☕️ Squid Game

Facebook is shutting down Insta for Kids...for now
September 28, 2021 View Online | Sign Up

Daily Brew

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Matty Merritt, Neal Freyman, Max Knoblauch

MARKETS

Nasdaq

14,969.97

S&P

4,443.11

Dow

34,869.37

10-Year

1.485%

Bitcoin

$43,323.89

Chevron

$102.97

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

  • Markets: The biggest story in the market right now isn't stocks—it's bonds. Treasury yields are increasing (indicating a bond sell-off), which is a bullish sign for stocks tied to the economy, like energy, and a bearish sign for high-growth tech stocks.
  • Covid: 55% of the US population is fully vaccinated, ranking #42 in the world and putting it behind countries like the UK, Italy, Canada, Malaysia, and China. President Biden got his Pfizer booster shot yesterday and encouraged everyone who is eligible to follow the leader.

SOCIAL MEDIA

The Insta Kids Are Not Alright

Toy block with instagram logo on top of phone

Francis Scialabba

Facebook, like so many of us after one bad summer camp gig, has pumped the brakes on its plans to work with kids. The head of FB-owned Instagram, Adam Mosseri, announced yesterday that the company would be pausing development for "Instagram Kids," a version of its platform for users under 13.

If you think babies who can use iPhones are scary, just wait until you hear about how terrified people are of tweens navigating social media.

  • In May, 44 attorneys general asked Mark Zuckerberg to abandon the idea, arguing that 13 was too young to deal with the wide world of targeted ads and internet trolls. The AGs cited studies showing how social media negatively impacted children's health.

Then, a few weeks ago, a WSJ investigation revealed that Facebook knew Instagram was harmful to its users but decided not to do anything about it. The most relevant insight: Facebook's internal research showed that Instagram made body image issues worse for one in three teen girls, and called Instagram "toxic."

  • In a blog post rebutting the investigation, Facebook's Head of Research Pratiti Raychoudhury pushed back on the WSJ's accusations, saying that its platforms were not toxic.

It's not goodbye, just see you later

Instagram's Mosseri wrote in a blog post that, "While we stand by the need to develop this experience"—a platform specifically geared toward youngsters where parents can monitor who slides into their kids' DMs—the company wants more time to convince parents, experts, and regulators this is a good idea. It'll be an uphill battle: Some lawmakers are saying that the Instagram for kids concept should be scrapped all together.

Looking ahead...Facebook's global head of safety, Antigone Davis, will testify Thursday in a Senate hearing addressing Facebook's research into kids' health and safety on its apps.

+ While we're here: If Instagram for kids doesn't work out, Facebook still has the metaverse. And yesterday it announced a $50 million investment into building its metaverse "responsibly." —MM

        

Fed Leaders Hit the Links

Boston Fed President Eric Rosengren

Boston Fed President Eric Rosengren. Jessica Rinaldi for The Boston Globe via Getty Images

Not one, but two Federal Reserve leaders—Dallas Fed President Robert Kaplan and Boston Fed President Eric Rosengren—announced their retirement yesterday.

Good deal on a Winnebago? Not exactly. Both Kaplan and Rosengren have come under fire after new disclosures showed they were active traders while determining the country's monetary policy. Kaplan especially was #buyingthedip—he executed big trades in stocks such as Amazon, Apple, and Delta last year as the Fed flooded the market with liquidity.

  • Kaplan directly linked the trading controversy to his retirement: "Unfortunately, the recent focus on my financial disclosure risks becoming a distraction" to the Fed's work.
  • Rosengren didn't mention his stock trading. He cited health reasons for his early retirement.

Earlier this month, both Kaplan and Rosengren said they would sell their stocks to avoid any conflicts of interest.

Zoom out: At a press conference last week, Fed Chair Jerome Powell made clear he was not pleased about the stock trading controversy, and pledged to look into the Fed's ethics guidelines. "I think no one is happy," he said. —NF

        

Do You Want to Play a 'Squid Game'?

A still shot from the show Squid Game

Netflix

The No. 1 show on Netflix right now isn't Cocomelon or Sex Education, but instead a South Korean thriller called Squid Game. It's the first South Korean TV show to hit the top spot on Netflix, and its success highlights the growing influence of K-drama on the global entertainment stage.

What is Squid Game? The prequel to My Octopus Teacher. JK—it portrays a Hunger Games-esque competition where contestants compete in highly dangerous events for the opportunity to win more than $40 million in prizes.

