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Breakfast Briefing: Lyft’s COO, Tesla Losses & the ECB Talks Crypto

Lyft Poaches Tesla Sales Head

Jon McNeill has left Tesla to become Lyft’s COO.

Editor’s Remarks: The high-profile hire is Lyft’s latest attempt to dethrone Uber as competition as the ride-hailing space heats up. Tesla’s CEO Elon Musk has said that the company’s global sales team, which McNeill had previously headed, will now report directly to him. Musk also confirmed that Tesla will not be actively hiring for a replacement. McNeill will now fill the space left last year when Lyft’s former COO, Rex Tibbens, left the company after playing an influential role in its emergence. In the past 12 months, Lyft has increased its market share by 50% and received a $1.5bn investment from CapitalG, Alphabet’s private equity division.

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Black Lives Matter Leader Killed

Muhiydin Moye, a prominent figure in the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement, was shot dead.

Editor’s Remarks: Moye was shot dead in the early hours of Tuesday morning in a residential area of New Orleans as he rode his bike. He reached international fame in 2017 after a video of him jumping over police tape to take a Confederate flag away from a right-wing protestor went viral. Moye was shot in the thigh and died in the hospital after excessive blood loss. Details on the identity of the killer are so far unknown and the only police statement made is scant on details. The killing is likely to further incense the USA’s racial tensions, which have continued to rise over the past 12 months.

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Snap Shares Rocket

Snap’s Q4 2017 earnings report helped push the company’s share price up by 48% in a day.

Editor’s Remarks: Following several quarters of stagnant user growth, Snapchat reported that 8.7m new daily active users were brought in over Q4 2017 for a total of 187 million. The announcement was welcome news for some investors who have so far only seen their paper losses mount after the company’s controversial IPO last year. The uptick in performance follows Snap’s efforts last year to redesign the interface of its flagship app. There is now a clearer separation between publishers and personal contacts, making the entire user experience less convoluted and overwhelming.

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Tesla Reports Largest Ever Loss

In the final quarter of 2017, Tesla reported a $675.4m loss.

Editor’s Remarks: Just after launching his own Tesla Roadster into space aboard SpaceX’s Falcon Heavy, Elon Musk reported that Tesla turned its largest-ever quarterly loss. In the final three months of last year, the company lost nearly $700m, compared to just $121 in the same period last year. The uptick in spending is due to the delayed production of the Model 3, as well as the company’s controversial decision to develop its own semi-truck, which is now available for pre-order. Overall, the company is around six months behind its production targets for the Model 3, lending weight to Musk’s critics.

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The ECB Talks Cryptos

The ECB is concerned about the threat of virtual currencies to existing markets.

Editor’s Remarks: Yves Mersch, an ECB board member, said that the virtual currency market could “drain liquidity from the real world”, which would create trouble for the world’s central banks. So far, policymakers have largely dismissed cryptocurrencies as a real market, until the world watched as bitcoin soared to nearly $20,000 before the crash this year. Despite rumours that the burgeoning asset class would soon be banned, many nations are in fact embracing the new technology, perhaps for fear of missing out on the economic growth that blockchain might facilitate. Singapore announced this week that a crypto ban is off the cards.

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