November 10, 2021

Elon Musk Trolls Congress with $30B

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Mesh Lakhani

Hey All,

Welcome to Talk Money Weekly - where I cut through the noise and curate the best money-related topics from the web.

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Markets & Business

TMW #30: Elon Musk Trolls the Billionaire Tax

We’re talking about Elon Musk again! Can’t get enough of this guy. As much as I’d like to talk about someone else, he’s very good at getting attention.

In this episode, we dive into why Elon Musk went on Twitter to ask his followers if he should sell 10% of his Tesla stock; how he’s trolling Congress; and what it has to do with a huge tax bill he has coming up. Listen now.

Airbnb and the Future of Travel

We all know that the pandemic has changed travel forever. Many friends I know are doing WFH (work from home) from different destinations around the world. Generally, the ability to WFH allows us to travel much more and experience new places, not just on weekends.

Airbnb has seen so much data on this. While hotels suffered during city shut downs, homes outside of cities did not. Our want and need to travel, be outside, and be in nature has never seemed more apparent.

This is why I do love the quickness of tech companies to react to data. Airbnb listens to its customers and adapts accordingly. Now it’s offering more flexible stays and new types of accommodations. It seems to be more of a supply issue than anything else. There needs to be more homes for people to visit and stay at.

You can see the full product demo here.

Web 3 Terminology

One of the biggest issues with Web 3, crypto, NFTs, etc, is the messaging and communication. There’s a lot of amazing things happening here, but it’s also completely overwhelming and confusing.

Looking at crypto/Web 3 as part of the metaverse makes it easier to understand. Crypto helped create “digital native currency” that is not dependent on any central source (United States, China, Wall Street etc.). So if the metaverse is a virtual world where we can interact in, we can use crypto as “money” within that world.

And if we use that money (crypto) to buy items in the metaverse, those items would be NFTs- in this case they would be digital goods that could also exist in the physical world. And NFTs could be produced by DAO’s (decentralized autonomous organizations). This would be the equivalent of a company, but instead of one central leader, the community runs it together.

Confused? It’s really more because we’ve been introduced to new terms, and those terms sound…like super nerdy. Remember in Terminator 2 when Arnold described what he is by saying “I’m a synthetic organism composed of living tissue over a titanium hyperalloy endoskeleton.” Umm, ok Arnold, let’s just stick with Terminator, right? Way easier.

The more mainstream this becomes, the easier it will be to understand.

Reddit is Becoming a Web 3 Company?

One of the core components of Web 3 is that the community gets to “own” a platform they participate in. If Reddit becomes a Web 3 company, they would reward users who post, and help create engagement on the site.

In Web 2, these people were seen as users, while they created value for the sites, they weren’t rewarded. The only people rewarded were owners/investors of the company.

Incentivizing folks to create and engage will be explored a lot in Web 3. Think about this podcast. How should the producers, hosts, writers benefit? If the audience spreads the word, shouldn’t they benefit as well?

Peloton Feels the Burn

Imagine using Peloton everyday. You absolutely love the company. You own shares in the stock because you use it so much and you think everyone else feels the same way. Then you wake up and the stock is down 45%. WTF. Not all stocks go up.

This is where we need pay attention to trends. Peloton benefitted during the pandemic, but in the case with working out, people are now going back to gyms. Also, the bikes and treadmills are expensive, and you don’t even need their hardware to do their workouts. I use the app to do treadmill bootcamps and I use the treadmill in my apartment building.

The harsh truth is, sales are down, revenue is not growing as fast and there’s more competition. We have a lot of choice when it comes to working out. Given the stock ran up so much during the last year, it’s now having a major correction.

This is different from an Airbnb. While Airbnb saw a massive trend shift in traveling during the pandemic, that trend is here to stay and if anything, is going to continue to grow.

This is one of those- own (stock) in what you know and use. In this case, one really needs to also decide is Peloton the winner in the fitness market. No. It’s way too saturated and it’s hard to bet on any one company.

Zillow Loses at I-Buying Market

Zillow is down 40% in the last 6 months. It royally fucked up its pivot into I-buying - buying a home online (an innovation that was led by Opendoor), use data to assess a home, make an offer in all cash, fix up the home and then sell it, all done online with little use of realtors.

I have not met one person who has bought a house in this way. Before getting into this business, Zillow was a lead gen platform for realtors. We all go on Zillow, scope out houses we like and then get in contact with the realtors. Once Zillow saw what Opendoor and Redfin were doing with “I-buying,” they figured “fuck it! We should do this! We’ll be the best! Everyone knows us! We have millions of listings and people using our site.”

The big miss, they were new to that side of the business. And embarrassingly failed at it. They bought a few thousands homes and just paid way too much for them, losing over $300M. IE, the guy in the tweet saying he sold his house to them and now they’re offloading it to him at a cheaper price.

Meanwhile Opendoor is up 15% in the last 6 months. Not something to scream home about, but it’s not terrible.

That's all the news from this past week!

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