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Mattress Mack Bets on the Astros Again
If the Astros win the World Series, a lot of people in Houston will get free mattresses.
Here are today’s highlights:
Employment rates for people with disabilities are breaking records.
EY has released its always impressive list of Entrepreneurial Winning Women.
Available office space in San Francisco has hit an all-time high.
California’s economy is poised to overtake Germany’s as the world’s fourth largest.
In 2017, Jim McIngvale, better known as Mattress Mack, promised that anyone who buys one of his mattresses at Gallery Furniture would get it for free if the Houston Astros win the World Series—a promotion that would have cost him $10 million if he hadn’t hedged his bet: “Now, five years later, with the Astros poised to face the Philadelphia Phillies in the World Series, McIngvale's original furniture promotion -- and the epic sports bets behind it -- have quintupled in size to what is about to be a record-breaking $75 million World Series squeeze play. By the start of the Fall Classic on Friday, McIngvale says he'll have around $10 million (at an average 7.5-to-1 odds) riding on the Astros.”
“Lanky and seemingly equal parts ears, teeth, cowboy boots, and charisma, McIngvale has been a household name in Houston for decades thanks to his wacky TV commercials and his Ross Perot delivery.”
“In 2017, McIngvale gained national attention for opening his doors and sheltering hundreds of victims of Hurricane Harvey for weeks inside his furniture showroom, something he also did after Hurricane Katrina years prior.”
“‘We take large wagers from sports bettors of all stripes, but I'm not sure anyone does it with as much panache as Mack,’ says Ken Fuchs, head of sports at Caesars Entertainment.”
“‘I just get bored to death with stability, which is why I guess I like all of these big bets,’ he shrugs …” READ MORE
EY has released its annual list of Entrepreneurial Winning Women: “EY provides program participants evergreen access to our vast resources, rich networks and know-how, helping to strengthen their abilities to become market leaders. At the same time, the program creates a vibrant global community of successful women entrepreneurs and inspiring peer role models who, in 2022, numbered more than 900 across 55 countries. Program participants typically achieve breakthrough annual growth and exponential expansion as employers by setting more ambitious growth goals, taking new approaches to business leadership, and adopting operational enhancements.” The 2022 North America list includes:
“Lena Koke: Axess Law is Canada’s first virtual real estate and mortgage closing legal company. Axess Law provides a streamlined and transparent real estate closing experience from anywhere in the world.”
“Ainsley Rose and Hannah Todd: Londre Bodywear is the most sustainable swimwear company on the planet. Through their unique shaping swimwear offerings, they’ve upcycled over 1 million plastic bottles into the most flattering garments with the lowest possible impact and helped restore three coral reefs.”
“Yvonne Chan: Santé Circle Health is a disability-management company helping employees return to work after an illness or injury. … Santé Circle Health assists employers with employee absences, injuries, illnesses, claims for short- and long-term disability, return to work determinations and accommodations within the workplace.” READ MORE
With the tight labor market, employment has soared among adults with disabilities: “Employers, desperate for workers, are reconsidering job requirements, overhauling hiring processes and working with nonprofit groups to recruit candidates they might once have overlooked. At the same time, companies’ newfound openness to remote work has led to opportunities for people whose disabilities make in-person work — and the taxing daily commute it requires — difficult or impossible. As a result, the share of disabled adults who are working has soared in the past two years, far surpassing its pre-pandemic level and outpacing gains among people without disabilities.”
“More than 35 percent of disabled Americans ages 18 to 64 had jobs in September. That was up from 31 percent just before the pandemic and is a record in the 15 years the government has kept track.” READ MORE
Available space in San Francisco has hit an all-time high: “San Francisco has 27.1 million square feet of office space available across the city, a record high, according to new data recently released by commercial real estate firm CBRE. If you need a visualization of that staggering number, that’s just over 20 Salesforce Tower’s worth of office space available — and SF’s tallest building has 1.35 million square feet of office space across its 59 floors.”
“If leasing activity keeps pace with its current trajectory, upcoming quarters could continue to get worse, given that 50 percent of current sublease space is set to expire in 2025.”
“‘The vacancy rate is going to continue to creep up over the next couple of quarters because demand remains subdued right now and that all relates to the uncertainty around the economy and the amount of space companies need,’ said Colin Yasukochi, CBRE’s Executive Director of Tech Insights.” READ MORE
The yield curve is acting up again: “The yield curve is a way of comparing interest rates, also known as yields, on different maturities of government bonds, from a few months to 10 years or more. Investors typically expect to be paid more interest for lending to the government for a longer time, partly reflecting the risk of locking up money given the usual expectations for rising growth and inflation. But short-term yields occasionally rise above longer-term yields, upending the usual situation in the bond market.”
“It’s called a yield-curve inversion, and it means investors are now effectively demanding more money to lend to the government over shorter periods of time.”
