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January 13, 2024 View Online | Sign Up | Shop

Morning Brew


Good morning. How are those New Year's resolutions coming along? A reminder: Based on your year-end targets, by now you should have read six books, filled up two journals, meditated for 250 cumulative hours, broken the sound barrier while running a 10k, decoded the Rongorongo glyphs on Easter Island, and invented a new clean energy source.

If you're falling a bit behind, that's natural! But definitely use this three-day weekend to get back on track…

—Sam Klebanov, Molly Liebergall, Matty Merritt, Abby Rubenstein, Adam Epstein, Neal Freyman














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

  • Markets: Stocks were a mixed bag yesterday as investors pored over the first big earnings reports and new data showing that wholesale prices surprisingly went down in December. Airlines took a hit after Delta beat earning expectations but lowered its profit forecast.


US strikes Houthis who have upset global trade

Ship in Red Sea Sayed Hassan/Getty Images

A US–UK-led coalition recently struck over 70 military targets controlled by Houthi rebels in Yemen. It was the most decisive action yet aimed at getting the Iran-backed group to stop disrupting global trade in the Red Sea.

As the Houthis promised to strike back, the escalation elicited fresh fears of a broader conflict in the Middle East beyond the Israel–Hamas war. The Houthis claim they're supporting Hamas by attacking passing ships. In the past three months, they've fired at dozens of commercial vessels on the route that connects Asia to markets in Europe and the US East Coast, which accounts for $1 trillion in global trade annually.

The strikes in Yemen conducted in so-called nonoperational collaboration with Australia, Bahrain, Canada, and the Netherlands followed an unheeded ultimatum for the attacks to stop made by the US. It also came after the Houthis launched a barrage of drones at American ships earlier in the week. The Pentagon said it has left the Houthis with "degraded capability." But Yemen scholar Farea Al-Muslimi told the Wall Street Journal that the response might've been mostly symbolic given the Houthis' sizable resources.

Trade in choppy waters

The strikes on the Houthis are already having an economic impact:

  • Oil prices rose 1% yesterday on news of the attack.
  • The US told ships to stay clear of risky Red Sea waters for 72 hours, though most companies, including Danish shipping giant Maersk, have already been sending their ships on the much longer alternative route around Africa.

Ongoing Houthi-caused disruptions have driven up shipping costs and times, and companies are feeling it.

  • Tesla cited shipping delays for car parts as the reason for its decision to pause production at its biggest European plant in Germany until the middle of next month.
  • Ikea and British chain Marks & Spencer said that some of their spring collection items might arrive in stores late this year.

But retail industry analysts predict the current disruptions won't cause supply chain chaos à la 2021, per Bloomberg.

Looking ahead…the longer-term future of shipping in the Red Sea ultimately depends on decisions the Houthis make and whether Iran keeps sending them weapons, intelligence expert Christopher Long told the WSJ.—SK



Cozy up to hydration


Here's the hard truth: Cold weather doesn't reduce your body's need for hydration.

That's right—hydration isn't just for summertime. Our internal thirst mechanism doesn't work as well in the cold, and all that cold, dry air makes us lose more moisture. A double dehydration whammy!

Warm up with LMNT's hot drinks and get the hydration benefits of an electrolyte drink mix in a delicious holiday bev. Try the new chocolate medley; enjoy it on its own or add it to your cocoa or coffee.

Whether you're a skier, a snowboarder, or a driveway shoveler, fuel your winter activities with LMNT.

Try the chocolate medley while 'tis (still) the season and get a free sample pack.


Tour de headlines

JPMorgan CEO Jamie Dimon JPMorgan CEO Jamie Dimon has billions of reasons to smile. Saul Loeb/Getty Images

JPMorgan had its most profitable year ever. Earnings season began with a bang yesterday, as the four biggest banks in the US reported how they wrapped up 2023. JPMorgan Chase raked in $49.6 billion for the year—a 32% jump from 2022 that topped its previous record profit from 2021. But things weren't so rosy everywhere: Citigroup posted a $1.8 billion loss for the final quarter and announced plans to lay off 20,000 employees. And Bank of America's Q4 profit was $3.1 billion, which is 56% less than it made during the same quarter the year before. Wells Fargo boosted its profits for the quarter by 9%, but its costs also came in higher than expected.

Taiwan heads to the polls for a high-stakes election. People in Taiwan are voting for their next president today, and if you think the US election will be a nail-biter, the race in Taiwan will probably be a squeaker between a candidate who supports independence and one who wants to get closer to China. China has described the race as a choice between war and peace for the island. And that's not the only relationship on the line: The outcome will also greatly impact the already tense state of affairs between the US and China.

The FAA plans to pay more attention to Boeing's production. Because none of us will ever be able to fly again without thinking about the moment a door plug blew off an Alaska Airlines plane midflight, the Federal Aviation Administration vowed to step up its oversight of Boeing. The agency plans to audit production of 737 Max 9 planes to ensure Boeing and its suppliers are following safety rules. It will also review its longstanding policy of letting companies' manufacturing workers conduct some of their own safety checks of planes. And, in further fallout from the incident, passengers who were on the scary flight have filed a lawsuit against Boeing, according to Bloomberg.


CES 2024: Transparent TVs and AI everywhere

LG OLED T TVs at CES 2024 Ethan Miller/Getty Images

Thousands of tech heads and marketers converged on Las Vegas last week for the largest tech expo in the world, CES (formerly known as the Consumer Electronics Show), where some of the hottest trends were AI and not being able to see a screen.

Highlights from CES 2024 include…

Ballie. Samsung's little rolling robot acts like a home assistant. The yellow ball-shaped bot uses AI to handle smart home requests, project videos, feed the dog, and remind you of the droid BB8 from Star Wars.

