New York City in Trouble?

We've been concerned about New York City since we started and it finally seems like others are coming around to realize how much this retail situation is affecting things. "One by one, cherished local shops are disappearing, replaced by national chains or, worse, nothing at all."  Welcome to the party pal. And so the New York Times proposes some solutions, including a "vacancy tax." Good luck with that. 

Automotive & "Talking Your Book"

Faraday Future Keeps the Drama Coming

The New York Times Magazine does a deep-dive this week into the future. One of the reporters says about self-driving cars"...I think we're all radically underestimating how much will change once they arrive." On the road to this radically transformational future, there'll surely be winners and losers. We've talked about this beforeFaraday Future, the would-be challenger toTesla, looks more and more like a loser every time we read something about it. But let's take a step back: we're wildly aware of investors talking their book, so to speak, in an effort to affect bond pricing, bond trading, or management behavior in the midst of restructuring discussions. They may plant something fundamentally untrue in, say, Debtwire, with the hope that the market will read it and market forces will bend to their benefit. Oldest trick in the book. But we're not sure we've ever seen the next-level sh*t reported here: that is, that someone purportedly created a fake FF powerpoint presentation to suggest an imminent bankruptcy and force out the company's main financier. Choice response: “These documents were not created by Faraday Future, nor were they created on behalf of Faraday Future or at Faraday Future’s request,” said a spokesperson. Interesting. Was this the work of some sloppy lawyer or banker who left a pitch-book sitting around? (Haha, probably yes). Inquiring minds want to know.

Retail: It's All About Merchandise. Peace Out Mickey Drexler (J. Crew)

 J. Crew's Mickey Drexler blames merchandising and, in this case, a retail exec may actually be telling the truth. In a wildly inept kind of way (note: this blurb was in our newsletter that came out yesterday, Sunday, June 5. As of a few minutes ago, Drexler has been binned by the company. Later Mickey). Particularly since the New York Times dumped on the company's CURRENT merchandise right before the holiday weekend which, guessing here, probably turned off some potential customers. So, this ain't a legacy issue...clearly. Meanwhile, we're slowly becoming fan boys of Professor Scott Galloway. If you're unfamiliar with him (like we were until recently), we recommend you listen to this interview here (podcast). He's insightful about technology and we particularly like how he sh*ts on WeWork - a company that makes absolutely zero sense to us from a valuation perspective. Anyway, his piece "Shark Repellent -- Fighting Amazon" is one of the more succinct summaries on what it takes to combat the "Amazon Effect."