Unfortunately, Elon Musk (founder of PayPal, SpaceX, and Tesla plus other co.) has split from Amber Heard, beautiful Hollywood siren. For Amber, she had moved on from her ex-husband Johnny Depp; to dating Elon. Now, Amber and Elon are in splittsville. They remain friends and their busy work schedules led to the breakup. Amber will be in the 'justice league' movie, which releases in 3 months in theaters. Amber and Elon dated for almost a year, and their relationship was kept private. Smart move by both people. Let's move onto Elon, and his companies. Tesla and Solarcity merged in late 2016/first quarter 2017. Recently, Peter Rive left Tesla and he was one of the main founders of SolarCity. Many well known executives from SolarCity have left the newly formed company. SpaceX is going to launch the Falcon Heavy rocket, which has three boosters. The private space company raised $350 million recently, valuing the company at $21 billion last month. Falcon Heavy rocket is more powerful than the latest space rocket, which NASA had produced.
Next, Tesla is continuing their push to sell the Model 3 sedans to the general public in third and fourth quarters of 2017. Tesla's electric car has to make a profit in 2nd half of 2017, or it will continue to be a profitless company for shareholders and stakeholders alike. TSLA has market cap. of $61 Billion on NASDAQ stock exch., and they will produce a model X and Y car also. When these electric auto models will hit the pipeline, who knows? Let's go underground now to the Boring Company, Musk's foray into building low cost tunnels for an eventual Hyperloop. This company is the most current one, which Elon started. It is constructed to alleviate traffic, for all auto consumers nationwide. The main goal is to see people drive from NY to Washington DC in less than 135 minutes, via the super fast tunnels. From first glance, this idea seems preposterous yet Musk has beaten the odds before. Like SpaceX and Tesla, the company will be based in CA. SpaceX calls Hawthorne, an southern suburb of LA; as its home. Tesla has its main offices in Fremont, and Silicon Valley. The Boring Company is calling Los Angeles, as its company headquarters. Lastly, Mr. Musk has admitted that his life is replete with an unrelenting stress to be the best. He opened up to marketwatch.com, and other news outlets on his uncanny work ethic and motivation to achieve success on his own standards. Many business leaders would be shocked to hear about Elon's fifteen to twenty hour working day, as opposed to the usual 8-10 hr. work day of many average global employees. In closing, Elon may or may not have depression but he strives to control his flaws. Everyone can't be perfect, and Elon knows it. Enjoy the picture, and quote by Elon. It is true in many ways, and it can interpreted for all sorts of go-getters.
Well, venture capital is the focal point of today's story. Bill Gurley is an experienced venture capitalist at Benchmark Capital, a renowned private capital firm in San Francisco. Bill is a general partner at Benchmark, and he has his own weblog called 'Above The Crowd.' For Bill, he likes to be an well known supporter of pensive spending and public market accountability. This train of thought is quite different than one of the companies that he invested in. The company that G. Ripley described is Uber. Bill was on the board of directors of Uber, a highly valued start up.
Recently, Uber has come under fire as Travis Kalanick resigned from the popular ride sharing company. Kalanick held the CEO position for quite some time, but Gurley was instrumental in calling for the resignation of Kalanick.
Back to Gurley's current roles, He left the board of directors at Uber a few weeks ago. During his tenure on the Uber board, Bill led the company in a behind the scenes fashion. He steered the popular ride sharing firm, even though the company dealt with widespread fallout from accusations of misconduct and sexual harassment. Bill G. is not too enthusiastic of Uber's self driving car strategy. Uber had a market cap. of $69 billion at one point, but it will not follow through on an IPO in 2017. Outside of Uber, Gurley is on the board of directors at some of the following companies: Ubiquiti Networks; Zillow.com; OpenTable; and Grubhub. Also, one should go to www.abovethecrowd.com to read Gurley's blog. Before working at Benchmark, Gurley was a partner with Hummer Winblad Venture Partners. These days, you can find Bill on the various social networks a la Twitter; Facebook; Linkedin etc. Some of Bill's big investments were Snap, Instagram, and NextDoor. Snap went public in 2017, but the company's stock price is under the IPO price already. Instagram was acquired by Facebook. NextDoor is the neighborhood social network in LA; Phoenix; and other highly populated cities in America.