Transparent TVs. LG's 77-inch OLED T is like a TV on light mode—rather than a black background, the screen has a see-through panel, so you could watch a show in front of a window and still see outside (or you can watch normally). Samsung presented a see-through micro LED screen, too.

The rabbit R1. This red handheld device has a touch screen, camera, mic, and—most importantly—AI software that learns how to use your mobile apps for you over wi-fi. Its creators say that all you have to do to get a car home and have groceries delivered, for example, is ask the device to order both for you.

Honorable mentions: A haptic tablet that lets visually impaired people feel football games; a Blackberry-like iPhone keyboard case; smart cookware; a far-too-realistic CPR dummy; and "Uber for toilets."—ML



The Crew

Scaling your business looks different when you're a six-figure founder headed for seven than when you're running a seven-figure operation headed for eight. This case study of businesses that have scaled successfully leaves clues for what has to change. Check it out.


It's harder to get promoted from your living room

Character in Workaholics saying Workaholics/Comedy Central via Giphy

Companies have tried donating to charity, hiring Lizzo, and even just flat-out making demands to get employees back into the office. But it seems management has an even better tool to make WFH less appealing: withholding promotions. Fully remote workers were promoted 31% less frequently than their in-person peers last year, according to Live Data Technologies.

In the data company's analysis of 2 million white-collar workers, 5.6% of employees who were going into the office on at least a hybrid basis received a promotion last year, compared to 3.9% of fully remote individuals, the Wall Street Journal reports. And it's not just a coincidence:

  • About 90% of 400 CEOs surveyed last year by KPMG said they'd be more likely to give in-person employees raises, promotions, or better assignments.
  • Amazon, for one, is enforcing its strict three-days-in-the-office policy for corporate workers by blocking promotions for anyone who doesn't comply, according to internal materials reviewed by Insider.

Yes, but...studies have gone both ways about whether employees are more or less productive at home, but surveys have found fully remote workers are a lot happier and more likely to stick with their jobs. Half of fully in-person employees said they'd be job hunting in the next year, compared to a third of employees who work from home, according to a 2023 Resume Builder survey.—MM



Key performance indicators

An NFL football game behind a Peacock logo Francis Scialabba

Stat: Have some ibuprofen handy this weekend, because you may have to show your older relatives how to sign up for Peacock. Tonight's Wild Card football matchup between the Miami Dolphins and Kansas City Chiefs marks the first time an NFL playoff game will be available exclusively on a streaming service (unless you live in one of those two local markets, where it'll still air on NBC). NBCUniversal, which owns Peacock, reportedly paid a whopping $110 million for the rights to stream the game, and for good reason: A regular-season game on Peacock last month peaked at 7.3 million viewers, but NBCU execs think tonight's playoff matchup could fetch up to six times that. They hope that once NFL fans hand over the $6 monthly fee, they'll stick around after the game to see what else Peacock has to offer.

Quote: "I'm sorry but I cannot fulfill this request it goes against OpenAI use policy."

Get ready to see that run-on sentence a lot…on Amazon. Turns out there are several listings on the e-commerce site for products with that "name," including what appear to be a set of chairs, a hose, and a tent. The listings headed with ChatGPT's unwillingness to name products are likely the result of companies using the chatbot to write whole product descriptions and posting them straight to Amazon without a human proofreader—and they're probably not a good deal, even with free Prime shipping.

Read: Britain's post-office scandal: How a TV drama shook up a nation—in just one week. (BBC)


What else is brewing

  • You're probably somewhere cold. Winter storms and a polar vortex sweeping in prompted weather advisories in every state in the lower 48 yesterday.
  • The US is seeking the death penalty against Payton Gendron, who killed 10 Black people in a racially motivated shooting at a Buffalo supermarket. It's the first time that federal prosecutors have been given permission to seek the punishment in a new case under the Biden administration.
  • The Supreme Court has agreed to hear a case over whether Starbucks must rehire pro-union employees who were fired.
  • Denmark's getting a new king tomorrow.
  • Jerod Mayo will replace Bill Belichick as head coach of the New England Patriots.
  • TikTok chef Lynn Yamada Davis, who entertained 17 million followers with her Cooking with Lynja videos, died at age 67.


Saturday To-Do List graphic

Zoom in: Look closely at the winners of a close-up photography contest.

Get schooled: Watch our friends at Good Work investigate business school.

Dress like a star: You can nab the suit Nicole Kidman wore to hawk AMC or Elton John's old costumes at upcoming auctions.

It's cold out: Make soup.

Know now: Stay relevant and build skills in AI, programming, and data science. Explore thousands of bite-sized, interactive lessons from Brilliant. Try it free for 30 days.*

*A message from our sponsor.


The puzzle section

Brew crossword: Look at the weather outside, and then open today's crossword. You'll probably pick up on similar vibes. Play it here.

Open House

Welcome to Open House, the only newsletter section that knows you can put a bookshelf anywhere. We'll give you a few facts about a listing and you try to guess the price.

Pensylvania mansion and giant barn with bookshelf and chandeliers.Zillow

Today's home is in McMurray, Pennsylvania. This 20,000-square-foot mansion on 110 acres has many ritzy features you'd expect, like mahogany doors and heated garage floors, but it also includes a barn that's nicer than most people's apartments. Amenities include:

  • 6 beds, 11 baths
  • Putting green
  • Chandeliers in the stable

How much for a Saddle Club immersive experience?


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$28.9 million

Word of the Day

Today's Word of the Day is: haptic, meaning "relating to or based on the sense of touch." Thanks to John from Cleveland, Ohio, for giving us the feels with the suggestion. Submit another Word of the Day here.


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