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  • U.S. markets: Stocks didn’t ride a wave of promising economic news out of China like we’re used to. That’s in part because health care companies continued to get slammed on fears of Medicare for All legislation.
  • Trade: U.S.-China negotiators are hoping to get a deal ready for some powerful people’s signatures in late May or early June, reports the WSJ.
  • What everyone will be talking about: Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s report, which will be released with redactions this morning.

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OK, but What Makes Pinterest Different?

It’s another historic day for tech IPOs, or as we like to call it, Thursday. Today’s lineup: Pinterest and Zoom. We’ll get to both, but let’s start with Pinterest, which raised $1.4 billion at a $10 billion valuation.

The “productivity tool for planning your dreams” (their words, not ours) has spent the better part of the last year lumped in with 2019’s high-growth, high-potential tech IPOs, including Lyft, Uber, Slack, Palantir, etc.

But when Pinterest lists shares on the NYSE today, it wants you to know…

It’s not like the rest of ’em

First, it’s not burning through cash. Pinterest lost $63 million in 2018—that’s a lot closer to profitability than Lyft (which lost $911 million last year) or Uber ($1.85 billion)...and it’s less than the $130 million Pinterest lost in 2017.

Second, it doesn’t consider itself a social media company. Pinterest users arrive on the platform ready to buy things, not judge an upcoming date’s selfie angle at Machu Picchu. Intent is important to companies playing Hungry Hungry Hippos for coveted ad dollars, which is why the company may have a leg up in turning users into revenue generators.

Bottom line: After Lyft’s stumbling IPO tempered investors’ excitement, Pinterest is hoping to brand itself as something outside Silicon Valley’s ordinary.


Zoom Makes Its Own Name

And on to the next: Zoom, the video conferencing company arguably best known for only being super well-known among small circles.

Circle one: the c-suite. Zoom’s popular “make team meetings less awful” software has earned a devoted following among execs and investors.

  • Last year was the second straight that Zoom more than doubled annual revenue.
  • Zoom reported $7.6 million in profit last year.

That makes venture capital favorite Zoom a rare profitable tech unicorn IPOing this year. It reached the $1 billion valuation threshold privately back in 2017, but given the price tag bankers put on Zoom shares yesterday, it’s now worth about $9.2 billion.

Circle two: bankers. They’ve reportedly seen such high demand for Zoom’s listing that they raised the price range for its IPO on Tuesday.

  • Worth mentioning: Per Recode, Microsoft’s bankers specifically have gotten to know Zoom on an *intimate* level. Microsoft has made “repeated attempts” to buy Zoom over the years...to no avail.

Bottom line: Since Zoom is an enterprise company instead of a consumer-facing one, it might not get the same hype as Pinterest and its 250 million monthly active users (exhibit A: we put it after Pinterest in the newsletter). But that doesn’t mean it can’t serve as a useful barometer of where the IPO market is headed this busy spring.


The American Micromobility Revolution

In a declaration of independence from the private automobile, Americans used shared micromobility systems (shared bikes and e-scooters) in record numbers in 2018, per a new report from the National Association of City Transportation Officials.

The 84 million trips taken more than doubled the number from the year before. And scooters are officially back: riders took more trips on shared scooters (38.5 million) than shared, docked bikes (36.5 million). Some experts consider this surge in popularity for short-distance, cheap transportation options a "micromobility revolution."

For micromobility to truly become a "revolution," it needs to check all the boxes:

  • Disruptive technology: Omnipresent GPS-enabled smartphones allow riders to locate a bike or scooter.
  • Challenging elites: While some city administrations have welcomed micromobility, others (like San Francisco) have implemented strict regulations.
  • An epic slogan: "Don’t tread on me" works perfectly.

Zoom out: This is an industry in its infancy. But with VC money pouring in and ride-hailing giants moving into the space, there appear to be as many opportunities as challenges.


He’s Running

Foxconn chairman Terry Gou said he’s stepping down from the company to run for president of Taiwan. And while some seek public office for fame, others for power...Gou said it was the sea goddess Mazu who inspired him to run.

But that’s not the only unique aspect of his campaign. As a billionaire businessman, Gou has no prior political experience. In 1974, he founded electronics manufacturer Foxconn—which now has over 1 million employees and is the largest private sector employer in China.

But the company is best known as the main assembler of the iPhone...so don’t be surprised when your “Gou 2020” yard sign arrives without a headphone jack.

So does Gou have a shot? Sure does, thanks to a few key advantages:

  • He’s got unprecedented connections/access to leaders in China via Foxconn’s investments there. China’s rocky relationship with Taiwan is a focal point of Taiwanese politics.
  • As an uber-successful business exec, Gou could be viewed as the stagnant economy’s knight in silicon armor.

We can’t wait for the CNN town hall.


Who's Holding and Who's Folding in the World of Gadgets

Samsung folds

Samsung’s Galaxy Fold smartphone, set to debut April 26 for almost $2,000, has already experienced cringeworthy screen malfunctions. Review units given to The Verge, Bloomberg, and CNBC all fell victim to screen failures yesterday after what was described as regular use.

  • Samsung says the smartphone can withstand at least 200,000 folds, or about 300 folds/day for two years. We’ll practice the next time we’re bored at JFK.

Microsoft holds
It just unveiled the refreshed Surface Hub 2S, a "giant conference room display"/"digital whiteboard" with super-high resolution, a 4K front camera with video calling support, and more.

  • Starting at $8,999 (and climbing as high as almost $12,000 with all bells/whistles), the Surface Hub 2S is looking to establish residency in your office's conference room.

For the rest of us, Microsoft is reportedly cooking up an AirPod competitor. The rumors suggest Surface-branded wireless earbuds that’ll include Cortana integration and noise canceling capabilities. They could come out by year-end.

+ Two weeks ago, Bloomberg reported Amazon was also working on an AirPod twin.


  • JPMorgan (+2.88%) did some c-suite reshuffling, and now one of two women looks positioned to succeed current CEO Jamie Dimon.
  • Amazon (+0.09%) plans to shut down its domestic marketplace in China by mid-July, Reuters reports.
  • Netflix and Hulu could be subpoenaed over behind-the-scenes footage in their Fyre Festival documentaries.
  • Carl’s Jr. will be testing a CBD-infused burger at one of its Denver locations on 4/20. Here are flights to Denver.
  • Time released its 100 most influential people list. Save you a click: not often you see Taylor Swift, President Trump, and Pope Francis in one place.


Reader Trivia
Lincoln from Fayetteville, AR, sent us this clever geography question: One of the world's most densely populated countries and one of the least dense countries both start with the same three letters. What are the countries?

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Breakroom Answers

Reader Trivia
Monaco (dense) and Mongolia (not so dense)


Vero assumenda dolorem sint aut est non qui. In officia quia ipsa sunt maiores placeat earum. Consequatur explicabo quas consequatur.

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