this year.

  • The 2024 Numbers… S&P 500 = +15%, Russell 2000 +2%

DATA

  • Hoarder’s Almanac Week 224 (a.k.a Things we’re running outta’ in this economy): Summer Fridays, the most valuable work perk since the invention of the weekend, are disappearing 🫠 

    • Before the Pandemic: 55% of companies did Summer Fridays

    • But Today: Only 11% do, according to a Gartner survey

    • Math: That’s an 80% drop in Summer Fridays.

So what killed the Summer Friday? Ironically, WFH Wednesday. Because your boss gives more flexibility during the week, they’re offering less flexibility at the end of the week.

FACTS

🚵‍♂️ The Tour de France: The 111th Tour De France starts tomorrow — it’s the most prestigious and difficult bike race in the world. But this year, it actually begins in Florence, Italy and ends in Nice, France. This is the 1st time in 35 years the race is not ending in Paris (blame the Paris Olympics).

  • The race includes 21 day-long stages and racers have just 2 rest days in between. 1 of the stages includes a climb of nearly 12,000 ft. In 21 stages they’ll cover 2,173.6 miles…cue the carbo load.

Photo Credit: Frankies

The Bear Season 3 just dropped out on Hulu …but when season 2 aired, the accidental star of the show was the olive oil that made a cameo 🫒. Specifically, Frankies 457, a brand based in Brooklyn, New York (we ate at the WV location once). And sold out after being seen on the show last season. It’s $24 for a half-liter bottle ain’t cheap, but its ingredients are sourced from Sicily. And the tin can is designed to make sure there are no dribbles. No spoilers, we’re watching this weekend. 🤫

THE BEST TAKEAWAYS

“The Liam Neeson Rule”: Ban cyber-ransom payments — otherwise said — it should be against the law to pay off hackers. Each ransomware hacking that results in a ransom payment ends up encouraging future hackings (see: JBS Meat Co., the Colonial Pipeline, last year’s Ceasar’s palace… to name a few). If ransom payments were illegal, the financial incentive to criminal hackers would be gone. That’s why the US doesn’t negotiate with terrorists…and Liam Neeson doesn’t negotiate with kidnappers.

“Today you suck… compared to tomorrow”. But this isn’t negative — because if you (or your company) is growing & improving, you (or your company) will be even better tomorrow. Netflix just said “Netflix sucks” (today), but that’s just the CEO’s confidence in the future of the ‘Flix.

  • If ya need a read: Netflix publicly published its 125-slide “Culture” doc in 2009, which includes a harsh rule

  • 🔑 The Keeper Test: Netflix asks managers to make this assessment on each employee each year — If X wanted to leave, would I fight to keep them? — If the answer is ‘no’, then they should ask the employee to leave. Brutal — it’s why 9% of Netflix staff turns over each year. But it’s also how Netflix keeps a high-quality bar.

WHAT ELSE?

Photo credit: Golfers Digest

  • Llama Caddies: A golf course in North Carolina is using llamas

    to replace caddies. Economically speaking, the llamas drive tourism. The humpless camel has been a frequent surprise guest at weddings #llamaeconomy 🦙 

UPDATES

  • Nick’s hitting Nantucket to participate in his own one-man lobster-roll-eating competition.

  • Jack’s going full-cold-plunge in a real-life river. His final plunge last year was Thanksgiving day, his first plunge this year was May 1st.

Bibs out. 🦞 

If ya missed an episode this week, we gotcha…

  • Monday: 🍕DiGiorno eats Delivery” — DiGiorno’s chaos strategy. Car Dealerships’ ransom-hack. American Tourists save the PIGS.

  • TBOY Tuesday: 🍻0.0% Takeover” — Athletic buys Ballast Point’s brewery.

  • Ceviche Wednesday: 👙Pool Boy, Inc.” — Pool Corp’s swimming stock.

  • The New Friday: 🤑Big Deal Energy” — McDonald’s, Starbucks, & Wendy’s all just launched $5 Deals…

  • The Real Friday: 🥉“The 1st AI-lympics” — AI Michaels’ Olympics Artificial Intelligence voice clone.

And one more thing. We owe you a link from last week’s edition. Here’s the mauve/periwinkle/lavender sweater Nick and Jack were twinning in (this is not #ad).

Celebrate the wins this weekend. Hit us if you need our help to Save Summer Fridays 🙌 🙌 

—Nick & Jack

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