tv Bloomberg Technology Bloomberg February 9, 2021 5:00pm-6:00pm EST
shares declining after the bell. some of the biggest names on wall street and silicon valley, names like j.p. morgan chase, coastal ventures, are pumping billions of dollars into mom-and-pop shops, selling everything from tea kettles to remedies on amazon. we will talk to someone snatching the up and comers in hopes of creating new global brands. self-driving upstart aurora does a big deal with toyota in addition to uber. we hear from the ceo about when driverless cars will become a mainstream reality. all those stories in a moment. first, investors debating whether commitments from the fed and biden administration will let the economy run hot and spark destabilizing inflation. walk us through the day. >> let's kick it off with earnings.
kicking off with twitter in particular. use our revenue beat estimates. -- you saw revenue beat estimates. shares appreciating that in post market trading. the company in line with other big tech companies, warning of slower user growth. switching to cisco, those shares under pressure. its turning beating next -- earning beating expectations. some pain as some people switch away from data centers into cloud services. back in the green for lyft. those shares rally just shy of 9% after a 44% drop off the pandemic hit. that sounds like bad news, but it is good news given you saw customers get more revenue. really big tech led the way today. a bit of a step back for the s&p 500. the new york bank index up when percent in market trading.
-- 1% in market trading. we can't talk about markets without hitting either gamestop or bitcoin. today it is bitcoin's turn. i want to switch to a three-month chart on that. bitcoin crossing the 48,000 level in intraday trading. this coming off the comments from elon musk yesterday. it is this narrative in the market that there is a surge for return. you are seeing riskier assets like bitcoin catch quite a bit. this is after we have seen quite the drop in credit spreads as well. emily: thanks so much. we will continue to follow these results. cisco highlighting $3.6 billion in quarterly software revenue. believe i believe this is the first time they are breaking out software revenue. meantime, reddit announced it is
raising $250 million from private investors, riding a wave of attention after users of the social media site drove stockmarket frenzy. for more on the details, we are joined by bloomberg's priya anon. has this been a long time coming? >> reddit has seen so much attention in the last few weeks. you have to think they are capitalizing on all this attention now, which is sometimes the best time to raise money. this gives them a $6 billion valuation, up from their $3 billion valuation they got in early 2019. emily: that said, how do they plan to continue to make money? that has always been reddit's struggle.
>> reddit said when they announced this fundraising that their advertising revenue went up 90% in the last quarter to quarter ending, december, compared to the year prior, which seems like a lot. they say they will use this money to build on that and build on their video efforts. they also said they are planning to double their staff this year to about 1400. emily: what is actually happening inside the wall street bets thread at the moment? the positions we have been having, it sounds like -- the conversations we have been having, it sounds like the power of the retail investor is here to stay. is that momentum they are banking on? >> reddit's ceo has given few interviews.
basically one interview to the new york times about this. we have been asking here at bluebird as well to hear their thoughts on what wall street bets means for the company. he said this kind of platform is peak reddit, basically, that wall street bets is among his favorite forums on the platform. they are really leaning into this. clearly wall street bets, steve huffman called it the glue that is tying most of america together right now in an interview a couple weeks ago. emily: i wonder, if not just wall street bets, do we see that activity lead into other kinds of threads, or is it really about that particular group itself? >> i think they view wall street
bets as a culmination of everything reddit has long been about. back in 2007, reddit was involved in helping to name the humpback whale. greenpeace was trying to raise awareness of hunting by japanese fisheries. there was a campaign, what do we name this whale? there was a reddit thread saying let's name it mr. splashypants. that ultimately led to that being the name. this is an example of -- wall street bets, we are seeing the widespread effects of that now. we are seeing how things can really take off on reddit in different areas. this was sort of peak reddit. we have seen people organize on the platform to have real-world effects from naming this little whale campaign that greenpeace
had to, in the real world, reddit had to ban forums related to donald trump supporters after violence at the capitol. also last year a separate forum from inciting violence. this is just sort of the financial version of that. we have seen the impact in the political sphere for some time now. emily: obviously there are certainly risks involved with that for a company like reddit. thanks so much for your reporting. if you catch up with steve huffman, let us know. coming up, wall street bets on amazon small business. i will be speaking with president of branded about why his sites are set on -- sights are set on mom-and-pop shops. this is bloomberg.
