Today, tech companies are doubling down on skin, and CBD for dogs is in it to win, but first…
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Volkswagen discontinued its most famous car (again), but that doesn’t mean it’s dead
Back in July, Volkswagen officially discontinued its iconic Beetle from production, marking the 2nd time in its 74(ish)-year history the beloved vehicle has been pulled from the assembly line.
But is the 3rd most popular passenger car in history really gone for good? If history tells us anything… no friggin’ way.
The Beetle originated in Nazi Germany back in the ’30s…
But consumers owe the postwar existence of the Volkswagen (people’s car) to the British army, after the military removed a dud explosive (dropped by the US) from one of Germany’s car factories.
Had the bomb exploded, the Beetle may never have existed. But the officer tasked with overseeing the cleanup persuaded the British military to order 20k of the cars. By 1946, the refurbished factory was pumping out 1k a month.
By 1954, Volkswagen had produced over 1m Type 1’s (the OG) and became the top-selling foreign car in the US market. Its bubbly shaped quirk became a symbol of “free love” in the ’60s, and people began referring to it as the Volkswagen “Beetle.”
Yet, by the mid-’70s, the Type 1 saw a decline in sales and experienced its first discontinuation in most markets. But it would only last for a few decades.
The cockroach of the car industry
In 1994, Volkswagen unveiled a “retro”-themed concept car at a North American car show that resembled the original Beetle. And, by 1998, a production version marketed as “The New Beetle” was issued to much fanfare. Over its 21-year resurrection, more than 17m units were produced.
Volkswagen has made 3 versions of the flagship “slug bug,” (selling more than 22.5m in total): the Type 1, the New Beetle, and the A5, which began production in 2011.
Now, it’s gone again as Volkswagen customers shift their wallets toward EVs, SUVs, and crossovers. But, have the people really slugged their last “punch buggy”?
When asked in 2018 whether the Beetle would ever make its way back into production, Volkswagen Group of America President and CEO Hinrich Woebcken said, “There are no immediate plans to replace it. But . . . I would also say, ‘Never say never.’”
Tech companies are betting that skin is the next frontier in the checkout aisle
Amazon is testing out a system — code-named “Orville” — that allows customers to scan their hands to pay for their purchases, the New York Post reports.
Orville, which Amazon hopes to roll out at Whole Foods in the next several months, is a way for e-Goliath to speed up checkout at its stores.
So, how does it work?
The system scans hands using computer vision and depth geometry to make a distinct profile of each customer’s hand — like a fingerprint, but touch-free.
Then ol’ Orville charges the credit card on file that’s associated with that hand’s Prime membership-holding owner. Amazon employees are testing the system in the company’s New York offices by hand-buying snacks from vending machines.
Right now, Orville is accurate at identifying hands to within 1/10,000 of 1% (Amazon plans to improve accuracy to within 1/1,000,000 of 1% before public launch).
But if you think Big Bad Bezos is the only one testing out skin-tech, then may you be haunted by the ghost of Steve Jobs…
Cuz you better believe Apple’s also got skin in the game
This week, Apple patented a Watch band that IDs people using their wrist skin.
Apple likely doesn’t have definite plans for its skin-ID strap yet. But, like Amazon, Apple wants to make authentication frictionless — smooth, like a baby’s bottom — so it can process payments that much faster.
Credit card transactions typically take 3 to 4 seconds. Amazon’s new Orville system, on the other hand, can process a payment in 300 milliseconds — 10x faster.
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An NBA investment fund could make hoop dreams come true
The NBA is considering the creation of an investment fund to buy minority ownership interests across multiple NBA teams, which could stabilize team market values.
How does this work?
NBA franchise valuations are skyrocketing: The Brooklyn Nets just sold for a record $2.3B. That may sound like a good thing, but crazy-high valuations pose challenges for owners who want to get out of the game.
It’s not uncommon for an owner to put a holding for sale and then yank it back when they can’t get the terms they’re looking for… kind of like your uncle and that house in Boca Raton.
An investment fund made of small equity stakes in a team portfolio opens the playing field — er, court — to more investors. Instead of plunking down $2B for a team, an investor might pay $100m for a 5% interest.
So, are the Raptors available for pre-order?
The NBA hasn’t outlined terms yet, but there should be plennnnnty to discuss at the Sept. 20 owners meeting in New York.
Like: Would anyone be interested in selling into a portfolio like this? And: Would they be OK with others selling into a portfolio like this?
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As the CBD boom continues, pets are enjoying pot, too
The newest indicator that pets have essentially become furry humans? Pet owners are starting to give dogs and cats CBD in the form of oils and chews.
In 2018, pet CBD sales totaled about $20m of the overall $600m pet supplements market. In the next several years, these CBD sales are expected to grow ~50% annually.
Pet owners hope CBD can prolong life
Nobody wants to see a pet die, and people believe supplements will help them live longer. At the very least, CBD soothes joint pain and treats anxiety as they get older and more vulnerable.
And though about 50% of dogs are under age 4 now, that means a silver pet tsunami is coming in the future.
“I’ve had dogs my whole life and the hardest part is losing them,” says Darcy Bomford, founder of the pet CBD company True Leaf. “And you’ll do absolutely what it takes to make it better for them at the end.”
CBD may jump from a supplement to a food ingredient
For now, CBD is available only as a supplement. Bomford believes that in the future restrictions will ease, and the ingredient will be allowed in pet food and pet treats.
That’s right: Before you know it, Sparky will be wolfing down CBD for breakfast.
Want to know more about doggie CBD?
The previous story was adapted from a Trends report by The Hustle. Check out the full story here.
Radius Bank has pulled off one of the greatest feats in modern banking history
When it comes to banking, there are two kinds of people: those who like rewards for smart spending, and those who like perks for diligent saving.
And no bank in the history of banking has been able to convince either of them to change their minds.
Yep, you heard it here first — Radius Bank has pulled off one of the greatest feats in modern banking history: They’ve created a checking account that suits both spenders and savers.
Can we get a cha-ching?
By combining their two best checking accounts, Radius Bank has made a new one that’s greater than the sum of its parts: Rewards Checking.
With Rewards Checking, you get…
- Unlimited 1% cashback on debit card purchases for spenders
- Up to a 1.20% APY for savers
- Free ATMs, early direct deposit, and no fees for both
The Wrap-up: Scoring credit card rewards without the credit card debt? Yeah, it pays to be a Radius Rewards Checking member.
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