Marker
A publication about business from Medium.

From Gap to Vistaprint, companies are betting on masks to save them. But what happens when the bubble pops?

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Illustration: Bráulio Amado

If you arrived at the Vistaprint website looking to bulk-order some promotional pens or business cards or other swag you could send en masse to your remote staff as a morale boost and accidentally landed on its masks page, you most certainly would think you’re in the wrong place. …


Number of the Day

A majority of young adults are living with their parents for the first time since the Great Depression

Number of the Day — 52% The share of American young adults living with their parents. Source: Pew Research Center
Number of the Day — 52% The share of American young adults living with their parents. Source: Pew Research CenterNumber of the Day — 52% The share of American young adults living with their parents. Source: Pew Research Center
Photo illustration, source: Klaus Vedfelt/DigitalVision/Getty Images

52%: That’s the share of 18- to 29-year-old Americans living with their parents as of July this year, according to the Pew Research Center. …


That was Nike CEO John Donahoe’s bold claim on an earnings conference call way back in March when the pandemic first hit. As we wrote at the time, Nike’s Covid-19 “playbook” involved a hard pivot to digital sales and marketing, building on efforts that had been in the works for years. The company acknowledged taking a hit, but argued that its aggressive digital embrace minimized the pain in China, and could do so in other markets.

This week the company announced its latest quarterly results: $10.2 billion in revenue nearly matching last year’s. That’s a remarkable bounce back from the 38% sales plunge during the lockdown period, a stretch that pushed many retail brands into bankruptcy. The key: Digital sales rose a whopping 82%. Six months later, Nike’s proven we should all be following their next move.


The data warehousing company benefits from a first-mover advantage — but competition is not far behind

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Image: Snowflake

One week ago, Snowflake made history. Debuting on the New York Stock Exchange, the data warehousing company became the largest software company to IPO in the U.S., ever. Initially expected to price shares between $75 and $85, the company went public at $120, catapulting up to $300 in its first day of trading. That broke another record: Snowflake became the largest company to ever double in value on its opening day, reaching a market cap of close to $75 billion.

Reasonably enough, this startling performance has been used as further evidence that the market has lost its mind. A searing hot summer that sent Vroom, Lemonade, BigCommerce, and other IPOs soaring appears to be transforming into an unseasonably balmy autumn. …


Number of the Day

For many American remote workers, the ‘home office’ consists of a mattress and pillows

8.8% — Percentage of Americans who report working most or all of their workweek from bed since the pandemic began.
8.8% — Percentage of Americans who report working most or all of their workweek from bed since the pandemic began.8.8% — Percentage of Americans who report working most or all of their workweek from bed since the pandemic began.
Photo illustration, image: Alice Simkin/Unsplash

8.8%: That’s how many people reported working 24 to 40+ hours a week from bed since the pandemic began, according to a survey of more than 1,000 Americans by Tuck Sleep, a research firm that studies sleep and sleep products. …


Stocks are sky-high, but this isn’t 1999. Here’s why.

A generic illustration of stock market bar graphs and financial market data.
A generic illustration of stock market bar graphs and financial market data.A generic illustration of stock market bar graphs and financial market data.
Image: MR.Cole_Photographer/Moment/Getty Images

When it comes to the stock market, there seems to be just one question on everyone’s mind lately: Is this another dot-com bubble in the making?

Whether it’s IPOs hitting 1999-like levels, retail investors flooding the markets, or the tech bubble bursting again, there’s no shortage of headlines suggesting that we are experiencing a dot-com déjà vu. …


No Mercy No Malice

The secretive data firm is the black sheep of the tech community, and it wants to keep it that way

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Variation is an aspect of natural selection that helps a population’s gene pool to develop new traits. Those traits allow the next generation to adapt to changing environments. Symmetry of facial features is attractive, as it indicates an absence of maladies. We’re also drawn to people from different places, as it’s less likely we’ll cross the same two defective genes, like Tay-Sachs or hemophilia.

The subtle instincts of natural selection play out in our consumer choices, such as choosing branded denim or which artificially colored carbonated water, mixed with phosphoric acid, to stock in the fridge. …


That’s what Elon Musk told analysts back in January. For at least 15 months now, Tesla’s CEO has been teasing his massive fan club with promises to “blow your mind” on a self-styled event he’s calling “Battery Day.” Other companies — most notably, QuantumScape — in recent weeks have tried to steal Musk’s thunder. But now, after numerous postponements, Tesla’s live webcast event is finally here, starting today at 1:30 p.m. Pacific Time time.

In tweets yesterday, Musk seemed to confirm that, among other things, he’ll announce the manufacture of Tesla’s own battery cells in large numbers by 2022, which would allow a major scale-up of the Cybertruck pickup and the Semi. We are sticking with our own forecast that Musk will announce cost parity with combustion vehicles, mainly because that fits his “blow your mind” promise.


Number of the Day

Hipsters’ favorite format outsold CDs for the first time in decades

$232.1 Million —Total U.S. sales of vinyls in the first half of 2020, which topped CD sales for the 1st time since 1980s
$232.1 Million —Total U.S. sales of vinyls in the first half of 2020, which topped CD sales for the 1st time since 1980s$232.1 Million —Total U.S. sales of vinyls in the first half of 2020, which topped CD sales for the 1st time since 1980s
Photo: Ivan Dorofeev/Unsplash

$232.1 million: That’s the total U.S. sales of vinyl records in the first half of 2020, which topped CD sales for the first time since the 1980s, according to CNN.

While the vinyl record once seemed destined for oblivion, it has proven surprisingly resilient.


Experts question the claim by QuantumScape, backed by $500 million from Bill Gates, Silicon Valley venture capitalists, and VW

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Photo: Sean Gallup/Getty Images

Early this month, QuantumScape, an ultra-secretive, $4.3 billion battery startup, startled the battery and electric vehicle communities with an announcement: In the fourth quarter, it would go public on the New York Stock Exchange. If everything went right, there would be the prospect of substantial profit for investors including VW and Bill Gates on some $500 million in bets on the company. That was on top of the transformation that the IPO would help bring about in the mass commercialization of EVs.

The surprising thing was that the whole thing rested on a still-uncertain matter: A blockbuster assertion by QuantumScape, not verified by outside scientists, that it was on a short path to a solid state EV battery using pure metallic lithium, a prized material that has been the subject of a decades-long global technology race. …

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