🌊 Please Bach Off

Cash App founder stabbed to death, Johnny Depp's return to the big screen, and Roca Rider Woodstock stories!

Well, this was bound to happen. This weekend, a YouTube prankster was playing a joke on a man at a Virginia mall when, suddenly, the man pulled out a gun and shot him in the abdomen. Fortunately, the YouTuber is okay and is expecting a full recovery. The big lesson here — okay, there are several — is that Virginia malls are not a great venue for tomfoolery.

In today's edition:

  • Cash App founder stabbed to death

  • Johnny Depp's return to the big screen

  • Roca Rider Woodstock stories!

🔑 Key Stories

Goodbye to US Dollar?

A series of events suggest some major countries are moving away from the US dollar

  • Since World War II, the US dollar has been the most widely used currency for international trade. Nearly every central bank, large company, and investor in the world keeps a share of their money in dollars

  • But last week, Brazil and China announced a deal to trade in their own currencies without exchanging for US dollars

  • New data show the Chinese yuan has displaced the dollar as the most-traded currency in Russia; Russia said it will use the yuan in international trade; and other countries have called for the same

Dig Deeper

  • Last week, a Russian official said Russia, China, India, Brazil, and South Africa are working on creating a new currency that would replace the dollar and the euro. It’s unclear whether this is a serious initiative

Tough Times for Startups

Venture capital (VC) funds invested $76B into startups in the first 3 months of 2023, less than half what they invested in the same period a year ago

  • VCs pool money from companies and investors to invest in young companies, including startups

  • Starting in 2021, startup funding exploded as the economy boomed and inventors borrowed cheaply

  • When interest rates began climbing in 2022, though, the VC market collapsed. That continued into this year: Between January 1 and March 31, VCs invested $76B, less than half the amount from a year prior. 22% of that went to just 2 companies, Open AI and Stripe

Dig Deeper

  • Less VC money means startups have lower valuations and less access to capital. Many startups that received high valuations during the boom are now accepting far lower ones to acquire funds; others can’t get the funds they need to stay in business

Cash App Founder Killed

Bob Lee, the founder of Cash App, was stabbed to death in San Francisco early Tuesday morning

  • Lee worked at Google, where he helped create Android, before working for Square (now Block). There, he created Cash App, which would become one of the US’ most popular money transfer apps

  • San Francisco police found Lee around 2:35 AM on Tuesday with multiple stab wounds. He died in a hospital soon after

  • A friend of Lee’s said that Lee had been walking home in a “‘good’ part of the city and appeared to have been targeted in a random mugging/attack”

Dig Deeper

  • The CEO of MobileCoin, a crypto company that Lee worked for at the time of his death, said that Lee was “a force of nature” who “helped birth Android and Cash App"

  • “Whatever [Lee] imagined, no matter how crazy, he made real,” he said

Music in the Metro?

To reduce the number of homeless people in metro stations, LA’s metro system is playing non-stop classical music and installing floodlights

  • LA County – which includes the city of Los Angeles, Beverly Hills, and Santa Monica – has the highest homeless population of any urban area in the US. Many homeless people sleep in subway stations

  • To test a new program, L.A. Metro is playing nonstop Mozart, Beethoven, and Vivaldi while leaving on bright lights. It says the program is meant to “restore safety at the transit station” and “support an atmosphere” appropriate for commuters

Dig Deeper

  • Last year, serious crime incidents on public transport rose 24% over 2021; so far this year, 22 people have died of overdoses on LA’s subways and buses

  • If the program succeeds, flood lights and classical music may be rolled out across the city’s metro system

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Dig Deeper

🍿 Popcorn

ICYMI

  • Anotha one: Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. announced that he will challenge Biden for the 2024 Democratic nomination. The lawyer and author is RFK's son and JFK's nephew

  • Justice for Omar: The man who sold the fentanyl-laced drugs to The Wire actor Michael K. Williams has pleaded guilty. He now faces 40 years in prison