“That is an indication investors expect economic growth to decline soon — perhaps within a year — and that the Federal Reserve will need to cut interest rates below where they are currently to help an ailing economy.” READ MORE
The federal government will spend $500 million to help businesses with technical support: “Dozens of small business groups weighed in on a recent Treasury Department request for information on how to spend $500 million in technical assistance funds — the largest amount ever allocated to technical assistance. The funding was part of the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021, which set aside $10 billion for the State Small Business Credit Initiative. The funds will go to states, territories and tribal governments to set up their own programs to help small businesses access capital. The money, already going out the door to states, will help fund loan programs and credit enhancement initiatives as well as venture fund programs to target early-stage businesses. The goal is to leverage $10 billion in government money into $100 billion in total investments.”
“It also sets aside a record $500 million in technical assistance to local organizations and program companies to help small businesses navigate the dizzying array of options and decide which ones will be right for them. But proponents say it is also a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to revamp a system that often excludes some businesses and organizations from participating.”
“The new letter, spearheaded by the Small Business Majority and co-signed by more than 25 small-business groups, identified what it said were big gaps in the current technical assistance landscape, including:”
“Financial literacy, accounting, and wealth-building: There are small businesses in need of basic business accounting and the importance of separating business and personal finances, while others need help with understanding profit versus revenue.”
“Hiring their first employee: What the tax, payroll and benefit implications are to hiring staff.” READ MORE
LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION
California is doing better than you might think: “California’s economy has proven relatively resilient, first through the pandemic and now through the current period of elevated inflation. So much so that the Golden State’s gross domestic product is poised to overtake Germany’s as the fourth largest in the world after the U.S., China and Japan. It had already leapfrogged Brazil (No. 7) and France (No. 6) in 2015 and supplanted the UK (No. 5) in 2017. Although many of California's current figures won't be published until 2023, estimates suggest the state may have already caught Germany, with at least one forecast implying California is ahead by $72 billion when considering the state's recent growth rate.”
“The truth is that California outperforms the U.S. and the rest of the world across many industries. That's especially relevant with renewable energy, the fastest-growing business in California and Germany. The market capitalization of California companies in this business increased 731 percent the past three years, or 1.74 times more than their German counterparts, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.”
“Job creation is a particularly strong area, with unemployment falling to 3.9 percent in July, the lowest since data was compiled in 1976, before rising to 4.1 percent in August. The gap separating the state from the U.S. national rate of 3.5 percent is the narrowest since August 2021 and for the first time since 2006, California's joblessness dipped below Texas’s.” READ MORE
Waterplan is helping companies monitor their water use: “Waterplan’s software platform integrates public watershed data and customer water use data to help companies in water-intensive industries make sure that their current or future operations are not affected by drought. And, perhaps more important, it helps companies monitor and replenish the watersheds and aquifers on which we all depend.”
“The Y Combinator stint drew investors — including Richard Branson’s family and Leonardo DiCaprio — allowing Mr. Galindo and his co-founders to attract and hire Nick Silverman, a hydrologist at the University of Montana, as their head of science.”
“Waterplan currently has more than 30 customers, including Coca-Cola, Amazon and Anheuser-Busch InBev, the world’s largest brewer. Waterplan currently operates in more than 100 watersheds globally and is increasing the number of water basins that it monitors.”
“Among Waterplan’s first customers was McCain, one of the world’s largest potato producers and a frozen French fry supplier to McDonald’s. McCain is committed to reducing its water consumption by 15 percent in the next three years, according to Sabiene Lima, the company’s sustainability manager for Latin America.” READ MORE
Dietrich Mateschitz turned a Thai energy drink into Red Bull, a marketing juggernaut: “In the 1980s, Mr. Mateschitz (pronounced MAH-tuh-shitz), then a salesman for a company that made personal hygiene products and toothpaste, discovered the elixirs sold in Asian pharmacies as pick-me-ups for workers and truckers. He got in touch with the maker of one of them, Chaleo Yoovidhya, whose drink, Krathing Daeng, translates into English as ‘red bull.’ The two formed a partnership, and after three years of tinkering with the Thai recipe, Mr. Mateschitz introduced the Westernized version of the energy drink to his native Austria in 1987.”
“Despite concerns about the drink’s high sugar and caffeine content — it has occasionally been banned in various countries, and some health officials have questioned the safety of taurine, an amino acid that is a key ingredient — the company took off, and last year alone sold nearly 10 billion cans of Red Bull around the world, according to its website.”
“Red Bull the drink, which spawned an army of competitors, quickly became a marketing juggernaut with major investments in sports and media companies. Mr. Mateschitz reportedly sank as much as 30 percent of his profits into public relations and marketing.”
“Through its prolific sponsorship of sports teams and athletes, both conventional and cutting-edge, he cultivated a daring and high-performance image for the drink. For Red Bull, The New York Times wrote in 2006, ‘sports is marketing, and marketing is sports — and the company won’t stop until the two things are one.’” READ MORE
THE 21 HATS PODCAST
A Founder’s Year: Successful Raise, Fast Growth, and Mental Health Issues: This week, Hans Schrei tells Shawn Busse this has been a difficult year at Wunderkeks—despite many outward signs of success. It has to do with buying into the need to raise money and shoot the moon. It has to do with accepting the accolades that come with entrepreneurial achievement and then questioning your own self-worth when those accolades stop coming. It’s what Hans calls, “the miracle worker complex.”
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Thanks for reading, everyone. — Loren