Scientists Find the Happy Gene

  • Netflix Reports Record Numbers, But the Investors Aren’t Happy
  • Bill Gates’s Top 5 Breakthrough Technologies of 2019
  • Free Access to the American Disruption Summit for Readers of One Last Thing
  • Geneticists Discover the Secret Gene for Happiness and Zero pain

Netflix Reports Record Numbers

*Record Scratch* But the Investors Aren’t Happy

Netflix released its quarterly earnings report yesterday and, despite some record-breaking numbers, investor response was lukewarm. (And, as we all know, lukewarm is the worst temperature.)

The Queen of Streaming attracted a record number of subscribers in Q1 of this year, blowing analysts’ projections out of the water.

  • Internationally, 9.5 million new users signed up for on-demand prison drama and Jeff Dunham specials.
  • Netflix took $4.5 billion in revenue this quarter, up from $3.7 billion in Q1 of 2018.
  • The company reported earnings of $344 million, or 76 cents a share. That’s an increase of 12 cents a share from this time last year.

Despite this, Netflix’s stock dropped 5% almost instantly when the report was released. The stock eventually recovered to a 3.04% gain by the end of day. The stock remained volatile today, fluctuating wildly in the morning trades.

But what was it about the report that put the wind up investor’s skirts?

Stranger Things

Despite a record number of subscribers this quarter, only 1.7 million of those users were home-grown, domestic users from the good ole U.S. of A.

Investors are likely worried that domestic growth is slowing due to an increasingly crowded market place.

In the last few weeks, both Apple and Disney announced their own streaming services. And Disney’s slate of original content is making it look like a serious competitor.

Disney recently released details of several exclusive Marvel series that will rip characters (and A-list actors) straight from the blockbuster movie universe.

And The Mandalorian (a Star Wars epic with a Game of Thrones budget) is the kind of show that could make or break a platform. (As long as it doesn’t upset the rabid fan base.)

Meme

I’ve created a monster! Well, technically the graphics department created a monster. But nobody blames Igor for making a Frankenstein. (Incidentally, the true-crime doc Making a Frankenstein is coming to Netflix this fall.)

But with only 1.7 million users in the U.S., investors are worried about slowing domestic growth.

In a video released yesterday afternoon, Netflix CEO and stock photo of a middle-aged man Reed Hastings said that he welcomes competition in the streaming space. The more people that cut the cord from cable and change to the streaming mindset the better.

“There’s a ton of competition out there,” Hastings said. “Disney and Apple add a little bit more, but frankly I doubt it will be material because again there’s already so many competitors for entertainment time.”

Netflix’s projected numbers for weren’t as optimistic as our old pal Reed, however.

Projected earnings were down to just 55 cents a share, down from 85 cents a share this time last year and far lower than analyst predictions of 99 cents a share. (Don’t be too hard on them. They are just guessing after all.)

U.S subscribers for Q2 are predicted to fall as low as 300,000, which fits the narrative of slowing growth. Though Netflix attributes this effect to a recent price increase which they expect to level off in the coming months as folks adjust to the new norm. (The New Norm should have been the name of Norm MacDonald’s Netflix series.)

CEO Reed Hastings sees the future of television as an all streaming, no cable service, where customers subscribe to multiple platforms instead of paying one big cable bill.

Could you make the switch? If not, what is the one thing that could tempt you to cut the cord forever?

Click here and we’ll discuss it in tomorrow’s Reader Comments section.

Bill Gates’s Top 5 Breakthrough Technologies of 2019

Bill Gates has released a curated list of the top ten breakthrough technologies of 2019. And one of them is a tasty burger.

These discoveries run the gamut from our stomachs to our sewers to nuclear reactors. But each breakthrough promises to revolutionize their own respective industries and, according to the alpha nerd himself, define “this moment in technological history.”

In a lengthy introduction to the list, published in MIT Technology Review, Bill compares 2019’s breakthrough technologies to the miracle of the plow. (A lot. Seriously, there’s like 3,000 words here on how good plows are. We get it, Bill. You like plowing.)

“My selections include amazing new tools that will one day save lives, from simple blood tests that predict premature birth to toilets that destroy deadly pathogens,” says Bill.