emily: wall street is cozying up to amazon sellers. investors increasingly eyeing popular mom-and-pop brands on the marketplace in hopes of scaling the company or acting as a lifeline for sellers who just don't have the resources to grow businesses outside of their garage. the so-called amazon aggregators have surged in the last quarter as more and more venture capitalists are betting big on the average joe or jane's homemade business. i am joined by the cofounder and
president of branded. thank you so much for joining us. you've got money pouring in to these mom-and-pop shops, not just from folks like you. what is so appealing about this idea? >> i think what is appealing is a vast marketplace amazon has invested in and made vibrant and a massive community building businesses and growing. the market place in the u.s. alone is $200 billion and growing year on year. it is really crying for help from companies that can help sca le it further. these entrepreneurs have done a great job getting from zero to one. folks like us can help them get from one to 100. i think the opportunity is amazing. emily: what kind of amazon brands have you purchased? how do you find them?
michael: we have in some cases partnered with the founders, purchased control, but left the founders as partners of ours. business in several key sectors that are big sectors on amazon's marketplace. home goods, kitchen, sports and outdoors, leisure -- these are massive categories that have gone significantly stronger over the last several quarters. it is not just a cyclical trend. it is a secular trend. these are the products and businesses and entrepreneurs where we can build long-term value by bringing marketing capabilities and design and creativity to all the work they have done. we will continue investing in these sectors. emily: how do you view the risks of being associated with only one -- yes, massive, but
just one platform? michael: when you have the biggest e-commerce platform in the world as an effective partner, when they have done the hard work of putting in literally hundred of billions of dollars of warehouses and connected more than 100 million homes in the u.s., it is both the biggest opportunity and you have to treated with respect and caution. -- treat it with respect and caution. there is complete congruence of objectives. amazon wants to find the best product for its customers. we have over 700,000 reviews. as long as we do our business well and help the business do even better and provide great products and customer service, this is all upside for them and us. emily: that said, amazon is facing scrutiny from washington
on how it treats third-party sellers, the data it gathers, data is uses potential he to create its own products. do you have any concerns about that, that amazon isn't just your friend, but could in some future world be your competitor? michael: not at all. we are tiny fish in a massive ocean that amazon has created. our revenues are still in the hundreds of millions. their marketplace in the u.s. alone is over $200 billion. we have a long way to go before there is even a hint of conflict or misalignment. they have a massive company and have built an incredible ecosystem. if they can find partners like ours who treat that marketplace with respect, abide by the rules and help them create great brands and companies or consumers, i really don'ts ee --
don't see an issue. emily: are there kinds of companies you think will do well with this model, whether it is toys or health and beauty or tech gadgets? michael: yes, some great ideas there. we can talk off-line and help us find some of those. emily: [laughter] michael: one of the common denominators of those you mentioned is our name is branded. it wasn't picked up by coincidence. we believe, long-term, to create real value, we have to find ways to create emotionally connective brands to consumers. we will be active across the marketplace. long-term value will be graded when you help the entrepreneurs build enduring brands where people can relate emotionally, not just qualitatively to their
products. it has to continue with great design and great customer service and great products updated across the categories. emily: have you had any business owners that said i like owning the relationship with my customers and don't want to give up that power? michael: frankly, those are the ones we would like to talk to the most. the best partners for us, the business owners that will sell or partner to us are the ones that are so emotionally connected to what they built but are running out of runway. it is hard for them to finance working capital and work internationally and do marketing, etc., but they don't want to give up. we have done a few of those where we can help take them to the next level, bring them the
resources a big company like ours can bring. we would like to talk to as many of those as possible. emily: let's say you buy up nine of the 10 mom-and-pop shops selling one particular brand of stuffed animal. i'm just thinking, i've got a lot of kids. i've found it to be a disparate experience. there is this last company that does not want to sell out but does not have the power to take on a combined entity. is that in the end not good for small business? michael: i don't see it that way. this is the modern version of the thriving marketplace that existed in every city. either farmer's markets on the weekends or on city streets, what amazon enabled is small business is flourishing online.
