🌊 Big Mattress in One Bed

It's Mother's Day week, so here's some Mother's Day history. A West Virginia woman named Anna Jarvis created the day in 1908 to honor her own mother who had passed 3 years earlier. By 1910, it was a West Virginia holiday, and then a national one in 1914. The twist? Anna Jarvis spent her later years campaigning against Mother's Day. She felt it had become too commercial, writing:

"A printed card means nothing except that you are too lazy to write to the woman who has done more for you than anyone in the world. And candy! You take a box to Mother—and then eat most of it yourself. A pretty sentiment."

So there you go... make sure to eat the candy before you hand it over on Sunday.

  • Tucker to… Twitter?

  • Wendy’s AI at the drive-thru

  • Rise and fall of Vice

 🔑 Key Stories

Twitter Carlson

Tucker Carlson announced he will relaunch his show on Twitter

  • Carlson has reportedly been trying to get out of his Fox contract, which blocks him from working for rival news companies. On Tuesday, Axios reported that he claimed Fox lied to him, thereby breaching his contract

  • On Tuesday evening, Carlson posted a video to Twitter: “There aren’t many platforms left that allow free speech. The last big one remaining…is Twitter”

  • “Starting soon we'll be bringing a new version of the show… to Twitter,” he said, without elaborating

Dig Deeper

  • Per Axios, Carlson accused 2 Fox executives of lying to him, which his lawyers claimed amounted to fraud and freed him from his contract

  • Fox has called some of Carlson’s claims “categorically false”

NYC: Teach Kids to Read Differently

New York City public schools’ top official announced an overhaul of how schools teach kids to read

  • NYC has the country’s largest school system with ~1,800 schools and ~1.1M students. That includes 700+ elementary schools, which teach basic reading

  • 49.2% of the city’s 3rd-graders are proficient in English language arts, which includes reading

  • NYC has used a “balanced literacy” approach, which mixes teacher instruction with independent reading to teach literacy. Officials say that system has failed, and are forcing schools to adopt 1 of 3 new methods, which are “research-based” to improve literacy

Dig Deeper

  • The city’s teacher’s union has supported the change, however its principal’s union has not. Others have expressed concern that teachers won’t get sufficient training to change their curriculums, or that other skills – like writing – will be sacrificed for literacy

Big Mattress Grows

Tempur-Sealy, the US’ largest bedding supplier, is buying Mattress Firm, the US’ largest bedding retailer, for $4B

  • Tempur-Pedic — the industry leader in “memory foam” products — purchased Sealy Corporation, its main mattress rival, for $1.3B in 2013

  • Now, it will add Mattress Firm, the US’ largest bedding seller, to its empire

  • The deal gives Tempur-Sealy, which is primarily a manufacturer, a significant foothold in retail. The Biden administration may challenge it on the grounds it creates a bedding industry monopoly

Trump Found Liable

A jury found former President Donald Trump liable for sexually abusing and defaming a female accuser

  • Beginning in November, a New York law let sexual assault victims bring civil suits against alleged assaulters, regardless of when the event occurred. E. Jean Carroll sued Trump, alleging he raped her in a department store dressing room in the 1990s

  • Civil suits require that the plaintiff prove something more likely than not happened — a lower standard than criminal trials

  • The jury found Trump liable for sexual assault and defaming Carroll, but not rape. It ordered him to pay her $5M; Trump issued a denial

Dig Deeper

  • “I HAVE ABSOLUTELY NO IDEA WHO THIS WOMAN IS. THIS VERDICT IS A DISGRACE - A CONTINUATION OF THE GREATEST WITCH HUNT OF ALL TIME!” Trump posted on Truth Social after the verdict

  • “VERY UNFAIR TRIAL!”

🍿 Popcorn

ICYMI

  • Raise these rates, Jay: Confidence in Federal Reserve chairman Jay Powell is the lowest of any Fed chairman on record. Just 36% of US adults have confidence in him, a Gallup poll found

  • ChowGPT: Wendy’s is rolling out a Google-powered AI chatbot to take drive-thru orders. It has partnered with Google to build the bot and will demo it a Columbus store in June

  • Araizin’ hell: Police will not charge NFL punter Matt Araiza after a witness testified — and evidence supported — that he was not present at the alleged gang rape that led the Buffalo Bills to release him

Wildcard

  • This doesn’t rock: A small village in Switzerland has been ordered to evacuate due to the threat of an imminent rockslide of 2.5M cubic yards of rock

  • Read up, kids: Georgia has sent a book on financial literacy to every graduating senior in the state. The author’s charitable foundation paid for the books

  • Do as I say….: A Utah author who recently wrote a children’s book on grief has been charged with murdering her husband. She allegedly poisoned him with fentanyl

👇 What do you think?

Today's Poll

Do you enjoy road trips?

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Today's Question:

Do you agree with the philosophy “the customer is always right”?

