Brought to you by Felix Gray… digital workplace protection.
For the first time in 13 years, LEGO has reported a decline in revenue and profit
Yesterday, the 85-year-old Danish toy manufacturer released their annual financial results for 2017… and the bricks didn’t exactly fall into place.
Last year, the company -- which sells 75B bricks annually -- saw their profit fall 17%, and revenue drop 8%, breaking their 13-year growth streak, over which revenue increased by an average of 15% annually.
The report comes on the heels of some big management changes, a decision to cut 1.4k employees (8% of their global workforce) back in September, and an overproduction issue that forced LEGO to sell off its bricks at a steep discount to make room in their warehouses.
Fail flashback: when LEGO almost lost it all
LEGO’s stumble marks the first time since 2003 that the company’s revenue and profits declined -- and that time, they nearly went bankrupt.
In the late ’90s, LEGO made an ill-advised decision to diversify away from colorful bricks, and into dolls, clothes, and books. The move resulted in the company’s first non-family member CEO, Jørgen Vig Knudstorp, taking the reins.
Knudstorp resurrected LEGO from “the brink of collapse” by cutting thousands of jobs, cutting the number of bricks produced in half, and bringing the focus back to the company’s old-school products.
How the current slump started
Between 2010 and 2015, LEGO’s profits doubled. The company opened a massive Chinese factory, and, at one point, had to scale back advertising because demand was too high.
Turns out, the growth was “supernatural”: the company grew too aggressively, and last year, when sales lagged in Europe and North America, they found themselves left with warehouses full of excess bricks, which in turn limited their ability to roll out new products.
Now, LEGO wants to go hard on the digital front
LEGO’s newest CEO, Niels B. Christiansen, plans to fix the dip by rolling out more digitally focused products in order to “stay relevant.”
They’ve had some success with digital forays before (2014’s “The Lego Movie” grossed $470m at the box office) -- but if history is any indication, the company would benefit from sticking to its core product: the good ‘ol fashioned, colored bricks of yesteryear.
Mobile usage is killing the internet cookie
Netscape programmer Lou Montulli created “cookies” back in ’94 as a way to track user selections in a virtual shopping cart. Since, cookies have evolved into a crucial system for advertisers to track users’ desktop browsing activity.
Now, the rise of mobile threatens to end cookies’ long reign over the internet: a recent marketing survey revealed that 60% of marketers predict they won’t rely on third-party tracking cookies in the next 2 years.
What’s wrong with cookies?
For one, cookies track browsers, not people. This worked back when we all logged into the family desktop to do our internetting, but these days, most people switch back and forth between multiple connected devices, making cookies less effective for tracking a user’s overall web activity.
Cookies also don’t work within mobile apps (which make up the majority of people’s usage on mobile). And recently, browsers like Safari have banned third-party cookies from their platforms altogether.
Advertisers have transitioned to “identity-based” tracking
Facebook, for example, lets users use their Facebook credentials to log onto other sites and apps, allowing them to track user mobile sessions across multiple platforms and serve up personalized ads accordingly.
An MIT study concluded that Uber drivers make less than $4 an hour… Uber calls BS
According to a new paper by MIT, the average Uber driver makes less than $4 an hour, with 74% of drivers earning less than minimum wage.
The paper used third-party survey data collected from 1.1k drivers, and was almost immediately disputed by Uber’s in-house economist Jonathan Hall, who accused the authors of a “major error” in their methodology.
Then Dara Khosrowshahi came in hot with a Twitter burn
The usually stoic Uber CEO also called out the institution, tweeting, “MIT= Mathematically Incompetent Theories...”
Hall argues that, due to unclear survey wording, respondents may have misreported how much time they spend working for ride-hailing services. A flaw he believes could skew the hourly rate MIT reported by nearly 60%.
And MIT is listening
Stephen Zoepf, the lead researcher on the project, has agreed to “revisit” the study based on Uber’s discrepancies, but asked something of the ride-hailing service in return:
“Help make an open, honest, and public assessment of the range of ride-hailing driver profit after the cost of acquiring, operating and maintaining a vehicle.”
“Transparently present the difference between actual and tax-reportable vehicle expenses used in the business.”
An Australian man who claims to have invented bitcoin just got sued for $10B
Craig Wright, the self-proclaimed inventor of bitcoin, is being sued for more than $10B by the family of his ex-bitcoin mining business partner, Dave Kleiman.
The lawsuit alleges that Wright “perpetrated a scheme” to seize between 300k and 1.1m remaining coins from Kleiman, who died in 2013.
According to the lawsuit, it’s “undeniable” that Wright was involved in bitcoin since the beginning. But it remains unclear whether Wright created bitcoin -- a claim that, if true, confirms the identity of the ever-elusive Satoshi Nakamoto.
“Einhorn is Finkle, Finkle is Einhorn!”
One of the biggest mysteries in the tech world is the identity of the shadowy programmer who invented bitcoin -- a faceless figure who goes by the moniker Satoshi Nakamoto (we just like saying it).
In 2008, Nakamoto posted a white paper mentioning the currency for the first time, calling it a “peer-to-peer electronic cash system.”
Cut to today, and experts believe the mythical character, who reportedly owns 5% of all bitcoin, is now worth over $5B.
So, who is Satoshi Nakamoto?
In 2015, Australian tax authorities investigated Wright’s involvement with the currency, causing many to speculate that Wright was the rightful creator of bitcoin. Wright eventually “confirmed” the claim himself.
But experts didn’t buy his “technical proof” and deemed his claims a “scam.” The Australian computer scientist then retreated, stating he didn’t “have the courage” to continue his claims.
We still don’t know who Nakamoto is, but we have a pretty good feeling it isn’t Craig Wright… or do we?... Yeah, we do.
1. An authoritative voice in a field of expertise. 2. The loudest voice in a field of expertise. 3. When you don’t have credentials but you do have opinions.
Joe: I’m a thought leader in the blockchain space.
Rick: Oh really? What are your credentials?
Joe: I post about blockchain 5 times a day on Facebook.
deals deals deals
“Hear that? That’s the sound of you saving fistfuls of cash today. This week, I’m dealing cases of fine flavored water, deeply discounted artisanal hot sauce, and adult jumpsuits. Warm those mouse clicks, cause these deals won’t last long.”
Besides back pain, desk worms like us have one more thing to worry about: too much screen time.
Every digital screen we use emit tons of blue light and glare, and -- you guessed it -- it’s bad for you, and zaps your productivity.
Blue light sits on the highest end of the energy spectrum behind ultraviolet light (AKA sunburn sauce). It’s the reason your eyes feel dry, blurry, and fatigued at the end of your daily digital bender.
Today, protecting your eyes is now a matter of workplace safety.
Unlike the yellow-tinted face monsters or “glasses” with ineffective coatings that block blue light, Felix Gray’s proprietary lenses use a synthesized, naturally occurring pigment to filter out the harshest wavelengths that fry your eyes.
So, you get crystal clear clarity and blue light protection without compromise.
Plus, Felix Gray glasses are classy AF -- all frames are handcrafted from Italian Mazzucchelli acetate.