it could not have come at a more critical time than the time we are in now. as much as we would like to feel good about our start, we have a long way to go to create a big enough to print that -- enough footprint that would tilt the market in any way. and every year there is new merchants coming in, younger, hungrier, more creative entrepreneurs coming in. i think some of them will remain independent, some will partner with us. the most important benefits to consumers, as you said, there will be some you have a meaningful relationship with. you want to come back to it as you search for new things. you will diversify and find what you like on amazon, which is
what their mission is. emily: i will be watching, or should say shopping. michael ronen, branded cofounder and president. thanks so much for joining us today. also founding partner of softbank's vision fund. some big news, the senate officially voted that president trump's impeachment trial is constitutional and will move forward. six senate republicans voting in favor of the trial continuing. of course the debate was whether or not it was constitutional to impeach a former president. the senate voting to move forward with the trial. it will resume at noon wednesday. coming up, a mixed fixture -- picture from twitter and lyft, even though both companies impacting after hours shares.
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emily: twitter and lyft reported fourth-quarter results. it added fewer new users than projected and warned that audience gains in 2021 will slow . lyft inching closer to break even and squeeze in more revenue out of each customer as a result of deep cost-cutting. our ed ludlow has been diving into the numbers. let's start with lyft. what are the headline takeaways? ed: rides obviously down. there is uncertainty when people will go back to ridesharing. it is unclear when people will be comfortable doing so. let's go through this process of cutting costs in 2020. less than expected, but wider than a year ago. it is vowing to make a profit this year, saying it will
absolutely record an adjusted profit for the quarter. lyft does not have that diversified business like uber does. they don't have the eats functionality. they don't have these other bets they have been working on. they are confident they can be profitable at a lower volume of ride and have a healthy business as the rides pick up. emily: let's move on to twitter. also not great numbers. we are now post the banning of president trump, who probably added some oomph. what are you seeing there? ed: twitter recorded a 15 second quarter where user growth was above 20%, but the outlook is murky. that is worrying, because a lot of twitter's revenue growth has
been based on them growing users. this has put twitter in context. they have 37 million monetize about active users in the u.s. you compare that to facebook, instagram, it is a small proportion of the digital ad space. they think its growth will taper off. they benefited from holiday spending when it came to ads, but the question investors have is what will drive growth now? will twitter turned to a subscriber model -- turn to a subscriber model? president trump no longer on the platform. how will that show up in the earnings? emily: what understanding do we have about how big the trump bump, if there was such a thing, actually is? i interviewed the cfo quarter after quarter and he refused to say president trump had any outsized impact on the service.
ed: they did acknowledge in the release that significant events, for example the u.s. election, played into some of the traction the platform got. the idea there was no trump bump -- the reason he did not show up in this quarter's earnings release is the president was not removed from twitter until january 6, so we will not know until next quarter's earnings the direct correlation between user growth. analysts will be asking that question of twitter executives. emily: i will be sitting down with the twitter cfo tomorrow and i will ask that question. thanks for breaking that down for us. coming up, start up aurora is partnering with the world's largest automaker and the largest ride-hailing network to make self-driving cars a more mainstream reality. we hear from the ceo next.