Finally, Bill is extremely tall as he is 81 inches above the ground. That is 6 ft. 9 in. for all those math experts, unlike myself. Bill received an undergrad. degree from University of Florida, and an MBA from UT Austin. He owns homes in Atherton, and Truckee, CA. Benchmark Capital invested a small amount ($5 million) in Ebay, back in 1997. Today, Ebay counts as one of Gurley's investment hits. Investing in startups continues to give good rates of return, for Gurley. One of his latest investments was in Zipcar, which is a subsidiary of Avis Budget Group now. In closing, Bill Gurley has been writing or 'blogging' for more than two decades. This feat is remarkable for the author of this post, to digest as G. Ripley wonders 'How does Bill find the time to write, when he invests in many successful startups?' Gurley can be wrong about investments, like jet.com. He is an outspoken critic, that is recognized by the likes of Marc Andreessen and Roger McNamee. Andreessen is a current partner at Andreessen Horowitz, another popularly successful VC firm. McNamee is a founding partner of Elevation Partners. Roger is one of the oldest, venerable VCs in silicon valley. As my writing for this post comes to an end, may the reader have gathered a monolithic amount of useful information on venture capital and Bill Gurley. Enjoy the photo above of a pensive man talking about public markets, and useful technological products. The man is the talented Mr. Bill Gurley.
Today's teen shoppers are changing the retail landscape in many ways. First, the teen retail industry is one in which people are buying products from more than one brand. No consumer is buying Abercrombie and Fitch shirts or jeans only, as shoppers want to buy Express or Urban Outfitters clothes also. The big companies in this retail space are Abercrombie & Fitch, American Eagle Outfitters, Urban Outfitters, and Express. Yet, each company's shares on the stock market are down by more than 10% YTD. The retail industry insiders are having trouble with predicting any shoppers behavior these days, regardless of age. If you start from generation X and move into the 2010 decade, people are moving from shopping at a huge mall/fashion center to buying all clothing online. Isn't it better to buy a product that you can touch and feel, as opposed to clicking 'buy' on amazon.com or other e-commerce websites? The answer to that probing question is a hard 'no.' Consumers are fickle, and their wardrobe may consist of clothing from many stores.
Next, let's look at store closings in the retail industry. Abercrombie and Fitch has shut down dozens of stores for having underperforming sales. Aeropostale, Wet Seal, and BCBG Max Azria have sought bankruptcy protection. Sears has shut down 43 stores this year. Where are the retail consumers going to buy clothes these days? Lower-cost, fast-fashion stores like H&M and Forever 21 are the places that teens and young adults make clothing transactions. Express and Urban Outfitters are forecasting huge decreases in 2nd quarter same-store sales.
Finally, Abercrombie & Fitch was up for sale in May/June 2017. Express and American Eagle were in major discussions to complete the takeover. But, Abercrombie & Fitch (ANF:NYSE) took itself off the market. The company must devise their own growth revival strategy, in order to survive. As a closing statement, The great recession (November 2007 to July 2009) altered the retail landscape. Now, more than 85 million Americans are paid members of Amazon Prime. This statistic is up more than 38% from this time in 2016. In the next year or two, the retail industry could signal a massive decline for more brick and mortar stores. Until then, enjoy the picture above of a cute family decked out in H&M blue clothes. Matching colors is the way to go!
Four days ago, Diageo made a huge transaction in the Alcohol, Spirits, beverages (ASB) world. The London based company bought Casamigos Tequila for $1 Billion, in a record breaking deal. Diageo owns Don Julio Tequila already, but Diageo continues to add to their arsenal in the Beverages and Spirits industry. In late 2012/early 2013, George Clooney; Rande Gerber; and Mike Meldman started Casamigos in Malibu, California. The three successful people come from diverse backgrounds, and their collaboration turned into a lucrative partnership. The $1 billion price tag breaks down to an initial $700 million, plus $300 million more based on increased sales over the next decade. Casamigos Tequila is a top brand in the growing tequila category, selling 120,000 cases in 2016.
Furthermore, most of the sales of Casamigos are domestic. The brand is found in many high end stores; and restaurants around the USA. Casamigos is expected to top 170,000 cases sold in 2017. Some of the most popular brands of tequila are Jose Cuervo, Don Julio, Avion, and Patron. Did you know that sales of super-premium tequila are up more than 700 percent nationwide, since 2002? Tequila is the main ingredient in a margarita, or mixed with Sprite/7 UP as a good summer drink.