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See yesterday's results below the Wrap! 

🌯 Roca Wrap

We’re trying something new this week! We write these Wraps, just like all our stories, for you. So we thought the Wraps would be stronger with your real-time opinions and trivia integrated within. When you’re done with today’s Wrap, let us know if you find value in the additions!

Trivia answers are at the bottom of the story.

In 1994, 3 guys in Montreal had an idea.

Shane Smith, Suroosh Alvi, and Gavin McInnes had just received government funding to start a new arts and culture magazine. They named it “Voice of Montreal,” and began covering edgier topics that other media ignored.

After 2 years, the magazine renamed itself “Vice.”

Poll Time!

Would you have ever considered yourself a fan of Vice?

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Then in 1998, Vice’s founders told a reporter that a Canadian media mogul had invested in them. That was a lie – but the mogul was so impressed by their confidence that he decided to invest.

He pushed Vice to relocate to New York City, which it did In 1999. “One year from now, everyone will know Vice,” Smith, the chief executive, said at the time. “2 years from now, there’s the IPO and we’ll be fantastically wealthy.”

An economic downturn caused Vice and its investors to lose their money, and the company relocated to Williamsburg, Brooklyn – New York City’s hipster capital. There, Vice grew through parties and its coverage of drugs, fashion, and other topics. In 2002, it expanded to London.

Poll Time!

Have you ever watched a Vice documentary on YouTube?

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In 2006, Vice partnered with Spike Jonze, who had directed “Being John Malkovich” and written “Jackass” and other popular movies. Vice moved into online video, beginning with the “Vice Guide to Travel” series.

The videos put Vice employees – often the founders themselves – in unusual and dangerous situations. As Vice expanded into other video series and websites, it exploded in popularity.

Trivia Time!

After leaving Vice, co-founder Gavin McInnes co-founded which organization?

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In 2008, co-founder Gavin McInnes left the company over “creative differences.” In 2016, he’d co-found the Proud Boys. But Vice continued to grow: In 2013, 21st Century Fox invested $70M in the company, valuing it at $1.4B.

The company soon had an HBO news show, then its own TV network. In 2014, A&E Networks paid $250M for a 10% stake in Vice, valuing the company at $2.5B. “We want to learn from them,” A&E’s president said. “They’re talking to a generation that we’re struggling to connect to.”

Vice became known for its edginess: It threw drug- and sex-fueled parties, covered the dark side of the world, and sent its reporters to war zones. Companies saw it as the news outlet reaching millennials, and for that reason, Disney invested $400M and discussed buying it for ~$3B in 2015.

A deal didn’t take shape, but 2 years later a private equity company invested $450M, valuing Vice at $5.7B. By that point, Vice had 3,000 employees and was the 10th-highest valued private company in the US.

But that same year – 2017 – Vice faced a slew of sexual harassment and discrimination allegations. Soon after, Smith, the company’s long-time CEO, resigned from that position and became executive chairman.

At the same time, Vice failed to hit its revenue goals.

In 2017, it missed its $805M goal by $100M; it put up similar numbers in 2018 and 2019

Other digital media companies – Buzzfeed, Huffington Post – were also struggling.

Last year, the company made $600M – $100M less than its target. In December, it emerged that the company was looking to sell for $1.5B; a month later, it was reportedly looking for less than $1B.

But no one bit.

Last week, the New York Times reported that Vice is preparing to file for bankruptcy.

That sets up the company’s largest debtholder, an investment group called Fortress, to become Vice’s controlling shareholder. It’s a disappointing end for a company that was the future of media.

Trivia answer: Proud Boys

If you have thoughts, let us know at [email protected]!

 🌊 Roca Clubhouse

Yesterday's Poll:

When do you prefer to shower?

Morning: 60%

Evening: 40%

Yesterday's Question:

What is the best concert you’ve ever been to? Why?

John from Maryland: “Best Concert was my 1st concert. The Beatles in 1964. I was only 8. Wonder if they ever took off 🤔

Lauren from Las Vegas: "Lollapalooza 1992. The mosh pits were scary dangerous. During the song "Alive", Eddie Veder climbed to the very top of the stage's lighting rig. The Red Hot Chili Peppers wore helmets with flames coming out the top. Ice Cube's crew stood on stage with shotguns. Some dude on The Jim Rose Sideshow stage hammered a nail into is nasal cavity. It was a consummate 90s experience!”

Adam from Pennsylvania: “1981 Pontiac Silverdome—Eddie Money, Santana and The Rolling Stones. 90,000 fans singing “You can’t always get what you want”. Got back to the dorm around 3 am. Made it to my 8 am class somehow!”

🧠 Final Thoughts

ROCA NATION HOW WE FEELING TODAY?!

We hope your weeks are going better than Vice's, a company we have taken both lessons and inspiration from. It's already Wednesday, so time to get over that hump and finish the week strong!

–Max and Max