emily: welcome back to "bloomberg technology." i'm emily chang. self-driving upstart aurora has reached a long-term strategic partnership with toyota to mass-produce driverless cars and launch them on ride-hailing -- ride-hailing platforms including uber. it's valued at $10 billion. the aurora ceo is joining us, great to have you back here on the show. tell us about this new partnership and how it will work.
chris: it's wonderful. toyota is the world's leading auto manufacturer. will ultimately deliver it to ride-hailing customers and we are extremely excited about the partnership and aligned with their vision of mobility for everyone. emily: the toyota sienna minivan was chosen as the first toyota vehicle to have the aurora driver. why a minivan? is the first use case shuttle service, or something else? chris: it seems like an excellent platform for that, it's comfortable, spacious, it can help people get where they are going. we think it is the right platform and we are excited to get going with it. emily: do you see a shuttle service or more of a ride-hailing use case, given the initial scenario? chris: it's a platform to move
all kinds of vehicles. a little while ago we announced a partnership with one of america's largest truck manufacturer so we expect our first application to be in large freight, these big heavy duty trucks. those will be operating on the freeway and then we will be working with toyota and taking the aurora drive capability, it has the unique ability to see a long way down the road. coupling that with the sienna platform, a significant fraction of ride-hailing trips require you to drive on the freeway to get where you were going. those of us who live in the bay area, going up to san francisco, you have to use a free way to get there. we think that combination of technology and great partnership will pave the way for us to bring the aurora driver to
market. emily: toyota is obviously the largest automaker in the world, so this gives you a huge, high-volume manufacture. i'm curious how the service actually rolls out. toyota invest in uber, uber invest in aurora. how does the service roll out, and who is responsible for the fleet? chris: we think about it as bringing three of the best in breed together. we're focused on building the driver and enabling our partners to build their businesses. uber is the world's leading ride-hailing platform. you put the three of them together, we can deliver an incredible experience to huber's customers. we can make getting around safer and more accessible and over time, bring the cost down. we are really excited about that prospect. emily: you mentioned some of the other deals you've been making,
with all these deals stacking up, how confident are you about bringing autonomous cars to the masses, and when? it's one thing to have these cars out there in limited quantities, but it is another for them to become mainstream. chris: that was a concept and founding aurora. we were able to bring together an incredible group of people who understood the challenges and are able to bring the next generation of technology to market in the space. what you've seen over the last couple of months is a kind of validation of what we have been building, and being able to align with one of the largest truck manufacturers, we cannot be more excited about where this is going and we will be bringing it to market a safely and quickly as possible, salute forward to more soon.
-- so look forward to more soon. emily: there has been a lot of speculation about apple in the race. your co-founder worked at tesla. you have to be thinking about the competition. curious, how are you preparing for competition on the apple front? do you see in them as being a formidable competitor in this race? chris: apple is incredible whatever they set their mind to. i think aurora really focused on building the best team and having the best technology and we work with anyone who wants to build their business. the power of the aurora driver will allow a lot of companies to benefit. we would love to work with everyone. emily: does that mean you would work with apple? chris: absolutely, of course we
would work with apple. they are an incredible company. emily: you have any inclination as to how far away they might be from a self-driving electric car? chris: no, we focus on what aurora is building. we continue to ask celebrate -- to accelerate. the way we have combined machine learning with a conventional algorithmic approach, we have conviction we will get there quickly and deliver something that matters. emily: the world and transportation is changing, especially as we come out of the pandemic. it's anyone's guess what the new normal looks like and how much we will be in cars, shuttles, or riding a bus. curious what that world looks like to you as we get back to some sort of new normal, but after going through this dramatic change. chris: i think the reason we
have cars today is because it's convenient and efficient to get from one place to another. whether we have a pandemic or not, we still need to get places, and so i'm a big believer that by making that underlying capability, whether to get goods or people through the world safer, so fewer people are injured or killed on our roads, making it more convenient , democratizing the access. let's not forget the cost of transportation is one of the largest costs for any of us. making all of that safer, better, less expensive over time, that is going to matter in the future state of the world. and we are proud to be building a company that cares about delivering this technology in the right way to the market. emily: so what did the roads look like in five years, and
