September 16, 2022

Today's Topics

Good morning! Roger Federer is planning to retire from tennis, just a few weeks after fellow icon Serena Williams also called it quits. Federer cracked the top 10 on the list of highest paid athletes last year, despite barely playing competitive tennis.

Today we're exploring:

  • Photoshopping. Digital design giant Adobe is paying up to buy a rival.
  • Michelin stars. The best cities for foodies, as told by a tire company.
  • MERGE. The second biggest cryptocurrency just changed forever.
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Yesterday software design giant Adobe announced a $20bn deal to buy Figma, its browser-based rival that was only founded in 2012.The idea for Figma came to a 19-year-old Dylan Field, who had dropped out of Brown University after accepting a $100k grant from technologist Peter Thiel. The grant was one of 20 designed to encourage young over-achievers to leave college and pursue ambitious work outside of traditional higher education. Field grasped the chance and decided, with his co-founder Evan Wallace, to take on the world of digital design. That decision worked out.

With a relentless focus on making design software that was more collaborative and lightweight, Figma, and competitors like Canva, have been snapping at the heels of Adobe's tools like Photoshop and Illustrator for the last decade. But, as stiff as that competition has been, it hasn't stopped Adobe from having a remarkable decade of its own. Around the time Figma was getting started, Adobe was realizing that recurring subscriptions of its creative design software, rather than one-off sales, might be a better long-term business model. The result? A subscription business that last year was 21x the size it was in 2012.

Airbrush the details

Adobe will be looking to add to its roster of design subscription products, which is why acquiring a red-hot competitor like Figma makes a lot of sense on paper. But, Adobe has seriously splashed out to get the deal done. Figma is expected to pass $400m in annual recurring revenue this year, meaning Adobe has coughed up roughly 50x Figma's annual sales. That's an extraordinary price that didn't go down well with investors when paired with an underwhelming quarterly report. Adobe's shares are down 20% since Wednesday, wiping some $30bn+ from the company's value.

The Michelin guide, the essential foodie bible, now includes Toronto — making it the first Canadian city to be featured in the guide. The tire company awarded a total of 13 Toronto restaurants a coveted Michelin star, with one even getting 2 stars.

The best of the best

Toronto’s 13 restaurants are an impressive starter, but the city has some way to go to compete with foodies #1 bucket-list location, Tokyo. The Michelin guide loves the land of cherry blossoms, with 201 restaurants claiming an award in Tokyo, and two other Japanese cities (Kyoto and Osaka) joining the capital in the top five. Home-favorite Paris takes the second spot with 118 restaurants, London grabbed 70 and New York claimed 65.

Initially a guide to help motorists plan their trips, the Michelin guide was a list of places to eat and take shelter for the night. The first stars were awarded in 1926, expanding to the 3 star system now known around the world in 1933. Since its expansion outside of Europe the guide now rates over 30,000 establishments in over 30 territories.

Along with geographical expansion, the guide is also modernizing. Recognizing the growing environmental concern, the guide now has an award for sustainable gastronomy. Although not new, there is also the Bib Gourmand for those that prefer prices closer to their local pizzeria, with awards going to food at moderate prices, usually less than $35 a meal.

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For those with crypto-loving colleagues or friends, you may be sick of hearing about "the merge". For the uninitiated however, there was some big news in the crypto corner of the internet this week as Ethereum underwent a transformation in a bid to reduce the complexity and energy consumption of the world's second-largest cryptocurrency.

Developers successfully executed on the plan, known as the "Ethereum merge", which fundamentally changes how the cryptocurrency validates transactions on the Ethereum chain. The move, away from a type of blockchain that uses "proof-of-work" towards an architecture using "proof-of-stake", is set to reduce the need for power-hungry computers. According to crypto researchers, the change is set to reduce Ethereum's energy consumption by some 99.95%.

That's a big deal because, like Bitcoin, Ethereum has historically used an enormous amount of energy to validate its transactions. Digiconomist estimates that the energy consumption of the two combined would rank 27th on a list of the world's most energy-intensive countries.

Ethereum > Bitcoin?

After skyrocketing in the last 2 years, cryptocurrencies have fallen back to Earth in 2022, losing a combined $2 trillion in market value — and Ethereum has been no exception. The total market value of all Ethereum is currently somewhere around half of Bitcoin's. Time will tell whether this major infrastructure change will see Ethereum finally unseat its rival.

More Data

• The UK is paying their respects to Elizabeth II in classic British style — lining up in a 5-mile queue to see the Queen lying in state.

• The Earth now owns the $3bn outdoor fashion brand, Patagonia, with its ~$100m yearly income going towards fighting climate change, keeping people needing those Patagonia jackets.
Walmart has launched a new feature, Be Your Own Model, which lets users virtually model clothing on your own body (you just have to send Walmart a full-body photo first).

Wren is a website where you can calculate your carbon footprint and then find projects to help offset that footprint. Join the 10,389 other people who signed up this month to tackle the biggest problem of our generation.**
• Great chart showing the fastest growing fields of study in the US. • A new purple tomato that may help prevent cancer, reduce inflammation and protect from type 2 diabetes is coming soon to a supermarket near you. • More than 500 hours of content is now uploaded to YouTube every minute. Put another way, that means that every 3 hours the equivalent of Netflix and Amazon's entire catalogues are uploaded to YouTube.

• Want to be 6 inches taller? All you need to do is pay $150k and break both femurs.

**This is sponsored content.

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