Three Things (2/22)

Wednesday, Feb 22nd 2023


“We typically turn to the wider world to settle the question of our significance.” 

Alain de Botton, Status Anxiety

Buying Status on Instagram

If you have an Instagram, you know the coveted blue verification tick has often been affiliated with celebrity status. Meta, taking a page out of Twitter’s book, will enable anyone to have it now for a monthly price of $14.99. 

“Indeed, the impact the shiny blue tick—which acts as a benchmark of influence—has on personal branding mustn’t be underestimated. Considering that less than 4% of accounts on Instagram are verified, having the badge appear by your username while searching for accounts or alongside your comment on other people’s photos helps your own stand out among the masses, look notable and build brand awareness. But beware. The symbolic status of Twitter, Facebook and Instagram’s illusive tick will be shattered if it’s available to anyone who can pay for it, leadership experts say.” (Fortune)

Selling Call of Duty?

We’re watching for the results of Microsoft’s standoff against Sony. Microsoft makes Xbox; Sony makes Playstation. Arguably one of the hottest video games of the last two decades has been Call of Duty, made by Activision Blizzard. So, as you might imagine, if Microsoft tries to buy Activision, Sony is going to put up a big fight.

“The closed-door hearing in Brussels will see Xbox chief Phil Spencer and other senior Microsoft executives argue the case for the $68.7 billion deal to proceed, with PlayStation chief Jim Ryan attending to voice Sony’s concerns over the deal…The CMA has offered up possible remedies that include Microsoft being forced to sell off Activision Blizzard’s business associated with Call of Duty.” (The Verge)

Economic Signal: Walmart

In addition to listening to commentary from the Federal Reserve, we track what front-line leaders are saying about the world. Walmart is the largest employer in the US. Here’s what their Chief Financial Officer said:

“We feel good about how the core business is operating, but we’re being cautious with the macroeconomic outlook…There’s a lot of unpredictability around what’s happening, what will be the effect of Fed tightening on the consumer balance sheet, what is the effect of the declining savings rate.” (Bloomberg)

As of this writing, META, MSFT, TWITTER were a portfolio holding of Titan. This security may cease to be a portfolio holding at some point in the future.

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