what is aurora's role in that? chris: in five years we will still see a mixture people driving cars and trucks and aurora driven vehicles on the road. we will begin with building with our partners trucks that can drive themselves. they will work from just off the freeway to getting off at depots at the other end. that will start to make it safer to move goods through the world. in parallel with that you will start to see the aurora driver helping to move people through the world, getting them from down the peninsula to up the peninsula, or across houston or dallas. those initial applications will come to market and then as we understand better how people need the technology to work, we will refine that and continue to grow in the decades ahead. emily: we will be watching and
influencers and think it is an amazing life, what people don't realize, it's sometimes not real. emily: fake famous is taking a look at how easy it is to manufacture a fake online presence and portray your life however you would like to to the world. i'm with the director of the documentary, also the author of a couple of books and longtime former journalist, i should say. nick, we are all sort of grappling with what is fake and what is real in the world of social media. i'm curious what sparked this idea, because i'm sure you went into this with some hunch just what you would find. nick: i went into it with a hunch but i did not know how the whole social experiment was going to work out. i've been on the show many times before talking about tech.
i've been covering this world for 15 years or something crazy like that. i've seen the rise of it happen with people, influencers wanting to be famous, and we had this idea that let's see if we can take random people with no followers on social media, i could buy them a bunch of props, who fake photo shoots and see if they could become famous as a result of it. and for one of them, it actually happened. emily: so how easy was it to make someone fake famous? nick: it wasn't that easy, it was a lot of work, actually. you have to buy the bots, you constantly have to buy likes and photos.
it wasn't that easy, but the return on the investment was pretty astounding. we picked three people, i won't tell you what happened to two of them, you have to watch a movie to see what happened. one of them succeeds, and she can literally tag a brand on her instagram and they would switch over like we want to give you free shoes, a free mattress. it was completely wild to see this. i came away from it realizing that social media companies do absolutely nothing to police it. emily: that was my question, instagram, twitter, facebook, tiktok, they are not going anywhere. as they rack up more users, what is the point you're trying to make? what do you want users to learn from it? nick: 87% of kids today want to be a famous influencer. that is their dream job. 40 years ago they wanted to be a
doctor or teacher or astronaut. now that is their goal, they want to be famous influencers. i think it's a pretty bad commentary on the state of society. most of these influencers are not real. it's based on complete space metrics. on the others, you have the companies that are doing nothing to police it. there are hundreds of millions of fake accounts on social media. the reason is because they get to pretend they have more users than they really do. if instagram really cared and tried to kill this, they would probably have half the users that they say they have on social media. emily: it's funny, we are reporting twitter results today and you wrote a book on twitter. much of the companies be doing? you have a call to action here. nick: i think they should take responsibility and actually
police this. we saw it happen with politics. donald trump and hillary clinton , when they were running for election, both of them had half of their accounts, tens of millions of accounts that were fake, that were not real. you have fake bots that are interacting and sharing fake news. the reality is, at the end of the day, it is not in twitter, facebook, or instagram's best interest to solve the problem because the companies would not be valued at what they are and that would not have as many users as they claim to have. emily: your subjects are all impacted bite differently. what is the take away their in terms of the impact on them, and how should we also be thinking about the impact on the consumers? nick: the biggest take away for me, one of the people we follow ended up getting bullied online
and he closed his account while we were filming the experiment. that led us to look into social media and depression and so on. when you look at the numbers, the rise of social media is concurrent with the rise of teen depression and teen bullying. there are literally graphs you can put on top of each other and they show just how much these products and services contribute to the problems that our kids face in society today. the guilty is to follow them is instagram. -- guilty is -- guiltiest of all of them is instagram. instagram has made it a game. every single kid who is on that platform has to be. emily: instagram has said they've been trying to experiment and not show as many
