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Uber is sabotaging…themselves?

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Lower sales now… for higher profits later? That may be true as Uber begins encouraging customers to book bicycles and scooters instead of cars to get around. Lately, the ride-share company has been focusing heavily on offering means of transportation outside of automobiles. Crazy? Not necessarily because with a $6 trillion mobility market, there are far more to transportation options than just cars.


It’s for the long run… and lowered sales are okay if it means a better company in the future. The users win, the cities win, and Uber eventually wins – so a win-win-win by offering various modes of transportation. These “wins” include less traffic and more ways to get around.


What about the drivers… because believe it or not, this is good news for Uber drivers. Bicycles and scooters allow drivers to avoid the low-cost short trips and take on longer better-paying ones (or so they say). Regardless, Uber is showing us why the big picture trumps any short-term outlook – and remember this when the company goes public in 2019…

Blue Chip

Disney is now an even “happier” place than it already was

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Disney World Resort workers… got a little richer as the company announced starting pay of $15 per hour for amusement park workers. The pay increase is the result of negotiations between Disney and union members. The $15 per hour wage marks a 50% increase in minimum pay.


Not a done deal… but really, it is a done deal. The pay increase still needs to be voted on by the union, but really, that is just a formality, and the answer will be a resounding ‘yes.’  Workers will also get $1,000 bonuses that they were promised earlier in the year and retroactive pay of .50 cents per hour for all hours worked since September 2017.


So who gets this money… mostly food service, custodial, hotel, and park employees. This deal has been in the works for quite some time; however, the details still had to be ironed out. Some of the details included scheduling and paid time off which are rather important, as well. However, it seems that everything was figured out and Disney just got a little happier (if that was even possible).


Here’s why you shouldn’t wager on casino stocks

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More Americans will be betting… but that doesn’t mean that casino stocks will be on the winning end of such bets. MGM Resorts, Caesars Entertainment, and Wynn have all seen their share prices fall since sports gambling has been made possible nationwide. However, with Americans betting over $150 billion per year on sports, there is money to be had – right?


This probably isn’t where the money is… for casinos, at least. And sportsbooks are typically one of the least profitable operations for casinos. Many casinos rely on sports betting to reel in gamblers and get them to try their hand in blackjack or slots – the real money makers for the house. With that, you can see casinos weren’t cashing in on sports betting even where it was legal to do so.


There will be plenty of competition… because everyone wants in on legal sports betting. The new competition could even include Buffalo Wild Wings who is looking to work with an established sportsbook and enter the market. There will be international sportsbooks that want in on the US market. Who will come out on top? That remains to be seen, but just like gambling – there is no easy money to be had in the market.


You look like you could use a ‘Handy’

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It took a $900 phone bill for ‘Handy’ to be born. Although many of us have smartphones, using these devices overseas can cost an arm and a leg. However, Handy is out to change that. Handy is a cell phone used by guests traveling abroad that allows hotel guests to use 3G internet and make unlimited phone calls (and your limbs will remain intact).


Born in Hong Kong… this is where Handy began, and this is also one of the world’s top travel destinations. The device was initially available to rent at airports – now it is exclusively for hotel guests. Other features of the device include local travel guides, lighting and curtain control, and coupons. Sound helpful?


It proved helpful… because what was once a one-person show turned into 400 employees in 52 countries. The company is also looking to add more features to Handy, such as keyless room entry and express check-out. So maybe one man’s ridiculous $900 roaming charge is another man’s treasure? Something like that…


Instagram is going back to school

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In an attempt to… get more college students on the app, Instagram has created a new feature that will make it easier for classmates to connect with one another. The tool will enable students to join a virtual community where they can exchange direct messages.


Here’s how it works… to join, you must opt-in. From there, you can accept or reject messages from people that don’t follow you, or you can block people entirely. Coincidentally, IG came out with this feature days after Tinder announced Tinder U, a feature that allows users to filter for other college students. Both of these features can be used for romance, friends, or even finding a study buddy (just kidding, who is going to use it for that?).


All of this makes sense… because over half of Tinder users are between 18 and 24. Instagram also wants to attract younger users, so this will undoubtedly appeal to them. The new feature should be good news for Facebook (who owns IG) because it looks like Instagram will be able to continue to carry the team and FB certainly won’t do that…


‘Robo-dogs’ will take over the planet

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Brought to you by Sony… and Thursday the company announced that the popular robot dog Aibo will be coming back state-side in September for the first time in twelve years. As you can imagine, the new dog will be about a thousand times smarter than its older 2006 counterpart. The new features include facial recognition and the ability to develop a personality with the help of artificial intelligence (is that a good idea?).


And for a mere… $2,899 you can have your very own Aibo. So, it’s cool – but is it three-thousand dollars cool? That’s for you to decide if you are in the market for a companion robot. However, you better act fast because Aibo is only available for a limited time in the United States.


More importantly… the robo-dog demonstrates that Sony is capable of AI and robotics. That’s right – Sony goes far beyond televisions and speakers. Aibo is a reflection of the company’s broader investment in artificial intelligence and robotics. In the meantime, let’s all hope these things develop “nice” personalities and not vengeful ones.

Mid caps

Investors are unimpressed with The Gap

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The Gap Inc beat earnings… but investors still dropped the stock like a hot potato. I’ll bet you are wondering why, so let me explain – CEO Arthur Peck doesn’t know what he is doing. Well, it doesn’t appear that way, but what do I know. However, investors shared the same sentiment as shares of the retailer dropped 10% following the company’s earnings call.


Most companies are closing stores… but Gap Inc. is opening more than they are closing and their CEO is very keen on having plenty of stores. Peck said that “…most apparel is sold in stores and will continue to be sold in stores.” We are not so sure about that statement. At any rate, sales were up slightly this quarter; but the problem is, most retailers are doing much better than “slightly.”


Gap stores are the problem… because sales fell by 5% which was worse than the 1% decline last year. Old Navy and Banana Republic had increased sales which saved Gap Inc. from posting a loss on the quarter. The company plans to open 270 Old Navy and Athleta stores and close 200 Gap and Banana Republic stores over the next three years.

Blue Chip

Tesla says ‘nevermind’ about that going private thing

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Musk shocked investors again… after announcing that the “better path” for Tesla is to remain a public company. Musk came to find that taking a company private would be more work than originally thought. Oh, and the consensus from shareholders was ‘please don’t do this’ according to Musk himself.


Eh, they didn’t need the distraction… because Tesla is a company with enough of those. First, Tesla must focus on Model 3 production – they need to produce more of those. The ability to produce more of these cars is an important test- Also, the company is trying to become profitable (that’s why we’re in business, right?). And don’t forget that Musk has called this year “excruciating” in part due to 120 hour work weeks.


But it’s not over… not yet, at least. If you recall, Musk tweeted out that Tesla had funding secured to take the company private – he is still on the hook for that statement. Although he further explained his tweet, the SEC is still trying to determine if investors were misled. It looks like the Tesla CEO will be dealing with even more ‘bull-sh#t’ thanks to reckless tweeting.