A hedge-fund wunderkind, top YouTube talent managers, and what Robert Shiller's worried about


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You might not have heard of Jesse Cohn, but you’ve almost certainly heard of the companies he’s been shaking up.

As Bradley Saacks and Casey Sullivan report, Cohn, the 39-year old right-hand man to billionaire investor and Elliott Management cofounder Paul Singer, is the driving force behind an activist campaign targeting AT&T. 

Bradley and Casey write: 

A review of his career should be required reading for AT&T’s board: From falling into finance as someone who didn’t know what he wanted to do in his early 20s to becoming Paul Singer’s attack dog on some of his most influential campaigns, Cohn has developed a reputation as a feared investor with the means to change America’s blue-chip corporations.

Conversations with more than two dozen of his colleagues, competitors, detractors, and friends also reveal an evolution. Cohn has developed a more diplomatic touch, as his targets have become larger and overhauls need approval by long-term shareholders, such as BlackRock, State Street, and Vanguard. 

This gives Cohn even more influence when he goes after a company like AT&T. 

Read their story: We talked to 24 people about the hedge-fund wunderkind at Elliott who wants to shake up AT&T. Here’s why management should be terrified.

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Who to know: UK tech, Wall Street, YouTube talent management

As well as profiling the likes of Jesse Cohn, we published three lists this week highlighting the people to watch in UK tech, on Wall Street, and in YouTube talent management. Check them out:

  • UK Tech 100: The 100 most influential people shaping British technology in 2019
  • Meet 2019’s Rising Stars of Wall Street shaking up investing, trading, and dealmaking
  • The top 14 talent managers for YouTube creators and influencers who are shaping the future of digital media

We Isn’t Working

The WeWork story just keeps on going. This week our reporters focused in on WeWork’s troubled $850 million Lord & Taylor building. As Dakin Campbell and Meghan Morris write, “one need look no further than this trophy asset at the heart of New York’s real estate scene to understand the company’s current fate.”

Meanwhile, Shona Ghosh revealed that WeWork cofounder Adam Neumann personally invested $30 million in a startup and loaned money to its CEO. The CEO then got fired over alleged gross misconduct. And Meghan reported that Neumann lent money to phone distributor PCS Wireless this spring, showing how his family office is investing beyond startups. 

As Shana Lebowitz reports, the WeWork fiasco has employees wondering if their shares have been set on fire. She talked to experts who said most tech startup workers are in the dark about how much their equity is worth.

Rebecca Ungarino and Shannen Balogh meanwhile reported on the damage WeWork has wrought on Wall Street. The coworking company’s rapid decline could cost Goldman Sachs $260 million, according to one estimate, and analysts are likely to be queuing up to ask about WeWork on JPMorgan’s earnings call this week. 

Lastly, the commercial real estate tech industry is gathering at a huge WeWork-anchored building in New York this week. Alex Nicoll asked speakers and attendees what they will be focusing on.

Every company is a tech company

Every company is now a tech company. With that in mind, Joe Williams has been zoning in on what the tech, information, and data chiefs at America’s biggest companies are focused on. Here’s a selection of his recent stories:

  • Walmart has 1,500 data scientists and is hiring more amid a push to adopt artificial intelligence. The retailer’s chief data officer recently shared the 3 questions that guide all its AI projects.
  • The CIO at $32 billion Autodesk uses Amazon’s ‘working-backward’ approach to solve a persistent problem with tech projects. Here’s how it works.
  • Nationwide’s CIO on how to succeed in the first 90 days on the job, and why you shouldn’t be afraid to make mistakes
  • A CIO who made the rare jump to CEO shares the 3 steps ambitious tech leaders should take if they ever want move up the ladder

What else should we be writing about? Let me know.

— Matt

Finance and Investing

Nobel laureate Robert Shiller forewarned investors about the dot-com and housing bubbles. Now he tells us which irrational market behaviors have him most worried.

The Nobel Prize-winning economist Robert Shiller knows market excess when he sees it.

Charles Schwab looks back on his 48-year-old firm’s major turning points, and tells us what’s in store for the future of personal finance

Charles “Chuck” Schwab has made his name synonymous with personal investing.

Dyslexic, failing at school, and partially blind: How Larry Hite overcame the odds to become one of the most successful self-made stock traders using a strategy that’s ‘accessible to anybody’

Larry Hite isn’t your typical Wall Street trader. 

Tech, Media, Telecoms

How The Trade Desk’s Jeff Green became ad-tech’s most loved CEO and one of Google’s biggest critics, and how he plans to save targeted advertising

Few people have watched the digital advertising industry change more than Jeff Green.

Here’s the pitch deck payments-automation startup Tipalti used to raise $76 million from investors, including former top Twitter execs Adam Bain and Dick Costolo

Adam Bain stepped down as Twitter’s chief operating officer three years ago, and since then, he’s been on the lookout for fast-growing startups to invest in — and with whom he could share what he learned from leading a fast-growing startup.

Popular direct-to-consumer brands like Away, Dirty Lemon, Glossier, and Mailchimp are pouring money into building content studios as they go beyond performance marketing

After spending millions of dollars on marketing on Instagram, Google, and Facebook over the years, in 2019, Zak Normandin pulled the plug on paid marketing on social media entirely. The founder and CEO of Iris Nova, parent company of buzzy beverage startup Dirty Lemon, decided to build its own content studio instead.

Healthcare, Retail, Transportation

A doctor’s office that charges $150 a month and doesn’t take insurance just raised $26 million to take its model national

Parsley Health, a new kind of doctor’s office that charges a monthly fee and doesn’t take insurance, is planning to take its business virtual. 

Andreessen Horowitz just promoted a VC rising star to figure out how software will transform healthcare. Here are the top 3 areas she plans to invest in.

The venture capital firm with the tagline “software is eating the world” thinks it’s now time to apply that to your doctor’s office, too. 

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