My name is Joe Ciolli, and I oversee the markets and investing teams at Business Insider. Your usual scribe Matt Turner is out on parental leave, so I’ll be handling your weekly dispatch of the hottest and most thought-provoking business news and analysis.
Before I get to the goods, I must offer you the opportunity to sign up for my team’s weekly markets newsletter, aptly named Investing Insider. A few clicks and keystrokes can get you exclusive interviews, recommendations, and analysis – delivered straight to your inbox every week.
One of our most popular stories from the past week came from Lisa Eadicicco, who looked into how Apple’s push to rule the smartphone industry has made Apple Store employees feel like robots. She spoke to current and former staffers, who gave her the inside scoop on how the store’s cultural dynamic has changed over the years. Spoiler alert: it hasn’t been for the better.
Meanwhile, Patrick Coffee dove into advertising holding company Publicis’ attempt to launch an AI-powered HR and project management app called Marcel. Once touted as a tool that would “break the industry,” it’s since been hampered by confusion, ridicule, and delays.
And no discussion of the week’s greatest hits would be complete without Libby Brandt‘s story about a Michigan couple who paid off their $US200,000 mortgage in four years. It features the meticulous budget sheet they used, which accounts for every single dollar of their monthly income. Their approach may seem extreme, but it’s tough to argue with the results.
Goldman is doing its best Blackstone impression
Goldman Sachs plans to add people to a 30-person team helping clients to better understand – and put their money into – a suite of alternative investments managed by the bank, people with knowledge of the effort told Dakin Campbell.
The people asked for anonymity to describe closely guarded details about a high-level plan CEO David Solomon announced in a December memo.
The new team, dubbed the Alternatives Capital Markets and Strategy Group, is part of Solomon’s plan to raise awareness about Goldman’s alternative investing platform and raise billions of dollars in outside funding.
If that sounds similar to what Blackstone has been doing, that’s because Solomon has made the comparison himself. As far back as January 2019, at Goldman’s annual partners’ meeting, he displayed a PowerPoint slide showing his firm’s lagging position compared to Blackstone.
It appears to be game-on in the alts space. Stay tuned for the next twist.
A calculation for investing like Warren Buffett
Bruce Greenwald – the Robert Heilbrunn professor emeritus of finance and asset management at Columbia Business School – has developed a simple calculation for evaluating the extent of a company’s competitive advantage.
It’s designed to help people determine what a company’s competitive “moat” is. The term may sound familiar to followers of legendary billionaire Warren Buffett’s approach to investing.
The presence of a moat lessens the probability of a new entrant or established firm eating into the market share or profitability of an investment. In the end, Greenwald says the magic formula boils down to two things: scale and customer captivity.
Finance and Investing
Jason Gurandiano, global head of financial technology investment banking at RBC, told Business Insider that robos have a tough road ahead as the level of assets they manage is still far too low.
Lukasz Tomicki, founder and portfolio manager of LRT Capital Management, breaks down why political rhetoric and volatility is helping to create a buying opportunity within the healthcare space that is likely to continue for the next 12 months.
As many as 100 roles within the centralised group known as ECC were affected, including cloud technologists and engineers, the sources said. The privately held firm’s unit told employees they could either try to find other positions internally or leave the firm, according to the one of the people.
Alex Umansky, a portfolio manager for Baron Funds, boasts a smaller-than-usual portfolio – but one that’s dominated peers to the tune of 99th-percentile performance. He says he makes targeted bets with high conviction, and five companies in particular have his attention right now.
Tech, Media, Telecoms
Those included span a variety of roles in media and creative as well as strategy, account management, talent, neuroscience, and inclusive design.
Venture capitalists took to Twitter to share their tech predictions for 2020. Here’s a compilation of the most intriguing forecasts, headlined by investors like Fred Wilson and Brianne Kimmel.
Sienna Santer’s channel took off after she uploaded a video of herself moving into her dorm room. A year later, she supports herself financially with the money she earns online.
The move comes a year after Walmart started moving its ad business in-house. Walmart’s pitch to advertisers is that it has data from 160 million American shoppers that includes e-commerce and in-store sales.
Healthcare, Retail, Transportation
Some of these firms – like Bright Health and Clover Health – added hundreds of millions of dollars to their war chests in 2019, while others didn’t take on additional funding in the past year. Here’s what to know about the companies going into 2020.
There are myriad reasons for the trucker slowdown. But many recent struggles can be traced back to the industry’s highly cyclical nature.
As healthcare costs keep rising for Americans, retailers see an opportunity to win patients over with convenience and lower prices.
As pharmaceutical companies look to revamp their businesses, getting direct access to costumers and better using artificial intelligence in drug development could be key pieces.
Retail of the future
We’re hosting an event focused on the future of retail in New York City on Tuesday, January 14. From the rise of direct-to-consumer brands to sustainable fashion, the future of retail is all about connecting with customer passions and values – and it’s changing models for growing business.
Join us for a series of conversations with retail entrepreneurs and experts to discuss industry strategies and innovations, and investment opportunities that these innovations create.
Business Insider Emails & Alerts
Site highlights each day to your inbox.