likes. have you not seen the impact of that? nick: they said that about two years ago that they were going to start experimenting with that. they rolled it out in a few different places and then it seems to kinda have stopped and went away. it turned out the reason they hadn't done that, what we were told from people who work in the space is because they were trying to serve up more ads. if you look at 10 photos on your instagram, one of them is an ad, then you are actually only looking at nine photos. when there's three or four ads, your privacy going to like less things, and the numbers of likes that a famous celebrity gets are going to go down. so they were trying to hide those metrics. if they really cared, they wouldn't make the first thing you see when you click on someone's profile the number of followers that they have. i personally think it is devastating for kids who use the
platform. emily: on that note, i'm very strict about my children, no faces on social media. i let them post a video on youtube making some candy concoction in the kitchen, no faces, though. i can see the impact that the rush that a couple of likes gives to an eight-year-old boy. you have kids. how should we be gatekeeping our kids access to these services, or should we cut them off completely? nick: when i began i thought you could teach your teenagers, now i think he should do it when they are for a five years old. the other thing is, all the tech executives i've talked to over the past 15 years, none of them that their kids use their own platforms. steve jobs didn't let the kids use an ipad. the folks at twitter didn't let their kids use twitter or youtube and so forth. if the people building the
platforms don't let their kids use them, maybe we should be urging our kids to do the same thing. emily: really an excellent documentary, director of fake famous, good to see you. it's now available on hbo and hbo max. match group announcing it will acquire the south korean video technology company hyper connect for 1.7 billion dollars in cash and stock. it will help expand online dating and push features on his app. since the pandemic, match has been adding video tools like video streaming. hyper connect is profitable, generating more than 200 moving dollars in revenue last your. coming up, more of "bloomberg technology." ♪
emily: to some, apple ceo tim cook may lack the artistic genius of steve jobs, but equally important in apple's transformation is his abilities to usher in an era of manufacturing in major order products. joining us to discuss his exclusive feature on tim cook is mark. i remember the day steve -- steve jobs passed away. it was hard to imagine apple being anyone else's company. but tim cook has to some extent remade the company into his own style of leadership. i'm curious what you think are the most significant changes that cook has made in his time as ceo. >> i remember that day, too. accrete -- crazy day. people thought, who is tim cook?
he was extraordinarily under the radar when he took over for steve jobs. it probably took until 2013 him to make apple known. he did a leadership shuffle elevating a few executives who are no longer there. early putting his stamp on the company. he made privacy and charity work really core values there. more importantly, apple is a business, he supercharge the idea that by making it you could make it at quantities never seen before for consumer devices. he did that by relying on working closely with china and foxconn and other factories, and having apple engineers on the line there, making sure of design both in quantity and quality. that has been his mark on apple. you seen it in things like
expanded product lines. when he took over, they only sold two iphone models, whereas today it is seven. there was one ipad model when he took over, today there are five. there's the apple watch, the ipods. he has enabled expansion because of his manufacturing prowess. emily: i don't want to give too much away because it's an excellent piece in the newest edition of bloomberg businessweek, so i will urge our viewers to check it out there. before you go, i want to ask about your reporting on amazon's newest device. what is it, when is it launching, what do you know? mark: i wrote this morning that the next echo device mounts to your wall like a poster or picture frame. it will have a touchscreen like a tablet, you control it with alexa. it will have video chat.
it's basically an all-in-one smart home control device. it's like an echo for your wall. you can control all your lights and play music and video chat with it. emily: any expectations about how andy jassy will run the division once he takes over as ceo? mark: my expectation is he will be fairly hands-off, as you know it's run by an executive who runs the organization with free reign. whereas jeff bezos has a lot of high-level input on the devices as well, given his new executive chairman role. i would expect that relationship to continue for the foreseeable future. emily: two great pieces out today, thank you so much for stopping by. that does it for this edition of "bloomberg technology."