All Articles Finance Modern Money While You Were Working - April 3

While You Were Working – April 3

Spotify and millennials, presidents picking winners and losers, failing up, consumer lending, and the Sandberg Silence

4 min read

Modern Money

Sheryl Sandberg

Where fore art thou, Sheryl Sandberg? (Fabrice Coffrini/AFP/Getty Images)

Spotify and millennials

So Spotify launched its non-IPO listing today. Much has been written about the company’s unusual approach to going public, but I just can’t bring myself to care all that much. If Spotify wants to throw a bit of a curve ball at the traditional way of going public, that is fine by me. The market will sort things out.

I did, however, get a kick out of this analysis from Quartz that looks at the relationship between Spotify and millennials. Here is my favorite nugget:

“According to Stockpile, an investment site, the people most excited about Spotify’s market debut are millennials, or those aged 18 to 36. They haven’t shown this much interest in an IPO since Snapchat went public a year ago. It makes sense, as 72% of Spotify’s listeners are millennials. But will they embrace Spotify’s shares as easily as they embraced the company’s streaming service? And should they?”

Well, let’s see how that worked out for all those eager Snapchat IPO investors.


I am not saying Spotify is gonna flourish or flounder, I’m just saying there is a big difference between something popular and something being profitable (Hi @jack, how you doing over there at Twitter?).

Speaking of letting the market sort things out…

A common battle cry of corporate executives, lobbyists, academics, etc. is that the government should not be in the business of picking winners and losers. That phrase is uttered often when governments ponder regulatory reforms or providing subsidies for various entities.

Amid all the headlines about President Trump’s tet-a-tet with Jeff Bezos and Amazon, all those corporate executives, lobbyists, academics, etc. appear to have fallen silent. I guess they don’t want governments choosing winners and losers, but if presidents do it, they are cool with it.

On a related note, I sure hope none of President Trump’s formal (or informal) advisors dumped their Amazon stock right before this feud started.  

Failing Up

Failing to do his job and regulate Wells Fargo has really paid dividends for John Williams, who has now been promoted to lead the all-important New York Fed. The diversity argument that was in the headlines the last week or so was one reason to hold Williams back, but I don’t think it was a good one. I would have gone with good ol’ fashioned incompetence.

And failing up has some history at the New York Fed. Timothy Geithner sat and watched the financial crisis build and explode … and then got promoted to Treasury Secretary.

Main Street lending

Just a couple of weeks ago, we heard bankers and their elected officials touting Main Street consumers as a reason to roll back Dodd-Frank reforms they claimed were hurting community banks’ ability to lend. Now it appears many of those same banks don’t really want to lend to consumers. That sure is some funny timing.

Not for nothing, but…

As Facebook has been getting pummeled these last couple of weeks, one question has continued to rattle around my brain: Where the heck is Sheryl Sandberg? The women many felt would play the role of the “grown up” when she was first hired has been silent. Mark Zuckerberg was slow to speak publicly about the Cambridge Analytica revelations; and once he did start talking he wasn’t very good at communicating with anything resembling clarity.

Certainly Sandberg went though a terrible personal tragedy when her husband died two years ago. But since then, she has found time to write book about grieving. Sandberg is the COO and this stuff happened on her watch. She has experience in Washington and is also a waaaaaay better communicator than Zuckerberg. Where is she? 

WYWW Appetizers

  • This seems ominous…
  • … So does this.
  • This just sounds expensive.
  • Bayern Munich beat Sevilla 2-1. Cristiano Ronaldo rocked a full bicycle as Real Madrid thumped Juventus 3-0.