🍋 Meme Economy is So Back

Trading volumes for the top memecoins hit $80B last week, plus Apple in talks to license Google's Gemini for generative AI.

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“The most important quality for an investor is temperament, not intellect. You need a temperament that neither derives great pleasure from being with the crowd or against the crowd.” — Warren Buffett

Good Morning! Tech stocks led a surge in the market on Monday - and probably no coincidence it came on the same day Elon Musk said his ketamine use is in his investors’ best interests. Alphabet gained as much as 7% on the report Apple wants to let Google’s Gemini power iPhone’s AI features. Private equity firm Carlyle Group bought the Seattle Reign FC as women’s soccer team sales surge. And Goldman’s Stephanie Cohen is the latest to join the firm’s female executive exodus.

Plus 3 ways to become more influential at work, and why genuinely connecting with people has very little to do with talking.

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SQUEEZ OF THE DAY

Meme Economy is So Back

Remember back during the pandemic when everyone and their dog (literally, Dogecoin) was getting into cryptos and sh*tcoins like it was the new gold rush? Well, thanks to crypto’s 2024 rally - it looks like memecoin billionaires are making a comeback.

The key differentiator between memecoins and other cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin or Ethereum? Memecoins have no inherent value - just hype. 

It’s an odd time for meme coins to be making a resurgence. Traders don’t have the same stimulus-fueled, lockdown boredom of 2020 and 2021 anymore. But even despite high interest rates and job cuts in the air, some retail investors are spending tens of thousands of dollars on memecoins like Pepe and Dogwifhat.

Trading volume for the top memecoins hit $80 billion last week. And for some investors, the allure of quick riches from digital doggies in hats is still irresistible. Bitcoin might be garnering hype from institutional investors on Wall Street, but these smaller tokens are still thriving on nothing but hype.

In one of the most bizarre stories, Slerf, a sloth-themed memecoin, raised $10 million in a presale and gained instant popularity after the founder accidentally “burned” all the proceeds.

In memecoin land, the more bizarre the story, the better it is for the price to moon. At time of writing, SLERF had reached $3.2 billion in trading volumes with ~1 million individual trades from 150k traders.

George McDonaugh, a crypto investment guru, sums it up perfectly: "We’re in an attention economy." Why bother unraveling the mysteries of Bitcoin's blockchain when you can get rich off a dog in a hat? And right now, the gains are as real as they come, with Dogwifhat tokens up 546% in the last month, and Bonk up nearly 3,000% YTD.

Takeaway: The thrill of easy money is hard to pass up, but a lot of crypto investors are still haunted by the last market crash. With Bitcoin ETFs fueling an $800 billion crypto rally, the scene is set for even more memecoin rallies in 2024. Honestly, who wants to wait 50 years for the S&P 500 to compound when you can 10x your money in a day?

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HEADLINES

Top Reads

  • Apple in talks to let Google's Gemini power iPhone AI features (Reuters)

  • Tech stocks led a jump in US stocks on Monday (YF)

  • Carlyle buys Seattle Reign FC, as women's soccer team sales surge (Axios)

  • Goldman executive joins exodus of top female staffers (Reuters

  • Musk says his ketamine prescription is in investors’ best interests (BB)

  • Advent, H&F are among firms eyeing $3 billion Synopsys unit (YF)

  • Bitcoin may start to lose its reputation as a volatile asset (CNBC)

  • From Wall Street to Chicago, why stock exchanges ring bells (CNN)

  • Arkhouse bid for Macy's nears diligence, but activist to continue proxy fight (CNBC)

  • Mnuchin’s interest in TikTok, NYCB echoes his investment playbook (YF)

  • Doctors are turning medical generative AI into a booming business (CNBC)

  • Swiss bank UBS targets US deals, says chairman (Reuters)

CAPITAL PULSE

Markets Rundown

Stocks closed higher as tech rebounds.

Movers & Shakers

  • (+) Tesla ($TSLA) +6% after after Model Y price hike in U.S., Europe.

  • (+) Alphabet ($GOOG) +4% on report Apple is in talks to license Gemini AI for iPhones.

  • (–) Super Micro Computer, Inc. ($SMCI) -7% during the company’s S&P 500 debut.

Private Dealmaking

  • PPRO, a payments platform, raised $93 million

  • Unstructured, a data preprocessing solutions, raised $40 million

  • Eye Security, a Dutch cybersecurity startup, raised $39 million

  • Relation Therapeutics, a drug discovery platform for osteoporosis, raised $35 million

  • Sealed, a residential energy efficiency startup, raised $30 million

  • Voi, a Swedish e-scooter company, raised $25 million

For more PE, VC & M&A deals, subscribe to our Buysiders newsletter.

BOOK OF THE DAY

Private Equity: A Memoir

When we meet Carrie Sun, she can’t shake the feeling that she’s wasting her life. The daughter of Chinese immigrants, Carrie excelled in school, graduated early from MIT, and climbed the corporate ladder, all in pursuit of the American dream.

But at twenty-nine, she’s left her analyst job, dropped out of an MBA program, and is trapped in an unhappy engagement. So when she gets the rare opportunity to work at one of the most prestigious hedge funds in the world, she knows she can’t say no. Fourteen interviews later, she’s in.

Carrie is the sole assistant to the firm’s billionaire founder. She manages his work life, becoming the right hand to an investor who can move mountains and markets with a single phone call. Eager to impress, she dives headfirst into the firm’s culture, which values return on time above all else. A luxury-laden world opens up for her, and Carrie learns that money can solve nearly everything.

Playing the game at the highest levels, amid the ultimate winners in our winner-take-all economy, Carrie soon finds her identity swallowed whole by work. With her physical and mental health deteriorating, she begins to rethink what it actually means to waste one’s life.

A searing examination of our relationship to work, Carrie’s story illuminates the struggle for balance in a world of extremes: efficiency and excess, status and aspiration, power and fortune. Private Equity is a universal tale of self-invention from a dazzling new voice, daring to ask what we’re willing to sacrifice to get to the top—and what it might take to break free and leave it all behind.

“A gripping memoir of one woman’s self-discovery inside a top Wall Street firm, and an urgent indictment of privilege, extreme wealth, and work culture.”

DAILY VISUAL

Canadian Bankruptcies Rising

Canadian business insolvency filings

Source: Apollo

DAILY ACUMEN

Mimetic Desire

Navigating our desires and distinguishing them from societal influences is crucial for personal fulfillment and independence. René Girard's concept of mimetic desire sheds light on how our wants are often not inherently our own but are mirrored from those around us. This realization prompts a reflection on the authenticity of our aspirations.

Whether it's career choices, relationships, or lifestyle ambitions, understanding that desires are shaped through a social lens can liberate us from the cycle of endless wanting. By identifying and categorizing the models that influence our desires, we can begin to discern which aspirations truly resonate with our core selves.

The journey towards authentic desires involves a critical examination of the systems and people that shape our wants. It's about moving beyond the mimetic nature of desire to discover what genuinely brings joy and fulfillment.

This process is not about completely rejecting external influences but about integrating them in a way that aligns with our personal values and goals. Ultimately, living an anti-mimetic life is about grounding our pursuits in something deeper than societal expectations, thereby crafting a life that is not only true to ourselves but also rich in personal meaning and satisfaction.

ENLIGHTENMENT

Short Squeez Picks

MEME-A-PALOOZA

Memes of the Day

 

 

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