There’s lots to talk about in the news this week, most importantly, in the world of beefs.
So fire up that grill, plug your pet cow’s ears, and get ready to read about this week’s top beefs.
Diners are beefin’ with Chipotle cuz of their bad… beef
Chipotle has had a rough couple years — dealing with multiple foodborne illness outbreaks that have left former fans at odds with the fast casual chain (and their stomachs). As a result, the company’s market cap has plummeted from $22B in 2015 to just $7B today.
Now, in hopes of beefing up sales (sorry), ‘Potle’s hiring ex-Taco Bell CEO Brian Niccol to run the show (for perspective, Niccol brought us Doritos Locos Tacos).
Since the announcement their stock has shot up 13%, which is definitely a start.
Beef’s beefin’ with fake beef
The US Cattlemen’s Association (USCA) has filed a meaty (not sorry) 15-page petition with the US Department of Agriculture, requesting that they create a “formal definition” to differentiate 100% Grade A meat from cell-cultured “clean meat.”
The conventional beef industry is starting to feel the heat of synthetic meat making its way into restaurants and meat aisles, and it looks like the nation’s ranchers are readying themselves to pick a fight with the clean contender.
Exxon’s beefin’ with… everyone?
Over the past few years, Exxon has been hit by a number of lawsuits from cities, nonprofits, and ironically, ex-investors (like the Rockefellers), alleging the company knowingly misled shareholders and the public about the risks posed by climate change.
But now, Exxon’s turning the tables, crying conspiracy and countersuing those who have “betrayed” them, positioning themselves as the victim of a “targeted [attempt] to cleanse the public square of alternative viewpoints.”
Cry us an oil slick, Exxon…
An Indian bank just lost $1.8B in fraud at a single branch
Yesterday, one of India’s biggest state-controlled lenders, Punjab National Bank (PNB), announced that it had uncovered $1.77B worth of fraudulent transactions at one of its Mumbai branches.
As Quartz reports, that’s 1/3rd of the bank’s entire market value — and 50x its net profit from last quarter.
How the $%#* is that even possible?
Unfortunately, good ‘ol Punjab has remained relatively mum on what caused this, but the problem has likely been ongoing for 7 years.
The bank only offered that it “detected some fraudulent and unauthorized transactions,” which caused other banks to advance money to customers abroad. Thanks, fellas — that clears it up…
With 1m people entering India’s labor force each month, this fraud could severely impact the flow of small business loans given out by the bank, and some analysts predict it could cause a “ripple effect” on other Indian banks.
India’s got a huuuuge problem with bad loans
A $150B problem, to be exact.
Back in October 2017, India’s government attempted to mitigate this by giving the banking sector $32B in capital. But the move was kinda like putting a Barbie Band-Aid on a stab wound.
“Trying to do things on the cheap was always doomed for failure,” one economist told the NYT. “They have to bite the bullet… and actually fix banks’ governance.”
South Koreans are making bank by renting their homes during the Olympics
According to Airbnb, South Korean residents in the country’s Gangwon province are on pace to make more than $2m renting out their homes to Winter Olympics visitors in Pyeongchang.
About 4k Airbnb locations are listed in the province, with more than 9k travelers using their services in Gangwon.
Hotels are blowing it
Accommodations become a hot commodity during major events that take place in a city, generally forcing travelers to be at the mercy of hotels and their special-occasion tax (translation: outrageous prices).
While the South Korean government put mandates in place to keep hotels from price-gouging, their rates are still exceedingly more expensive than the average Airbnb booking, at about $170 a night (up to $400+).
According to the home-sharing firm, Airbnb hosts are making an average of about $260 in supplemental income.
Big events are a host’s bread and butter
Special events have made millions of dollars for Airbnb hosts over the last few years.
During the Super Bowl, hosts in Minneapolis and Saint Paul earned close to $3.7m from 7k visitors, while hosts in D.C. during Trump’s inauguration last year made $6m.
But the big winners live in Brazil: hosts in Rio de Janeiro collectively made more than $25m in extra income during the 2016 Summer Olympics.
While correlation doesn’t equal causation, anecdotally, we’ve heard corroborating stories — our CEO Sam called an Uber when his appendix burst at the grocery store and was at the hospital in 10 minutes flat.
And it raises an interesting point: when should you call an ambulance, and when is it just better to call an Uber?
When you’re not bleeding out and don’t have $5k to burn
Plenty of people call ambulances for non-emergencies — which not only takes up resources that would otherwise go to real emergencies, but costs the recipient a pretty penny (ambulance rides can cost anywhere from $450 to $5,000).
Although Uber and Lyft discourage riders from calling cars for emergencies, according to Slate, most medical professionals interviewed agree it’s fine to go the rideshare route, provided you’re not having:
Suspected internal bleeding
Signs of stroke (numbness, weakness, or speech problems)
Depending on where you are, an Uber may be faster
Data from more than 1.75m EMT calls in 2015 shows that it takes an ambulance about 7 minutes to arrive at the scene in a urban or suburban area — but ambulances can speed through traffic and EMTs can provide medical care on the way.
At the end of the day it’s on you to make the call… probably depending on your traffic and rate of blood loss.
CHEW: NeuroGum, an alternative to coffee jitters, $18.53 per 6-pack
These guys sent us some of their gum a couple of weeks ago and it’s been fueling the SF writing team ever since. Each piece has 40 mg of caffeine, plus other energy-related stuff like B-vitamins. Particularly great for when your co-worker kills the joe — and doesn’t make mo’.
Fear ain’t nothing but a four-letter word. At least that’s the way it will feel after you sit down tonight and try Tim Ferriss’ fearsetting exercise. His popular TED talk gives you a step-by-step process for getting out of your own way and getting started on going for your next goal, idea, or business.
This book will blow every other awful travel guide you own out of the water. So ditch tourist travel and learn some valuable lessons from Rolf Potts. Bonus points if you listen to the audiobook version narrated by him for maximum cool-grandpa-spitting-wisdom effect.
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