“I’m equally excited by how other technologies on the list will improve our lives. Wearable health monitors like the wrist-based ECG will warn heart patients of impending problems, while others let diabetics not only track glucose levels but manage their disease. Advanced nuclear reactors could provide carbon-free, safe, secure energy to the world.

Here’s a lightning round breakdown of Bill’s top 5, with the full list available on Technology Review’s website:

  1. Robot Dexterity

Robots suck at picking up stuff.

They’re great for crushing bones and killing all humans. But when it comes to tasks that require a more delicate touch, they suck.

Until now.

“Using what’s known as reinforcement learning, neural-network software learns how to grasp and turn the block within a simulated environment before the hand tries it out for real,” says Bill. “The software experiments, randomly at first, strengthening connections within the network over time as it gets closer to its goal.”

The result is a learning robot that can deal with the messiness of real life and change tactics on the fly. (Can you say, “pick up my boxers robot butler!”)

  1. New-Wave Nuclear Power

There’s a new wave of nuclear reactors getting close to completion. (This “new-wave” is unrelated to the genre of music that gave us the B-52 masterpiece Rock Lobster.)

This new wave of reactors are smaller, generate more power, can save money, and reduce environmental risks (like exploding and killing everyone in a 10-mile radius).

  1. Predicting Premature Births

Stephen Quake, a bioengineer at Stanford, has developed a simple blood test that can determine if a baby will be born prematurely.

Doctors can then take steps to prevent early birth for as long as possible and give the baby the best chance for survival.

  1. Pill-sized gut probe

Guillermo Tearney, a pathologist and engineer at Massachusetts General Hospital, is developing a swallowable capsule that contains a miniature microscope.

The tech can be used to test for cancer, deadly gut diseases, and a host of other illnesses. (No longer will we have to shrink down Martin Short and inject him into our bloodstream in a tiny space ship.)

  1. Custom Cancer Vaccines

A German startup called BioNTech is developing a vaccine for cancer cells.

Each vaccine would be custom made for the patient and would train the body to identify the presence of cancer and shut it down before it happens.

“By using the body’s natural defenses to selectively destroy only tumor cells, the vaccine, unlike conventional chemotherapies, limits damage to healthy cells,” says Bill. “The attacking immune cells could also be vigilant in spotting any stray cancer cells after the initial treatment.”

And the rest…

The full list, available on Technology Review’s website, includes the meatless burgers we’ve been watching closely here at OLT. As well as a wearable ECG smart watch and a sewer-free sanitation system.

Which of Billy’s favorite tech is your favorite?

Click here and let me know if you’re on Team Cancer Vaccine or Team Underwear Robot.

Free Access to the American Disruption Summit for Readers of One Last Thing

Before we move on to today’s One Last Thing (about the discovery of the human super hero gene), I want to make a quick announcement.

Risk Hedge is currently holding its American Disruption Summit, and they’ve extended a free invite to readers of One Last Thing.

This emergency summit is being held to discuss disruptive market forces that investors need to be aware of.

What is disruptive tech? Disruptive tech is an innovation that shakes up industries. Some folks will lose a lot of money as a result. But those who back these disruptive force stand to make a fortune.

Risk Hedge has gathered four leading experts on predicting tech disrupters for the American Disruption Summit — including the “prophet” of predicting mega trends George Gildner. (George actually predicted the iPhone all the way back in 1990.)

After the summit, Risk Hedge’s chief investment officer, Chris Wood, is going to tell you all about a “disruptor” stock pick that’s set to soar 500%, no charge and no strings attached.

Over the last 15 years, Chris has developed a formula that reliably finds these kinds of stocks before they achieve massive gains.

This formula helped him spot Amazon (AMZN) way back in March 2012, when nobody knew it was going to take over the world. His readers who got in and held on have earned a whopping 722%.

His team picked Google (GOOG) back in 2012 too, years before it grew into one of the most profitable companies on earth.

Although these gains are substantial, they’re small compared to some other examples. As Chris will be quick to point out, disruptors like these routinely see 5,000% profits or better.

Click here now for free access to the American Disruption Summit and get in on the ground floor of the biggest disruptive trend in history.


 

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ONE LAST THING

FAAH-OUT, Man

In the sleepy highlands of Inverness, Scotland, is a woman who feels no pain. (Two doors down is a woman who feels okay.)

66-year-old Jo Cameron has debilitating arthritis that should be agonizing.