For myself, Casamigos became a high end tequila to try in 2015. Mixing it with 7 UP was the right thing to do, on a hot May day in the AZ summer. It was Primo Greenleaf's birthday, and we had to celebrate in the right way. Primo had a margarita with Patron, as he perused the beautiful ladies in the speakeasy in Scottsdale. Let's fast forward to Cinco de Mayo 2017! On that day, mixing Casamigos and sprite became a cool concoction for me to sip on another hot AZ sumer day. Personally, the gold Casamigos tequila is a much better tasting flavor than their silver tequila.
Back to Diageo's other alcoholic (ALCO) spirits collection, the company has the following brands: Johnnie Walker Scotch, Crown Royal Canadian Whisky, Smirnoff vodka, Captain Morgan rum, Baileys Irish Cream, Don Julio tequila, Tanqueray gin and Guinness beer. The Casamigos sale is expected to close in the second half, of 2017. Congratulations to the ALCO trio (Clooney, Gerber, and Meldman)!! Diageo wants to sell Casamigos internationally, as the tequila is going to be distributed to 20 countries on 5 continents. By 2020, Diageo should look to sell the brand in 30 countries on 6 continents. Diageo is a public company on NYSE, and it can be found under 'DEO' stock symbol. They compete with Constellation Brands (NYSE:STZ), a personal favorite ASB company of mine.
Enjoy the image of George Clooney, and Rande Gerber drinking Casamigos in a cool Floridian bar! Cheers, Salute!!
First, Theresa May is the current PM in the UK. She is not resigning, as the Conservatives party’s grip on the UK government slipped in a recent major election. Theresa May has been the Prime Minister for the past 11 months, in the United Kingdom. A 'hung parliament' is the main result in the last UK general election, which happened four days ago. The major cities in England are losing confidence in the government, as the Conservative party won less than 50% of the seats in the UK region.
Today, Theresa May lost two of her top aides when Nick Timothy and Fiona Hill announced their dual resignation. Nick served as the chief of staff, under Theresa May for the past 11 months. Fiona served as the Joint Chief of Staff at 10 Downing Street, for the past 11 months. Both of them helped Theresa May on a daily basis, to shape May's political agenda before the shocking UK election result. Now, the world is wondering 'can Theresa May weather the new political storm, as many of her supporters have turned into major detractors?' The UK election could mean a softer 'BrExit'; or could the UK will their way back into the European Union somehow. The mandate of 'Brexit' is in trouble, and the hung parliament means that Northern Ireland and Scotland, Wales; will see changes in leadership soon. Theresa May has contacted Northern Ireland’s Democratic Unionist Party in order, to get enough votes to govern.
After the UK general election results, the Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson; and Brexit secretary David Davis will keep their roles in Theresa's minority government. Also, Chancellor Philip Hammond; Home Secretary Amber Rudd; and Defence Secretary Michael Fallon will retain their roles in the new minority government. How does all of this news change the exchange rates, between the US Dollar and the Great Britain Pound? One GB Pound is exchanging/converting to $1.275 US dollars. The GB pound remains one of the few currencies, which exchanges into a weaker foreign US dollar. One Euro is equivalent to $1.12 US dollars. Can the Euro and the US Dollar have a 1:1 monetary ratio one day? It would be incredible to see the 1 GB Pound equal to $1.10 US dollars.
In the end, the British citizens that live in different countries (US, France, India, Australia, etc.) have become deprecators of the UK and their governmental decisions. Nine months ago at Universal Studios Hollywood, a tour guide and myself were chatting about the UK government for handful of minutes. The informative tour guide mentioned that Theresa May is called 'Theresa Maybe' in many wealthy parts of London. He mentioned to me that Theresa May received this moniker due to her inconsistent governmental decision making. As a final statement, US president Donald Trump has lent his support to Theresa May. How will the rest of the world, including the EU and other European countries feel about May in the upcoming months of 2017? It is a probing question, with many various answers. Enjoy the image above of each political party, from the recent UK general election results.
