Good morning, Quartz readers!
What to watch for today
The UK releases June inflation data… Price increases are expected to hold steady at a four-year high of 2.9%, as the pound recovers from its post-Brexit depreciation. Economists predict retail sales to have rebounded from a May decline.
…And unveils its Jane Austen £10 note. The polymer note will be revealed by governor Mark Carney on the 200th anniversary of the writer’s death. Besides the queen, Austen is the only woman pictured on an English bank note.
The Palestinian Authority president meets with Xi Jinping. Mahmoud Abbas visits China’s president in Beijing to discuss developments in the Middle East. The leaders are expected to sign several agreements to strengthen diplomatic ties.
While you were sleeping
Netflix stock soared 9% after its second quarter earnings demolished expectations. The streaming company added 5.2 million users around the world, versus analyst estimates of 3.2 million. Netflix said it “underestimated the popularity” of shows like Orange is the New Black.
An activist investor launched a massive proxy battle against Procter & Gamble. Trian Fund Management said it would nominate CEO Nelson Peltz for the P&G board, after five months of contentious discussions. Trian, which owns about 1.5% of the company, has until an annual meeting in October to convince fellow shareholders.
Blue Apron plunged on Amazon’s meal kit plans. The delivery startup’s stock slid 12% on the news that Amazon is trademarking the phrase “We do the prep. You be the chef,” hinting at a move into the already crowded meal kit space. Since Blue Apron’s June IPO, its stock has slid 30%.
Private equity icon KKR prepped for the next generation. Co-founders Henry Kravis and George Roberts named two 40-something executives, Scott Nuttall and Joe Bae, as co-presidents and co-chief operating officers. Designating likely successors mirrors other firms like Berkshire Hathaway, but is a rare move in the private equity industry.
Hampton Creek’s entire board of directors quit. CEO Josh Tetrick is the only remaining board member after at least five of its directors stepped down, citing conflicts with Tetrick. Known for its eggless mayonnaise, the company was a hit in Silicon Valley until a series of controversies, the latest of which caused Target to pull its products from stores.
Quartz obsession interlude
Gwynn Guilford on the hogs that created America’s first urban working class. “Though it’s hard to know exact numbers because no one was counting, during pig-ownership’s peak years, in the early 1820s, some 20,000 hogs roamed the streets of Manhattan. That works out to one hog per every five humans—about the ratio of cars to Manhattan residents today.” Read more here.
Too much planning of / China’s planned economy / For investor tastes
Matters of debate
Business leaders need to read more science fiction. The genre forces us to question our assumptions—the key to solving problems in creative ways.
It’s not Facebook that’s addictive, it’s the drama. There’s a surprising amount of pleasure in being constantly offended by other people’s points of view.
The US opioid crisis is not unprecedented. A similar epidemic beset the US 150 years ago, and doctors solved it by prescribing less addictive painkillers.
There may be dangerous chemicals in powdered mac and cheese. Phthalates have been banned from some children’s products (paywall) for causing birth defects and behavioral problems.
Doctors extracted a blob of 27 contact lenses from a woman’s eye. The 65-year-old hadn’t noticed the “bluish foreign body” until doctors prepped her for cataract surgery.
Tofu was a luxury food in pre-modern Japan. It was an upper class delicacy until it exploded in popularity in the mid 18th century.
An Australian senator resigned after discovering he’s a Kiwi. A leader of the Greens party didn’t realize he had dual citizenship, which disqualifies him from holding office.
A Chinese mall offers “husband storage” pods while wives shop. The free service includes a chair, monitor, computer, and retro 1990s games.
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