Auto Tariffs, Musk Donations, Wendy’s and Papa John’s: CEO Daily for July 19, 2018
Some final excerpts from Brainstorm Tech, which ended yesterday in Aspen:
Alfred Lin of Sequoia Capital, on why he invested in Tony Xu’s DoorDash food delivery: “We have a thesis at Sequoia that good investing addresses one of the seven deadly sins. Tony addressed two of them: sloth and gluttony.”
Tony Xu on why the world needs DoorDash: “It’s virtually impossible for a single store to do its own deliveries—there are always too many drivers or too few.”
Dan Hart of Virgin Orbit on working with the government: “There is a desire in government to be as agile as the private sector… but there is a whole cultural progression they have to go through” before that happens.
Author Tom Friedman on the effects of AI: “It’s not the strongest that survive, it’s not the smartest that survive, it’s the most adaptive that survive. We are in the middle of a giant adaptation challenge… at the individual level, at the community level, and at the corporate level.”
You can read more from Brainstorm Tech here.
Also this morning, we are publishing Geoff Colvin’s piece for the August issue of Fortune on why the end (of the expansion) is near.
More news below.
Automobile manufacturers from around the world, as well as a bipartisan group of 149 House members, have begged President Trump not to impose tariffs on car imports. But it seems that their pleas have fallen on deaf ears. Trump said yesterday that, if his meeting next week with European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker doesn’t go well, he will smite Europe with “tremendous retribution”—and he specifically mentioned auto tariffs. Wall Street Journal
Stung by criticism over the revelation of his donations to a Republican PAC, Elon Musk reportedly asked the Sierra Club to make public the previously-anonymous $6 million in donations he had given to the environmental group. That’s certainly a lot more than the $38,900 he gave to the Republicans. But Sierra Club staffers aren’t happy with executive director Michael Brune for complying with Musk’s request, due to the Tesla CEO’s GOP donations and union-bashing. Bloomberg
Wendy’s and Papa John’s
Wendy’s and Papa John’s have apparently held secret, preliminary merger talks. However, CNBC reports that “the talks cooled” thanks to the scandal over now-ousted Papa John’s chairman John Schnatter using a racial slur. Papa John’s shares rose 4% on the news of the talks. CNBC
Toys R Us Workers
KKR and Bain, two of the buyout firms that took Toys R Us private back in 2005, are mulling the possibility of setting up a hardship fund for the liquidated chain’s workers—largely thanks to criticism from public pension funds that invest in the two companies. But Vornado, the third partner in the leveraged buyout that loaded Toys R Us with crazy amounts of debt, is reportedly not even answering the workers’ emails. Financial Times
Around the Water Cooler
Universal Basic Income
Chicago might become the largest city in the U.S. to experiment with universal basic income, if a bill gets enough sponsorship to go to a City Council vote. The bill would give $500 per month to 1,000 families, with no strings attached. The lawmaker who introduced the bill, Ameya Pawar, is worried about the effect of automation on jobs. If automation simply removes jobs, he warned, “divisions are going to grow and, in many ways, we’re sitting on a powder keg.” Fortune
Facebook is now blocking “certain forms of misinformation that have contributed to physical harm,” as it tries to combat the use of its services in inflaming sectarian violence in places like Myanmar and Sri Lanka. That’s one takeaway from a fascinating interview with Mark Zuckerberg, in which he also appeared to suggest Holocaust deniers shouldn’t be censored on Facebook because they’re probably not “intentionally getting it wrong”—when that nugget caused a backlash, Zuck clarified that “I personally find Holocaust denial deeply offensive, and I absolutely didn’t intend to defend the intent of people who deny that.” Recode
Airbus is standing by its A380, the survival of which is currently only propped up by orders from Emirates Airline. Although the super-jumbo jet was nowhere to be seen at the Farnborough Airshow, a major industry event, Airbus commercial aircraft chief Tom Williams said this wasn’t a result of falling sales. “We are bringing the newest products [to the event] to show them off, and there is a limit to how many aircraft we can bring,” he told the BBC. “That doesn’t mean, by any means, that we have given up on the A380. We are still fully committed. It’s my personal belief that the A380 still has its best years ahead of us.” BBC
President Trump’s planned military parade will reportedly cost around $12 million, a revelation that has led some to question whether the money may be better spent elsewhere, such as for helping military veterans. Trump has been keen on having a parade since he attended Bastille Day celebrations in France last year. Fortune