WeWork hit by rise in unpaid rent

Financial Times (04/07/2020)
  • Since the coronavirus outbreak, thousands of WeWork co-working space tenants have refused to pay rent or terminated leases.
  • WeWork office space occupancy has declined from 79% (September 2019) to 64%.
  • In order to continue collecting rent, it has kept most of its 739 worldwide offices open unless ordered to shutdown or if member contracts coronavirus.
  • To retain its 662,000 members, WeWork has even offered some clients rent holidays.
  • The downturn has been exacerbated by WeWork’s massive expansion efforts last year.

With Virus Surge, Dermatologists and Orthopedists Are Drafted for the E.R.

The New York Times (04/03/2020)
  • Desperate for more staff, hospitals across New York are demanding that specialists help treat coronavirus patients.
  • Surgeons, cardiologists and other specialists are being redeployed or told to stay home with no pay if they don’t comply.
  • While most have complied, some fear infecting their families and cite “zero critical care experience” limiting their ability to help.
  • Hospitals have cancelled all elective surgeries and converted conference rooms, lobbies and cafeterias into ICUs.
  • Some hospitals have even resorted to posting social media ads to increase staff.

Young Adults, Burdened With Debt, Are Now Facing an Economic Crisis

The New York Times (04/06/2020)
  • While America’s young adults are unlikely to get sick, they’ll be the hardest hit from coronavirus’ economic impact.
  • Before the epidemic, 23-35 year old Americans were already burdened with credit card and student debt and owned little in assets (stocks, real estate) to serve as a financial cushion.
  • The coronavirus has completely shut-down part-time and gig work that young adults were heavily reliant upon.
  • Article profiles young adults suddenly struggling for necessities.
  • The downturn may be short, but the economic damage could be long-lasting.

The economics of all-you-can-eat buffets

The Hustle (01/25/2020)
  • An analysis of 30 buffets across the US found that they consistently offer cheaper, filling food (eg potatoes) with larger spoons at the front and use smaller plates and tongs to limit portions.
  • Buffets also use bulk-buying power to secure large discounts on ingredients and purchase nearly-expired scraps from other restaurants.
  • Over-eaters (customers who generate losses for buffets) only represent 5% of diners.
  • Buffets also maintain their small profit margins (about 5%) by saving on labor costs (less waiters, chefs needed to operate).

Texas ‘mom and pop’ business flooded with orders for helmet ventilators amid coronavirus crisis

NBC News (03/31/2020)
  • Texas-based Sea-Long Medical Systems has gone from a few dozen weekly orders to thousands of daily orders for its $162 helmet-style ventilation devices.
  • The Sea-Long helmet was originally designed to supply oxygen to hyperbaric treatment patients.
  • The helmet is effective as an early intervention for COVID-19 patients, reducing the need for limited and costly traditional ventilators.
  • Despite volunteers helping with production, Sea-Long’s biggest hurdle remains meeting outsized demand.
  • Using recently purchased machines, the goal is to produce 50,000 helmets per week.

Born in 1908, this British pensioner is officially the world’s oldest man

CNN (03/31/2020)
  • Robert Weighton (March 29, 1908) has been crowned the world’s oldest man (112) by Guinness.
  • Born in Yorkshire, Weighton was one of seven children and undertook a marine engineering apprenticeship at 16.
  • After working as a missionary school teacher (Taiwan), he got married in 1937 and relocated back to the UK.
  • During WWII, he moved to the US and worked in a plane factory to support the UK’s war efforts.
  • Weighton later went on to teach at London’s City University.
  • Weighton described himself as “an ordinary bloke who just happened to live for a long time”.

The little-known deal that saved Amazon from the dot-com crash

Vox (04/05/2017)
  • In 2000, Amazon hired Warren Jenson, a fiscally conservative executive from Delta Airlines, as its Chief Financial Officer (CFO).
  • Jenson decided that Amazon needed a “stronger cash position” in case suppliers got nervous and asked to be paid more quickly.
  • In February (2000), Amazon raised $672 million selling convertible bonds to European investors.
  • Market volatility forced Amazon to offer a generous interest rate (6.9%).
  • Less than a month later, the dot-com bubble burst.
  • “Without that cushion, Amazon would have certainly face the prospect of insolvency”.

Why it only costs $10k to ‘own’ a Chick-fil-A franchise

The Hustle (01/19/2020)
  • In America, most fast-food restaurants are independent franchises whose owners pay fees to use the brand name.
  • While top franchises (eg McDonald’s, KFC) cost up to $2 million to develop and require a minimum net worth of $1 million, a Chick-fil-A only costs $10K.
  • The difference is that Chick-fil-A finances and develops each franchise and takes a much larger percentage of sales and profits.
  • While most restaurants take 4-8% of each franchises’ total sales, Chick-fil-A takes 15% of sales and 50% of profits.

Kobe Bryant leaves behind a business empire that stretched beyond the basketball court

CNN (01/26/2020)
  • Before his tragic death, NBA legend Kobe Bryant was quickly establishing himself as a successful entrepreneur.
  • In 2013, Kobe co-founded Bryant Stibel, a $100 million value-growth venture capital firm.
  • After 10 successful exits, Bryant Stibel currently has $2 billion in assets with dozens of investments in technology and media companies.
  • Startup founders believe Bryant’s co-sign provides instant validation, exposure and growth acceleration.
  • Aside from Bryant Stibel, in 2014 Kobe made a $6 million investment in sports drink Bodyarmor that has grown to $200 million.

What Happens to Your Body on No Sleep

Outside (04/02/2019)
  • Scientists have found that the effects of acute sleep deprivation, or all-nighters, kicks in after being awake for 16-18 hours straight.
  • The first sign is a sluggish mind, with reaction times lagging to the equivalent of being legally drunk by the 24th hour awake.
  • After 24 hours, your brain starts forcing you into 10-20 second periods of “micro-sleep”.
  • After 35 hours, the brain’s emotion-emitting amygdala becomes 60% more reactive and the ability to regulate emotions declines.
  • Hallucinations are common after 48 hours awake.