Two nights ago, the Billboard Music Awards happened in Las Vegas at the T-Mobile Arena. Rapper/actor, Ludacris; and Vanessa Hudgens, young beautiful 'High school musical' actress; were the hosts. Ludacris was hilarious, just like his name means; at the show in terms of being the cool MC. Vanessa Hudgens did a rendition of Celine Dion's 'Power of Love' hit song. Some people enjoyed Vanessa's version, but others tweeted some negative comments about Miss Hudgens. Since twitter is not an app. on my Samsung Galaxy s6 smartphone, it was not possible for me to read the negative tweets.
Do not tweet between the sheets, or do twitter on the $hitter. Vanessa did a rendition of Nicki Minaj's song too. Back in the day, she used to date Zac Efron. Zac was her former costar on 'high school musical,' and off screen romance.
Back to the BBMA's, Drake was quite funny in one of his acceptance speeches after winning one of his 13 awards. Yes, Drake won many awards and it was 13 to be precise. He won more awards than Adele's previous record of 12 awards in the 2012 BBMA's. BBMA is short for billboard music awards. FYI!!
Celine Dion performed at the awards show, and she got many fans wanting to see her after the show to pay their respects. Drake met Celine in the after party, and he wants to get 'celine' as a tattoo on himself. Drizzy, please don't do that!!
Drake thanked Nicki Minaj, and Lil' Wayne in one of his speeches. Drake and Nicki got in some LA, aka Lip Action. He gave a shoutout to Vanessa Hudgens too, and he may have 'the hots' for Vanessa. Drake should get Vanessa's digits. Drake won most of his awards for his 'views' album, from 2016. Drake's new album, 'More Life'; is getting some airplay on the radio. Some good songs are 'Portland', 'Fake Love', and 'Free Smoke.'
Back to the music awards, the Chainsmokers performed with Halsey. Kevin Hart and Ed Helms were some of the many presenters. The show was probably one of the best, as many radio stations are talking about it each day of this week on their morning and evening shows. One of my favorite musical artists, John Legend; performed his song 'surefire.' It is a great track. Then, he performed with Florida Georgia Line for their country music songs. Way to be diverse, JL!!
Ok, that's a wrap for the talented g. ripley on this BBMA's 2017 review. Peace! Enjoy the picture of Vanessa, and Ludacris before the
awards show started.
If you are a democrat supporter, you may been have shocked by today's stunning news of James Comey's termination as FBI director.
James Comey is no longer the FBI director. He found out the news, by watching it literally on TV. James was in the Los Angeles area, as he was supposed to speak at an FBI recruiting event in nearby Hollywood on Tuesday night. Instead, he did not even make it to the Directors Guild Awards (DGA) building in Hollywood. It is a sad way for Mr. Comey to learn, that he was fired by President Donald Trump. Mr. Comey went into a motorcade, and went on a private jet en route to Washington to get the official word.
Furthermore, Mr. Trump has fired some well known prosecutors in his first four months. In addition to FBI Director Comey, both Preet Bharara and Sally Yates were dismissed in eccentric ways. Yet, Comey could have lost his job at the end of January. Many Republican supporters wanted Comey to be replaced, as many government officials are replaced when a new presidential regime takes over.
Charles Schumer, D-N.Y. is a longstanding senator that is calling the Comey firing, as another big mistake by the Trump administration. Schumer is calling for a special prosecutor to investigate the Trump-Russia probe. Many politicians are stating that the DOJ (dept. of Justice) should have been investigating the Trump-Russia probe, not the FBI itself. In the end, it appears that some Democrats including Schumer had lost confidence in James Comey.
With James Comey's tenure at the FBI ending, who could be the next FBI director? It is the first time since 1993, that an FBI director was fired. Andrew McCabe will oversee the FBI, until the POTUS appoints a new director. Some Democratic politicians, like Sen. Bob Casey from Pennsylvania, are terming the firing as a 'Nixonian' move. It is a direct comparison to the Richard Nixon days as President, almost 45+ years ago.
In closing, James Comey came under fire for his handling of the Hillary Clinton private e-mail server investigation in summer/fall of 2016. What's next on the career front for Mr. Comey? James Comey could join the faculty, of a prestigious law school at a DC University a la Georgetown. Or, he could retire from the public eye. Doubt that is going to happen. Nonetheless, we wish Mr. Comey the best in his future endeavors. Remember the best revenge is living well!