Messing With Harry Potter, Pharrell Is Happy For Wal-Mart? and The Great Depressing American Dream

Stephen Colbert is at war…

Image courtesy of bplanet/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of bplanet/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

If you thought messing with iconic Harry Potter author JK Rowling was bad, Amazon now must contend with the extremely witty Stephen Colbert who has entered the drama currently being played out between Hachette publishing and Amazon.com. Colbert also happens to be a Hachette author with his 2012 publication of America Again: Re-becoming The Greatness We Never Weren’t. Good thing he has his own nationally broadcast show, The Colbert Report, where he was able to vent that he was “not just mad at Amazon … I’m mad Prime,” and then basically informed Amazon founder and chief Jeff Bezos that the two men are at war. He also brought out a sticker campaign boasting the phrase “I Didn’t Buy It On Amazon.” Of course, it wouldn’t be right if Colbert didn’t employ his (pixelated) middle finger to which he graciously informed his audience that “customers who enjoy this, also enjoy this.”

It’s Wal-Mart party time…

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

In case you were looking for Pharrell on Friday, he was in Arkansas partying with Wal-Mart. Yes. You read that correctly. As part of its annual shareholders meeting, attended by 14,000 plus Wal-Mart employees from all over the globe, Wal-Mart threw itself a massive, self-congratulatory, star-studded event. Naturally it wouldn’t be a Wal-Mart party without its very own protestors but the list of things being protested against Wal-Mart is way too long for this blog. Newly anointed CEO Doug McMillon, who took over the retail giant’s reins in February, told the attendees of his big plans to speed up change and keep pace with emerging technology. Robin Thicke, Avicii and Florida Georgia Line were all part of the entertainment line-up while the incomparable Harry Connick Jr. emceed the festivities replete with dunk tanks and zip-lining. All while the CFO applauded Wal-Mart’s $473 billion in sales and $28 billion in income which is ironic since Wal-Mart’s sales have been going down for the last five quarters.

Sweet Dreams aren’t made of these…

Image courtesy of Theeradech Sanin/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of Theeradech Sanin/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

According to a new poll with depressing results, six in ten Americans feel turning their dreams into a reality is…but a dream. Over a thousand people were surveyed and most feel they’ll be worse off than their parents. Most also feel children will not be better off than their parents and while most Americans have more wealth than their parents, it’s primarily because there are now two earners in a typical household. The perceptions are based on current economic conditions and the fact that most people are finding it harder to get better jobs with better pay. But the silver lining (if you want to call it that)? There are two: 1.Parents still believe their kids can succeed, though it will be harder. 2. This poll was about perceptions which don’t translate to facts. Don’t you feel so much better now?

Dr. Dre Takes A Bite Out of Apple, Amazon/Hachette Smackdown and I Said Jet-Set Not Jetsons!

An Apple a day…

Image courtesy of samuiblue/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of samuiblue/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Dr. Dre must be in a very good mood now that Apple (AAPL) is forking over $3 billion to him and his fellow Beats Electronics co-founder Jimmy Iovine. After weeks of talk and rumor, the deal is official. Some feel that the deal might have happened sooner had Dre not bragged about becoming hip-hop’s first billionaire in a leaked video. Apparently Apple wasn’t down with that move. But hey, better late than never. Apple, however, was definitely down with the way Beats music subscribers paid for the service which they previously received for free. So next time you find yourself in an Apple store with a few hundred dollars lounging around in your pocket, take comfort in the knowledge that you just might be able to purchase some tricked out headphones that last year pulled in over a billion dollars in revenue.

Oh no you didn’t!

Image courtesy of adamr/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of adamr/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

The latest drama to play out in the corporate school yard is brought to you by Amazon and book publisher Hachette. So whose side are you going to take? Well let’s see now. How do you feel about Robert Galbraith aka JK Rowling? And just how eager are you to read that author’s new novel, The Silkworm? If you were thinking about buying the title from Amazon you might want to look elsewhere since it’s a Hachette book. Pre-ordering the title from Amazon isn’t an option (anymore). Amazon and Hachette were trying to negotiate how much to charge for Hachette’s books. Amazon wanted Hachette to reduce its prices. They couldn’t agree. Btw, Hachette pulled in $3 billion in revenue for 2013. Amazon pulled in $75 billion. Gee, I wonder who has the upper hand here?

Jetting off with Michael Kors…

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Michael Kors earnings flew way past Wall Street predictions by almost $100 million, which does little to explain why its stock was going all over the place today. Though investors would argue that they aren’t enthusiastic about its gross margins as the company goes forward. In a corporate conference call the term Jet Set was used. A lot. Apparently “Jet-Set” is way cooler and more cost-benefitting than saying “luxury” or “ultimate” or whatever…No doubt a marketing firm was paid handsomely to come up with this theory. Anyways, the self-proclaimed “jet-set” company pulled in over $900 million in revenue and overall had more than a 50% increase over last year. The company might want to send a thank you note to Europeans who are totally getting behind the Michael Kors label/brand and helped increase revenue there by a very jet-setting, luxurious, ultimate 125%. So I guess that gives it leeway to call itself whatever it wants.