The government wants to keep razor competition sharp. The Federal Trade Commission said yesterday that it’s suing to block Edgewell, which owns Schick, from buying D2C razor upstart Harry’s for $1.37B. The FTC says the sale would dull innovation, but the companies say it would give consumers an edge. Today:
- Fast-fashion buyers are kings of the mall
- MSCHF’s stunts are confusing us all
- Airbnb’s scammers are hoping you’ll call
Mall owners want to buy a mall staple: Forever 21
The mall magnates Simon Property Group and Brookfield Property Partners are part of a group that wants to buy the fast-fashion trailblazer Forever 21.
The $81m price tag would be a downright steal for a company whose annual revenues once exceeded $4B.
If it sounds like a fire sale, Fast Company explains why it makes sense: The landlords are trying to keep their tenant from leaving town.
That’s because malls are already ghost towns…
… and Forever 21’s exit would probably make things worse. The company filed for bankruptcy protection in September, announcing a plan to close hundreds of stores.
At the time, experts said the move was a sign that fast fashion was going out of style:
- Those dirt-cheap duds are terrible on the environment, and younger buyers are getting thrifty.
- Worker safety is a big concern. In 2013, more than 1k people died in a garment-factory collapse in Bangladesh.
So was the fast-fashion frenzy just a fad in a cheap suit?
- 58% of fashion honchos said they expected the forecast for value-oriented outfits (that’s you, Forever 21) to get worse.
- Consumers are only going to demand more sustainable choices, but the industry has a lot of catching up to do. Just one example: Fashion accounts for 20-35% of microplastic flows into the ocean.
But experts say there’s still a gap between what consumers say they want (greener jeans) and what they actually buy (cut-rate clothes).
This sale isn’t final — yet
Forever 21 wants the mall owners’ group to be the lead bidders in a bankruptcy auction. Rival bidders have until Friday to make a counteroffer.
👟Private equity and the demise of Payless.
🏦 Are Goldman Sachs and Amazon getting into the banking business?
🥜 Twitter — 1, Baby Nut meme accounts — 0.
⛸ The rink of the future means ice skating without the ice.
📱 An artist used a wagon full of phones to fool Google Maps.
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Research suggests CEOs are most successful when they lead for 11+ years
Last year, WeWork co-founder Adam Neumann was booted from his role as CEO after serving as the company’s chief executive for 9 years.
And just 2 months ago co-founder of Away luggage Steph Korey stepped down from her job as CEO — only to return to the post several weeks later.
Both controversial case raised a question:
How long should CEOs stay in charge?
Eleven to 15 years (at least according to new research from Spencer Stuart, a search firm for executives).
According to the research, CEOs enter their golden years once they’ve accrued deep institutional knowledge and dealt with several sh*t storms — and that usually takes at least 11 years.
And CEOs are staying in charge longer
CEOs in the S&P 500 stayed at the helm for an average of 7.2 years in 2009. In 2018, they hung on to power for an average of 10.2 years.
And it’s also becoming more common for founders to give themselves special voting powers or stock majorities in order to stay in power (no, we’re not just talking about Zuckerberg — execs at Snap and Lyft also have supervoting supercontrol).
Still, all of this doesn’t mean super-CEOs can’t screw up: WeWork’s Neumann and Uber’s Travis Kalanick both got the boot despite owning supervoting shares.
Snag a $50 Amazon gift card when you attend a Lola.com demo
That’s right, Lola.com is offering you straight cash (okay, a gift card) in exchange for attending a demo of their travel software.
Why? Simple — they think once you see it, you’ll believe it.
And, having ugly-cried in the office bathroom trying to book work trips before, we’re inclined to agree.
Scouring search engines, coordinating hotel and flight bundles, double-checking dates and times all adds up to one seriously complicated process, but Lola.com is about to put those days of sobbing in the 4th floor restroom behind you.
Forecast, budget, and reduce travel spend like only a pro can
Created by the same folks that brought you KAYAK, Lola.com corporate travel software is built with one thing in mind: Making your life easier.
What makes it so simple? Well… everything.
See, Lola.com keeps all your info in one place. You can book flights and hotels, handle expense reports, and manage itineraries, all from within their intuitive interface.
Plus, Lola.com’s 24/7 travel support team makes sure that when the slightest of inconveniences arise (“There was no chocolate on my hotel pillow!”), someone will be available to help you sort it out.
Enough talk — go snag your $50 gift card and get that new ergonomic travel pillow you’ve been eyeing.
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What in the name of sweet Jesus shoes is MSCHF?
MSCHF, a group of 10 offbeat creatives based in a small office in Brooklyn, is responsible for creating:
- Jesus shoes (customized $1,425 Nike sneakers whose soles are filled with holy water from the River Jordan)
- Puff the Squeaky Chicken (a bong shaped like a chicken that squeaks when smoked)
- Bull & Moon (an app that picks stocks based on astrological signs)
Some of the group’s self-proclaimed “drops” are simply socially shareable stunts. But others feature physical products (like Jesus shoes) that actually make money.
So… who the hell are these people?
Don’t call them a startup
Why? Well, for starters, they don’t really want to make money.
Gabriel Whaley, the 30-year-old founder of the group, explained to The New York Times that making money is “not why we’re here.”
And they don’t really want to take on clients either: The group once ran an advertising agency that worked for clients like Casper, but shut it down to focus on social commentary, which Whaley says is “the point.”
But advertisers want to invest in ‘structured chaos’ anyway
Despite MSCHF’s lack of interest in making money, the group still managed to raise $11.5m from outside investors. Why?
“I don’t see anybody doing exactly what MSCHF is doing,” technology consultant Frank Denbow explained to the Times. “Everybody is able to get a one-off campaign that works, but to consistently find ways to create content that really sticks with people is different.”
So, you think you can pitch? Then prove it with Pitch Deck. Bonus points if you record and send us your best (or worst?!) effort.
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Five flavors of common Airbnb scams
Phantom “plumbing issues,” phantom damages, phantom hosts — travelers can fall into all sorts of sketchy situations on Airbnb. Last fall, Vice exposed the seedy side of the short-term rental platform.
Sometimes, the getaway doesn’t feel like a vacation
They asked readers to send in their worst tales of Airbnb stays gone awry. Hundreds of people responded. Their complaints fall into a few big categories:
- The bait and switch: Those “plumbing issues” usually mean you’ll be offered another place to stay — but the digs are always divier.
- The 3rd-party payment racket: Some hosts asked guests to pay outside of the app. Pro tip: If your host asks you to pay in Bitcoin, run.
- The damages deception: Including the host who tried to charge a guest $2k to clean up a coffee stain on the carpet.
- The 5-star shakedown: Some travelers said their hosts strong-armed them into leaving good reviews.
- Guests can suck, too: Airbnb angst is a 2-way street. Some hosts said it’s notoriously hard to get the company to reimburse them when the guest breaks the shower-curtain rod.
They’re trying to stop the swindlers
After the investigation was published, the company made a pledge to verify all listings on its platform by the end of this year.
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