Catching the Squid fever

Some companies with ink in Squid Game are surging in share price. Bucket Studio, which has a stake in an agency representing the show's lead actor, has exploded more than 70% over the past three trading sessions, per Bloomberg.

Squid hype has even jumped platforms, with fans replicating the show's deadly competitions in Roblox.

Big picture: From "Gangnam Style" to BTS to Parasite, South Korean culture has gained a foothold in the US over the last decade. One analyst told Bloomberg that Korean companies could pose a "serious competitive threat" to Hollywood powerhouse studios.—NF

        

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GRAB BAG

Key Performance Indicators

Stat: TikTok said it has 1 billion monthly active users globally, a 45% jump from July 2020 and a much bigger jump from January 2018, when it had just 55 million. Here's where the rest of the social media platforms stack up.

Quote: "This is by far the highest-profile, post-Me Too conviction involving sexual abuse that we've seen in the music industry."

The NYT's Joe Coscarelli put R. Kelly's conviction yesterday into perspective. The singer, accused for decades of exploiting young women and children for sex, was found guilty on all charges of racketeering and sex trafficking brought against him. The big question facing the industry now is, will streamers like Spotify and Apple Music remove R. Kelly's music from their platforms?

Read: Goldman Sachs, Ozy Media, and a $40 million conference call gone wrong. (New York Times)

        

INVESTING

Investing Is So Easy a Hamster Can Do It

A hamster stands next to a chart bearing an upward arrow

A new star investor is turning heads in the world of crypto. Mr. Goxx's portfolio is up about 20% since he started trading in June, outperforming Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway, bitcoin, and the S&P 500.

Thing is, Mr. Goxx is doing all this with a brain about the size of an Altoid. Because he's a hamster.

Mr. Goxx works out of a high-tech office in Germany and makes his picks by running on a wheel, which selects a particular crypto, then running through one of two tunnels, which decides whether the asset is bought or sold.

Animal traders, a history: Crypto-picking hamsters are a new addition to a long-standing theory that random chance is as reliable an investment strategy as any expert's picks. In his 1973 book A Random Walk Down Wall Street, economist Burton Malkiel wrote, "A blindfolded monkey throwing darts...could select a portfolio that would do just as well as one carefully selected by experts."

The theory was tested in 2018 by Wall Street Journal writers who made stock selections by throwing darts at a board. After a year, the dartboard selections beat the pros by 27%. —MK

        

WHAT ELSE IS BREWING

  • Blackstone sold the Cosmopolitan casino and hotel in Las Vegas for $5.65 billion. With total profits of $4.1 billion, it's the single most profitable sale in the investment firm's history, Blackstone said.
  • CAA is acquiring ICM Partners in a big move that will shake up the talent agency landscape.
  • Harvard Business School is moving many MBA classes online due to a rise in breakthrough Covid-19 cases.
  • Polestar, a Swedish electric car maker backed by Leonardo DiCaprio, is going public at a valuation of $20 billion.
  • Heineken is spending half of its US media budget in 2021 on marketing its non-alcoholic beer.

SPONSORED BY CAPITAL ONE

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BREW'S BETS

OK, this is weird: But it's worth a watch. Someone beatboxes while in an MRI.

Film knowledge: The most difficult shot in movie history (and why it matters).

Tech Tip Tuesday: If you use Google Calendar, look for the "Time Insights" dashboard in the left hand column, which gives you info on how you spend your time. It may be frightening, but hey, knowledge is power.

FROM THE CREW

Build Your Dream Team

Teamwork GIF

Need some tips on building your dream team? The Founder's Journal podcast is covering everything you need to succeed this week—from nurturing your hires to answering the age-old question, "Should I hire my friend?"

Make sure you're subscribed to Founder's Journal wherever you get your podcasts—your career could depend on it.

GAMES

The Puzzle Section

Brew Mini: Here's another opportunity to show your coworkers who's got the best crossword chops on the team. Play the Mini here.

Celeb Investors

These days it's not enough to walk the red carpet—you've also got to get your name on a cap table. Can you match the celebrity to the company they've invested in?

Celebrities: Ashton Kutcher, Lizzo, Ryan Seacrest, Bono, Oprah

Companies: Headspace, Facebook, Oatly, rowing startup Hydrow, Airbnb

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ANSWER

Ashton Kutcher = Airbnb, Lizzo = Hydrow, Ryan Seacrest = Headspace, Bono = Facebook, Oprah = Oatly

       

Written by Neal Freyman, Matty Merritt, and Max Knoblauch

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