We’ll get to the bagel emoji thing at the end of this column. First, here’s what else I’m reading today.
Maybe you should just buy out your investors
You’ve built a company you’re proud of, and taken on funding. Maybe you have investors. What happens when you realize you might be better off without the outside pressure to grow and provide a return?
One drastic solution that’s starting to emerge: Buy them out.
Inc.’s Kimberly Weisul explores the experience of companies like Wistia, a video-hosting company that took on $17.3 million in debt to buy out its investors, and Buffer, which used about $3.3 million to buy out the venture capitalists who had founded its Series A round.
The idea of building, say, a $10 million or $25 million or $50 million company, is likely to be viewed as a failure by big investors. When you don’t have much in the way of outside investment, the same number could mark a life-changing success.
And if it works, it gets you out of that misguided mindset where raising money is a goalpost, when it’s really the starting line.
Here’s a bit of what else I’m reading today.
Toys ‘R’ Us leaves a void
Last week, everyone saw that Toys ‘R’ Us is likely to stage a comeback. It won’t be soon enough for the 2018 holiday season, however, and toy brands are scrambling to fill a $2 billion hole–which is how much business Toys ‘R’ Us did in November and December last year. (Paul Ziobro, The Wall Street Journal)
He was one of the first engineers at SpaceX. Now he’s running his own rocket company.
Jim Cantrell quit working for SpaceX after Elon Musk “yelled at me one too many times,” he told Inc. recently. Now, he’s close to raising $90 million to build a competitor–while trying to avoid his past as an American working for the Soviet space program. (Kevin J. Ryan, Inc.com)
Target vs. the Dollar Store
If you think of Target’s main competition as Walmart and Amazon, there’s another front in the retail wars. Target is coming out with a new line of (mostly) under-$2 essentials and personal care products called Smartly, apparently designed to take on discount retailers like Dollar General and Dollar Tree. (Shelly Hagan, Bloomberg)
After #MeToo, federal sexual harassment cases are up
The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has filed 50 percent more sexual harassment cases on behalf of employees than it did a year ago. The big difference between 2017 and 2018? The #MeToo movement, which not only prompted alleged victims to speak out, but to take legal action. (Bill Murphy Jr., Inc.com)
Apple’s new bagel emoji is totally inedible
This daily report is made in New York (OK, technically “the New York City area”) where we know something about bagels. And the bagel emoji, one of 70 new ones in iOS 12, looks totally inedible. Granted, this is a first world problem, maybe even a New York-only problem. But I thought you should know. (Natasha Frost, Quartz)