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💰 Is Oracle back?

The Hustle

Need some small talk material today? In February, more people Googled “how to buy bitcoin” than “how to buy stocks.” And in 2021, people searched “how to start a business” more than they searched “how to get a job.”

(P.S. We’ve got another cartoon for you down below.)

Today’s rundown:

  • Oracle is back: …and betting big ($28B) on health care.
  • Poinsettias: The $1B flower that took over Christmas.
  • Collectible cups: How Starbucks holiday cups became a gold mine for resellers.
  • Around the web: Ice cream in a bag, a historical timeline of food, and more wild internet finds.

Let’s do it.

The big idea
Oracle

Is Oracle back? A $28B health care acquisition is a bullish sign

Oracle was founded in 1977 as a (yawn) database solutions vendor.

Today, it has a market cap of $244B but has fallen far behind 2 other tech firms also launched in the mid-1970s (i.e., Apple @ $2.8T, Microsoft @ $2.5T).

One big reason: It missed the cloud computing revolution, which Larry Ellison — founder, CTO, and chairman of Oracle — called a fashion trend and “complete gibberish” in 2008.

Turns out, Ellison was very wrong

Revenue for global cloud computing infrastructure is projected at ~$150B for 2021. And Oracle only has a sliver of the pie, per Statista:

  • Amazon Web Services: 32% global market share
  • Microsoft Azure: 20%
  • Google Cloud: 9%
  • Oracle: 2% (womp, womp, womp)

However, the company is moving in the right direction. Its latest quarterly earnings showed the cloud division grew +22% YoY (with an $11B+ run rate).

Can a big acquisition change its fortunes?

Oracle announced a $28B+ deal for electronic medical records firm Cerner. Per The Wall Street Journal, Ellison wants to buy his way into health care.

The plan makes sense: health care accounts for ~20% of US GDP, and software for medical records is a $29B+ industry that has mostly not migrated to the cloud.

Oracle calls Cerner the “anchor asset” of this ambition. (It’ll also be a blow to Amazon, which is currently Cerner’s largest cloud provider.)

The all-cash deal…

… will be Oracle’s biggest deal ever but still needs approval. Notably, UK’s antitrust regulators are reviewing Microsoft’s recent $16B acquisition of Nuance Communications, a speech recognition firm popular in health care.

Winning Cerner may put Oracle’s failed TikTok acquisition in the past (we still can’t believe this was a thing) and help it gain ground in the cloud race.

Ellison — the world’s 5th richest person ($120B+) — probably likes the sound of that fashion trend.

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SNIPPETS

Missed opportunity: Retailers are on track to lose $828m this holiday season due to websites that are inaccessible to people with disabilities. #ecommerce-retail

Idaho’s unicorn: Tackle.io, a startup that helps software companies sell on cloud marketplaces, raised $100m at a $1.25B valuation. #emerging-tech

Pwned passwords: The UK National Crime Agency (NCA) shared 585m+ passwords with Have I Been Pwned, a service that indexes data from security breaches. #privacy

Twitter fingers: Jack Dorsey caused a ruckus on Twitter by claiming that Web3 is controlled by venture capitalists. #fintech-crypto

Party pooper: Airbnb announced it would ban 1-night bookings on New Year’s Eve from guests who do not have a history of positive reviews. #big-tech

MFM: Hasan Minhaj shares his 3-hour warmup routine before a big show. #mfm

Twitter thread: Trung Phan breaks down why Rolls-Royce vehicles are so expensive. #hustle-picks

Chart
poinsettia chart

How the poinsettia took over Christmas

The poinsettia plant is one of the most popular plants in the world, with annual sales of ~90m units and a global retail impact of nearly $1B.

Every year, just after Thanksgiving, it emerges en masse at nurseries, big-box retailers, fundraisers, and holiday parties.

But behind the beautiful, blood-red bracts of the poinsettia, there’s a story rife with international politics, spoiled trade secrets, and a toppled monopoly.

How did this Mexican shrub become America’s best-selling holiday plant?

To find out, The Hustle talked to poinsettia growers, breeders, salespeople, and historians.

Read the full story →
Cup Chaos
Starbucks cup

Reusable Starbucks cups are lining resellers’ pockets

Sports cards, sneakers, and… Starbucks cups?

Resellers are apparently making bank off devoted Starbucks collectors. For example:

  • In 2020, 2 resellers claimed they made $5k in profit selling Starbucks holiday cups and accessories via Facebook Marketplace.
  • A TikTok reseller said his wife sold a tumbler she bought for $20 for $165.
  • In 2019, resellers snapped up Halloween cups and listed them for $100-$500.

Meanwhile, numerous Facebook Groups are dedicated to cup hunting, including this 13.7k-member public group that advertises itself as no-rules “cup chaos.”

Collectors happily show off their Starbucks hauls and massive cup stashes.

But, why?

Poshmark CEO Manish Chandra suggested “pandemic-triggered nostalgia.” He told CNN Business that Starbucks merchandise saw a 100%+ uptick in sales on the platform in 2020.

But cup collecting predates the pandemic. Thrifter Cary Williams told In The Know he thinks the coffee chain just has a passionate fanbase…

… Which can be a problem for baristas

While Grinch bots steal Christmas by gaming online retailers, Starbucks merch is only available in-store, which has led to some pretty wacky behavior.

  • A former barista posted to TikTok that resellers rummage through store cabinets and even fight with employees and other resellers.
  • Fights have allegedly broken out at Disney parks (the happiest places on Earth!) over exclusive Disney-themed Starbucks cups.
  • Some stores have implemented sales limits on cups to stave off resellers and save some for collectors or, you know, people who actually drink coffee out of them.

BTW: If this has you curious, here’s a comprehensive site entirely devoted to Starbucks mugs.

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Podcast

Crypto games and breaking down Disney

We wish we could tell you Shaan made it onto the “DILFs of Disneyland” Instagram. No further comment.

He and Sam dissect interesting moneymakers including crypto gaming, Disney everything, Silicon Valley swingers, and more.

Watch My First Million highlights:

The CNN-WWE comparison: A discussion about facts.

Where dreams come true →
AROUND THE WEB

🎄On this day: In 1882, Thomas Edison created the first string of Christmas tree lights.

🎷 That’s cool: The New Orleans Jazz Museum and the Rebel Babel Ensemble remixed the music of Polish composers from 1918-1939, then each musician performed it from their hometown. The result is this video.

🍨 How to: Did you know you can make ice cream in a bag? Apparently, it involves 10-12 minutes of shaking and a little rock salt.

😆 Haha: Notchmeister is an app for the new MacBook Pro. Install it to add festive lights and other effects to the controversial notch at the top of the screen.

📖 Useful: LibraryThing is a community for book lovers. Catalog your books, find new ones, and connect and trade with people who have similar interests.

🍩 That’s interesting: The Food Timeline shows when various foods were found, cultivated, or invented. For example, breakfast cereal has been around since 1863, while lava cake appeared in 1991.

cartoon of the day
genie cartoon

Credit: Zachary Crockett & Jacob Cohen

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Psst

How'd Bezos build a billion dollar empire?

In 1994, Jeff Bezos discovered a shocking stat: Internet usage grew 2,300% per year.

Data shows where markets are headed.

And that’s why we built Trends — to show you up-and-coming market opportunities about to explode. Interested?

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