business news in context, analysis with attitude

Regarding Amazon's acquisition of One Medical, MNB reader Frank Rich wrote:

I'm not sure I would be so concerned with One Medical sharing my medical history/data with Amazon's other businesses...but are there any laws keeping One Medical from accessing the enormous trove of data that Amazon has on me?

They know a lot about what I eat, if I buy exercise equipment or clothes, if I watch too much TV...

Fair point.

Another MNB reader wrote:

Have we seen this movie before?  Amazon acquires PillPack to revolutionize the pharmacy business.  Amazon acquires Whole Foods to upend the grocery sector.   Amazon teams with Warren Buffet and JP Morgan to rethink health insurance.  How are these moves/movies faring in creating the new normal?  Primary care requires the ability to manage well educated health care professionals making highly regulated clinical decisions in a complex healthcare ecosystem.   As IBM Watson demonstrated, physicians do not respond well to being told how to do their job by computer algorithms.  Fool me once ...

On another subject, an email from MNB reader Lori Buss Stillman:

I applaud Apoorva Mehta’s decision to leave Instacart. The passion, talent and skills required to build a successful organization is dramatically different than that which is required to lead and grow and public company. More executives – and their boards – would well serve the organizations they lead by knowing where their strengths lie and when those strengths become a liability.

Instacart – and their stakeholders – will likely benefit greatly from aligning the leadership for the future with the new expectations and requirements that come with their next chapter.

Responding to yesterday's story about Albertsons' Q1 numbers, one MNB reader wrote:

Of course dollar gross and net revenue is up- that’s not a surprise give all the price increases and inflation.  Which has resulted in a whopping additional $39.4 million in profit margin for ABS.  Prices increases benefit retailers since they typically take the retails up much prior to the actual increase date and their margin increases accordingly.  Interesting that several large retailers are “pushing back” against price changes - they certainly don’t seem to offset most of them.

Yesterday, MNB took note of a Wall Street Journal report that Shopify is laying off about 1,000 employees, representing about a tenth of its global workforce.  Founder-CEO Tobi Lütke took responsibility for making a bet - that e-commerce sales would continue to grow apace even as the pandemic receded - that didn't pay off.  "Ultimately, placing this bet was my call to make and I got this wrong," he wrote.

Prompting MNB reader Mike Bach to write:

Nice to see a CEO take personal responsibility. His was a major strategic mistake which could have been balanced with more customer behavior and a better analysis of the market, to understand what truly was scalable.

Makes me wonder what level of rigor the Board of Directors consider when brought to them.  It would be easy to buy into the hubris of eCommerce growth but several false positive signals were there. Did the Board put in their own due diligence?  (Even get asked?)

Finally, regarding our story about  how Stew Leonard's gave each one of its 2,500 employees a single lottery ticket for Tuesday's Mega Millions drawing, which had a whopping $830 million jackpot, one MNB reader wrote:

This is the first I've seen you every mention anything about Lottery.  I' be interested in what else you have to say about it. Walmart is putting Lottery in all their US stores where allowable.  Lottery players in c-stores generally add other items to their purchase.

To be honest, I don't know much about lotteries, so I don't have any strong feelings about their efficacy.  I may have to buy a ticket this week, though.