🍋 Shrinking Salaries

The bidding war for new hires is over, plus dealmaking is back, and all eyes on Fed today.

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Today’s edition is brought to you by Wellcore, who’ve leveraged 120+ studies to create a hormone program enhancing strength, fat loss, bone density, libido, and mood. Use code HELLOVIP for their kit.

“There’s no shortage of remarkable ideas, what’s missing is the will to execute them.” — Seth Godin

Good Morning and Happy Friday! Don’t get your hopes up investment bankers, but it’s been a big week for dealmaking - Dunkin’s owner officially bought Subway, and Shein acquired ⅓ of Forever 21’s operating company, Sparc. And yesterday (August 24th) was America’s most popular ‘sick day’ of the year - are vague Covid symptoms still an excuse to hit the beach in 2023?

Wall Street firms are discussing bankruptcy plans for WeWork. Bloomberg says Taylor Swift, Beyoncé, and Barbenheimer are expected to add billions to the US economy this year. And all eyes are on Jay Powell’s address from Wyoming today.


Shrinking Salaries

The past couple of years have been a great run for job-seekers. Average pay for job seekers escalated year after year. Unhappy with your current job? You could probably secure a 15-20% bump in pay somewhere else. In 2022, 75% of advertised job titles had a higher advertised salary than the prior year.

But this surge in pay for talent seems to have hit a stumbling block. Several companies are now reducing the initial salaries offered to fresh recruits. According to ZipRecruiter, average salaries for most positions have fallen since the previous year.

Companies were at employees’ beckoning call during the pandemic. But now the market is completely different, and companies know they can get away with paying candidates less.

Takeaway: Companies are breathing a sigh of relief as it looks like the worker bidding war may be over. But there’s a glimmer of hope for workers - the overall trajectory of wage growth remains intact, even outpacing inflation for the first time in two-years this June.


Markets Rundown

Stocks closed lower on Thursday after the Nvidia rally fizzled.

Movers & Shakers

  • (+) Guess ($GES) +26% after the apparel company beat earnings.

  • (+) Splunk ($SPLK) +13% after the AI cloud stock beat earnings.

  • (–) AMD ($AMD) -7% after losing ground to Nvidia.

Private Dealmaking

  • Ivest Consumer Partners bought Cloudco Entertainment for $100 million

  • Nursa, a provider of healthcare staffing tools, raised $80 million

  • Fore Biotherapeutics, a developer of cancer therapies, raised $75 million

  • Dice, an event ticketing platform, raised $65 million

  • Thyme Care, an oncology management platform, raised $60 million 

  • Grip Security, a SaaS identity risk management provider, raised $41 million

Get access to private deal flow here.


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Top Reads

  • KKR’s latest bankruptcy deal is a terrible omen for lenders (BB)

  • A tale of two housing markets (Axios)

  • 5 trends in VC funding for pre-seed startups (TC)

  • How Jackson Hole became an economic obsession (NYT)

  • Why SBF is unlikely to get Adderall in jail (BB)

  • There was one bright spot in private market fundraising (II)

  • 81% of workers want a 4-day work week (CNBC)

  • Cava CFO bets on distinct menu to attract customers (WSJ)

  • McKinsey must face bankruptcy racketeering lawsuit (WSJ)

  • The 15 US cities with the highest cost of living (CNBC)


The Coming Wave

We are approaching a critical threshold in the history of our species. Everything is about to change.

Soon you will live surrounded by AIs. They will organize your life, operate your business, and run core government services. You will live in a world of DNA printers and quantum computers, engineered pathogens and autonomous weapons, robot assistants and abundant energy.

None of us are prepared.

As co-founder of the pioneering AI company DeepMind, part of Google, Mustafa Suleyman has been at the center of this revolution. The coming decade, he argues, will be defined by this wave of powerful, fast-proliferating new technologies.

In The Coming Wave, Suleyman shows how these forces will create immense prosperity but also threaten the nation-state, the foundation of global order. As our fragile governments sleepwalk into disaster, we face an existential dilemma: unprecedented harms on one side, the threat of overbearing surveillance on the other.

Can we forge a narrow path between catastrophe and dystopia?

This groundbreaking book from the ultimate AI insider establishes “the containment problem”—the task of maintaining control over powerful technologies—as the essential challenge of our age.

“An urgent warning of the unprecedented risks that AI and other fast-developing technologies pose to global order.”


Doctors Say Do This One Thing to Live a Better Life

Stretching. Taking the stairs. Eating less pizza. All good habits. But these alone will not change your life. What will? Hormone optimization. Here’s why: As we age, our testosterone levels decline big time. That’s just a fact. 40% of men over 40 suffer from low testosterone, as do 20% of men who are ages 25-40.

Low testosterone can wreck our emotional, mental, and physical health. But we haven’t gotten to the crazy part. 95% of men with low testosterone go untreated. 95%!

Enter Wellcore. They leveraged over 120 scientific studies to create The Best Hormone Optimization Program on the Planet. 100% at home and 100% painless.

The science-backed hormone optimization program can improve strength, fat loss, bone density, libido, blood pressure and mood; helping you to combat the aging process.


Short Squeez Picks

  • Seven ways to structure your day and habits to fight burnout

  • The 4 books that helped a self-made millionaire become rich

  • 3 tips to improve your productivity time

  • How the science of choice can boost innovation

  • 7 body language signs someone is uncomfortable around you


Sky High Expectations

Trust and expectations are like two sides of the same coin, especially when you're talking about something as fluid as the tech industry or stock market.

When everything's going great, like Amazon in 2021, it's easy to feel invincible and like you're part of something epic. But as you rightly pointed out, the good times also stack up an "expectations debt." When reality bites back, it doesn't just take a chunk; it takes a whole arm.

The same logic applies to AI, right? We've got these sky-high expectations that it'll solve all our problems, but then comes the reckoning: ethical concerns, job losses, and even just your smart speaker misunderstanding you when you're already late.

So, it's not just about the high; it's about the inevitable low that follows. Expecting endless wins is like borrowing happiness from the future, and the interest rate on that loan? Brutal.


Memes of the Day




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