🤔 We've got 2 paths

Tuesday, March 24, 2020 by Robinhood Snacks | Disclosures

"Well... both these paths look pretty terrifying."

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Hey Snackers,

The toilet paper hoarding crisis hit a new low — One California hero has been standing on a street corner giving away TP to those in need. Call him Angel Soft.

Investors were disappointed after the Senate (again) failed to pass a coronavirus stimulus bill (expected to be worth $1.8T). The Dow fell nearly 600 points, on track for its worst month since 1931.

1. 2 hard choices on the coronavirus path — Trump signals shift to Path B

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood... and both are less travelled by. Robert Frost had an easier choice. When the "15 Days to Slow the Spread" end on March 31, the White House will face 2 options for what to recommend next in response to the Coronavirus:

  • A) Aggressive distancing: Order everyone to stay at home, keep almost all businesses closed indefinitely, and have those who can WFH do it. Great way to contain the disease, but with devastating economic consequences: Potentially 30% unemployment and Goldman Sachs thinks 2.25M became unemployed just last week.
  • B) Targeted/Partial distancing: Relax CDC guidelines to gradually let biz reopen and the young/healthy return to work. Only keep the most vulnerable — the elderly and those with pre-existing conditions — at home. This could limit the economic damage, but with potentially devastating health consequences: If miscalculated, this could increase the death toll to millions.

We've never been faced with a decision like this.... Both President Trump and Treasury Secretary Mnuchin have signaled a shift in which path to choose, only days after promoting the 15-day distancing plan. Trump tweeted Monday "we cannot let the cure be worse than the problem itself." He doesn't want to save everyone if it means utter destruction of the economy.


This choice is painful — and economists love that... It isn't strictly between economic damage or health damage, because the 2 overlap in some scenearios: Inability to support families could increase suicide rates, a leading cause of death in the US — but relaxing social distancing guidelines might overwhelm the healthcare system, leading to more deaths and economic damage in the long run.


That New Yorker subscription you pay for... but only read the cartoons? There's a fix. The New York Times just acquired Audm, a subscription app that turns longform articles into audio. For $8.99/month, Audm gives subscribers audio versions of way-too-long articles, so you can feel enlightened while cleaning out the closet.

  • Out of all the services that turn articles/stories into audio, Audm caught the NYT's eye because of the Hollywood-ish flare it adds: in the past it crowdsourced narration with plain old voices. But after growing tired of dogs barking in the background, it landed on...
  • Using pro voice actors to narrate articles — these literary "celebs" make listening to a 6-million word article more enticing. Audm works with outlets like The Atlantic and Vanity Fair to voice-ify their writing.

Double-down on the "pod boom"... The NYT learned, maybe from its own article on the topic, that podcast growth in the US is popping. In November 2019, a whopping 62M Americans listened to pods each week, up from 19M in 2013. The Times' The Daily pod is already the top daily pod on Spotify, but it wants an even bigger share of America's ears — so it's audio-fying its articles.


This 1 acquisition basically doubles the Times' content... The NYT already has the raw news content — that's the most time/research-intensive part of journalism. But now for each 12-page article it churns out, it can expand reach (and earn more money) by converting it to another medium (audio). Since media is a combo of "Content" + "Distribution," the more distribution channels a quality publisher has, the greater their reach.

What else we’re Snackin’
  • Yoda'd: Hasbro shares jump 12% on word of 'great demand' for toys as China's supply chain roars back to life
  • Deliver: Lyft will expand its services to offer medical supplies and essential meal deliveries to people in need
  • Hire: CVS is hiring for 50K jobs to meet all the demand for its OTC and prescription drug deliveries
  • Shut: Boeing plans a 2-week shutdown of its Seattle-area factories because Washington state (where most its production happens) is in a state of emergency
Snacks Daily Podcast

The only story you’ll hear all week about Corona that has nothing to do with the virus: we’re talking beer legend Constellation Brands.

The owner of Corona beer was building a $1.4B brewery in Mexico. Now, it’s been cancelled — after the brewer already poured $900M into its development.

Political risk isn’t easy to plan for (neither is almost $1B down the drain). Tune into our 15-minute pod to learn more.


Disclosure: Authors of this Snacks own shares of Carnival

ID: 1128334

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