Weekend Reading

2 March 2019 | by Ensemble Capital

A summary of this week’s best articles. Follow us on Twitter (@INTRINSICINV) for similar ongoing posts and shares.

The New Retirement Plan: Save Almost Everything, Spend Virtually Nothing (Anne Tergesen @annetergesen, and Veronica Dagher, @VeronicaDagher, Wall Street Journal)

With an increased desire to retire early, many individuals are choosing to live with an exceptionally frugal self-imposed mandate to save as much as possible before hitting their desired retirement date.  Some individuals, such as Sylvia Hall, are able to save as much as 70% of their after-tax income, setting firm limits in every part of their daily spending.

Facebook boasted of buying Instagram to kill the competition: sources (Josh Koman, @joshkoman, New York Post)

The Federal Trade Commission launched a new task force this week to investigate Facebook’s acquisition of Instagram six years ago.  The move highlights the Federal Trade Commission’s power to undo tech deals previously approved.  The center of the investigation includes a document from a high-ranking Facebook executive that claimed that the purpose of the acquisition of Instagram was primarily to eliminate Facebook’s competition.  Facebook could face hefty fines as a result of the investigation.  The Federal Trade Commission has issued fines of up to $5 billion in previous cases.

Making Moisturizer for Men – And Then Creating A Market For It (PYMNTS, @pymnts)

After getting married to what she described as “very much a guy’s guy”, Mia Duchnowski started to notice that her skin care products began to disappear. Her husband had been using them for himself.  So with friend and Co-Founder Laura Cox she started Oars + Alps, a line of skincare and grooming products geared towards men.  The line has been incredibly successful thus far, hitting shelves at Target and beyond.  “We do really well with this guy who is on the arc of adulting. He is getting rid of his Ikea furniture. He’s upgrading his life, and so he’s also upgrading his skin,” Duchnowski told The Chicago Tribune.

Starbucks’ new 32,000-square-foot store in Tokyo is its biggest in the world (Danielle Wiener-Bronner, @dwbronner, CNN Business)

Starbucks opened its biggest Roastery to date in Tokyo this week.  Starbucks’ Roasteries are large, lavish stores that feature specialty coffees and an experience for customers that they want to return to.  “In Tokyo, customers who visit the Roastery will be able to order elaborate drinks like black tea lattes garnished with turmeric cotton candy and jasmine teas topped with popsicles. They’ll be able to gaze at cherry blossoms through glass walls, and sip beverages on an outdoor terrace.”  Starbucks isn’t just selling coffee, they are selling an experience and a feeling for their customers.  Todd Wenning recently wrote a blog post on companies Delivering on What Customers Really Need.

Is Wage Growth Higher Than We Think? (Michael Morris, Robert Rich and Joseph Tracy, Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas)

Employers, employees and investors alike are all concerned with the degree to which the U.S. labor market generates higher pay for workers.  A standard measure for calculating wage growth suggests that this expansion is not improving the lives of workers, but a new analysis by the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas shows that actual wage growth may be quite a bit higher.

The Hidden Cost of Stressed-Out Workers (Jeffrey Pfeffer, @JeffreyPfeffer, Wall Street Journal)

Stress is the leading workplace health problem.  It’s not just employees that are hurt – employers bottom lines can be dramatically affected by the negative consequences of stress and unhealthy work places.  Companies often don’t realize the cost of unhealthy work environments on their revenue and profits.

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