But even though she can barely move her thumb, she says it “feels fine.”

In fact, everything “feels fine” to Jo.

Because she’s got drugs in her genes.

A Life Without Pain

Despite a history of the usual health problems a 66-year old will experience over the course of a lifetime, Jo has never felt pain.

When her hip was replaced, she took no drugs. When she gave birth, she described the experience as a “tickle” (bottle that and you’ll be a millionaire overnight).

On multiple occasions, she’s burned her hands, only to realize it when she smelled the pungent odor of burning flesh.

But what’s even more remarkable is how “chill” Jo manages to stay under pressure.

Recently, she was in a violent car crash. But she felt no stress or anxiety. (And I can tell you from experience that car crashes are at the very least mildly stress inducing.)

That’s because Jo has a special gene that pumps her body full of relaxing, pain-relieving drugs 24-7.

Your Body is a Temple, Mine is a Drug Factory

The gene is a mutation of a gene called “FAAH.”

The genetic researchers who discovered the gene in Jo (and who are very funny) are calling this new chiller version of the gene the FAAH-OUT gene. (This isn’t a joke.)

This gene produces elevated levels of a cannabinoid known as anandamide in the human body. Anandamine promotes feelings of euphoria, happy feelings, and pain relief.

It’s produced in small amounts during exercise. But Jo has 75% more anandamide in her blood than the average person.

This revelation gives researchers hope for creating a natural pain-reliever and anti-depressant that could be produced by your own body.

If they could, would you make the switch?

No pain and a constant euphoric high… but you give up your pain response, which is considered to be integral to our survival.

Click here to tell us if you want drugs in your blood.

 

Computer icon

MARKET MOVEMENTS

Closing Data for 4/16/19

DJIA$26,453.27↑ 0.26%
S&P Index 500$2,907.15↑ 0.05%
NASDAQ$8,000.23↑ 0.30%
Gold$1,279.50↓ 0.91%
Silver$14.92↓ 0.40%
Bitcoin$5,234.30↑ 3.67%

  • United Airlines (UAL) expects Boeing’s (BA) grounded 737 MAX jets to resume service this summer.
  • FCC chairman opposes China Mobile Ltd’s bid to provide telecommunications services in U.S., cites national security risks.
  • Despite a decline in trading revenue, Citigroup (C) delivers the least-bad report from big banks in the first quarter. Decent Job, Guys!

 

Messages icon

READER COMMENTS

Click here to send us your comments and tell us what you think. Do you agree with us? Do you think our ideas are stupid? Bring it on. We can take it.

Yesterday I put the question to the readers: Should lab-made, plant-based meat substitutes be allowed to have the word “meat” in their branding? Or would, as the FDA suggests, it only confuse some poor folk?

No meat (just yet at least). Let them call it “veggie-meat”, but watch out for the Aussies, who might be concerned with unsuspecting consumers mistaking it for Vegemite. — Ray S.

Maybe they should call it “I can’t Believe It’s Not Meat’ — Larry W.

I think I will drink a ‘coke’ with my next ‘meat’ burger, and if I spill any, I will just wipe up with a ‘kleenex’. Some words are in the public domain now, regardless of their original intent, because they define a generally understood concept, not because anyone can successfully defend their proprietary usage any longer. Vegetable based ‘meat’ is here to stay. By the way, have you tried some? Yum? — Jackson G.

What gives you the confidence to assume that the average consumer (or, to be fair and accurate, a minority of actual consumers) won’t think that soy milk comes from soy cows? After all, according to some survey or another, 7% of American consumers believe chocolate milk comes from brown cows… — Andrei L.

Maybe, just maybe, if folks think that chocolate milk come from brown cows, the problem goes deeper than branding, Andrei. I would be very interested to see where those numbers come from.

Jackson, I eat about three burgers a week these days. If I didn’t swap out at least one of those for a veggie alternative or a slab of tuna, I’d be dead before the end of the year. I’ve had the Beyond Burger and it’s actually pretty good. Still doesn’t beat the real deal, but I need to get my fix somewhere.

Cheers,

Shane Ormond
Editor, One Last Thing

Chris Campbell

Written By Shane Ormond

Shane Ormond is the managing editor for One Last Thing. In a previous life, he wrote and edited copy for International Living in Waterford, Ireland.

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