March 22, 2024

Today's Topics

Good morning! It’s Friday, congratulations. Today we’re exploring:

  • Reddit vs. Meta: No social company makes money from ads quite like Meta.
  • Space stuff: We’re launching more stuff into orbit... way more.
  • Not-so-Gucci: Kering’s flagship brand is struggling.
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Ticker RDDT began trading on the New York Stock Exchange yesterday, as Reddit became the first social media platform to go public since Pinterest in 2019, with investors aggressively upvoting Reddit’s shares, which closed 48% above the initial offering price.

Investors presumably see potential in the company, which currently monetizes its users at a fraction of what industry giant Meta achieves. Last quarter, Meta reported making $12+ for every one of its global daily active users across its Family of Apps... while Reddit reported a more modest $3.42 of revenue per daily active user. Indeed, despite its uniquely organized communities, which should theoretically be an advertiser’s dream, Reddit is yet to turn its model into a profitable one, reporting a loss every year since its founding in 2005 (to the tune of $91 million last year).


However, Reddit might not have to rely on advertising forever. Its unique topic-focused structure has become a valuable reservoir of content and data for training AI models; in fact, the company struck a $60 million licensing deal with Google last year.

Zooming out: Yesterday’s debut values the company at ~$8 billion, smaller than peers like Snapchat ($18bn) and Pinterest ($23bn), and less than 1/100th of Meta’s valuation (nearly $1.3 trillion).

Hard launch

We are launching more stuff into space than ever before. Indeed, us Earth-dwellers launched a record-breaking 2,664 objects into space last year… with the US — be that American companies or government agencies — responsible for 81% of them.

That’s per recent numbers from the United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs (UNOOSA), via Our World in Data, which revealed that the number of objects launched into space (everything from satellites to crewed spacecrafts) rose by almost 200 in 2023.

Brave new world

Decades on from the space race, the boom in launches has been variously attributed to lower launching costs, cheaper parts to build satellites and spacecrafts, and the rise of the private space industry, with companies like Elon Musk’s SpaceX turning space exploration — that used to be a government-only-affair — into big business. As of last December, Musk’s company was responsible for more than 80% of commercial space launches in the US in 2023.

While there’s clearly rapid progress being made in the space space, some are starting to ask at what cost: for example, piles of junk and debris have been amassing over decades as Earth-orbiting objects deteriorate, which could artificially brighten the night sky and cause other unwanted side effects.

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Gravity comes for Gucci

After years of strong growth (pandemic aside), Gucci is falling out of favor. The brand’s parent company, Kering, has warned that sales of its flagship brand are expected to be down ~20% year-on-year in the first quarter. The announcement sent shares in Kering down 14%, wiping more than $6 billion off the company’s value, as demand in the crucial Asia-Pacific region softens.

In 2023, Gucci sold nearly $11 billion of luxury goods, making up over half of Kering's total revenue and nearly two-thirds of its profits. Now, as the flagship brand's allure dims in China — which has been the engine of its growth for much of the last decade — Kering will look to the remainder of its budget-breaking portfolio of labels, including Saint Laurent, Bottega Veneta, and Balenciaga, to make up the difference.

Solo misery

Misery loves company... but unfortunately for Kering, these sales woes are mostly its own, with rival luxury behemoths LVMH and Hermès both announcing double-digit sales growth recently.

Indeed, Gucci rides economic cycles arguably more strongly than other high-end labels with the buzz surrounding its designers appealing to “aspirational shoppers” — think people who might own 1 or 2 luxury pieces rather than an entire wardrobe — who are often the first to cutback on luxury spending in downturns. Company execs will be hoping that a burst of creativity from a new designer will get Gucci back to being Gucci.

More Data

• Is Pepsi okay? Subway stores are switching out Coca-Cola drinks for PepsiCo offerings across the US for the next 10 years from 2025.

• Donald Trump’s TruthSocial, a social media platform that had just ~860k monthly users at the most recent estimates, is reportedly preparing to go public at a $6 billion valuation.

• Nvidia’s latest hot product is a $50 company-branded Stanley cup.


• The crops that stand the best chance in a changing climate.

• A great visual exploration from Rest Of World on generative AI’s tendencies to stereotype.

Off the charts: Which company, that has just announced a 50:1 share split, were we charting about last October? [Answer below].

Answer here.

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