  • One mega-pint of Coke, plz: Johnny Depp will return to the big screen with new French film Jeanne duBarry. It will premiere at the Cannes Film Festival in May

Wildcard

  • Snake on a plane: A South African pilot made an emergency landing after he found a deadly cobra in the cockpit. He noticed the snake at an altitude of 11,000 feet

  • Should I stay or should I snitch: A man who made over $1M selling counterfeit vinyl records was caught after a Clash fan reported him for poor sound quality

  • From SBF to WTF: Previously known as FTX Arena, the Miami Heat's arena has a new name: Kaseya Center. Kaseya, an IT management firm, paid $117M for the rights

👇 What do you think?

Today's Poll

Do you use social media daily?

Login or Subscribe to participate in polls.

Today's Question:

Where do you feel most at peace?

Reply to this email with your answers!

See yesterday's results below the Wrap! 

🌯 Roca Wrap

On Monday, we ran a Wrap on Woodstock. A number of you wrote in to tell us your stories of attending the festival. 4 of our favorites are included below!

******

Roca Rider Robert:

"I was there. I have much to say.

  1. Despite the "peace and love" mystic, we were thrown out of a young couple's roomy tent into the rain because the woman didn't want all those people crowding into her private space.

  2. We slept under a makeshift clear plastic tarp nailed to some wooden uprights. It didn't keep out the rain.

  3. We ran out of food and a group of us shared some cans of ravioli cooked right in the cans over an open fire.

  4. I made my way out to the vendor area and bought the last five bananas that were available.

  5. I used a public message board and spotted a note from a close friend, I left him a note in response about where and when to meet, but our meeting at Woodstock never happened.

  6. I parked miles from the venue and walked in; when I walked back out there was one car "double parked" on the road, one car away from mine. I was not blocked in.

  7. I borrowed sleeping bags for the weekend and was offered a tent, but -- being young and stupid -- didn't take it because I thought I wouldn't need it.

  8. The show was great."

******

Roca Rider Rich, from northern New York:

“I was at Woodstock. It was a seminal experience in my life.

What remains so remarkable in my mind was the spontaneity, and how half a million people managed to thrive for four days despite problems with food, facilities, and more.

There's no sense trying to plan another one. no amount of logistics could reproduce the resilience and spontaneity that made it so memorable.

Some of the music was excellent (Sly and the Family Stone, Joe Cocker, The Who). some could have been better (Jefferson Airplane), but the music almost paled in comparison with the serendipity and immersion in the crowd.

I went to the Museum at Bethel Woods last summer. To my surprise, it captured a good sense of the event

I can go on and on with personal anecdotes”

******

Roca Rider Mike:

“I was lucky enough to make the trip. Muddy and rainy and slept in a chicken coop but it is so true people got together. I rode part way In on the back of Joan Baez's car, on leaving our station wagon slipped into a muddy ditch. Well along came Hells Angels the bunch surrounded our car and started bouncing it up and down. As they did that they rotated that wagon out of the ditch and faced us out to the open road. Thanks boys ! I was a 18 year old hick from upstate who had and still have a ticket for the concert, who learned a lot about people that weekend."

******

Roca Rider Allen:

“Yea, that's me, still had acne. Got a ride part of the way from my brother who had just gotten back from Vietnam a few weeks before.

Hitchhiked the rest of the way with my friend John who we all called ‘The Beast.’ He got his nick name because he tended to get a little wild when tripping.

Got there on Wednesday afternoon. No ticket taker or fence for that matter.

Once on the grounds, I remember setting up our tent next to someone who was very generous with something we called Black Beauties. Didn't need to sleep much after those. By the time the show started on Friday we figured out how to get to the front of the stage from anywhere on the grounds.

Things I kind of remember:

Friday afternoon Richie Havens singing the song ‘Freedom’. and Arlo Guthrie’s ‘Comin'’ into Los Angeles’.

Saturday the music was unbelievable! Canned Heat, Mountain, Grateful Dead, Creedence Clearwater, Janis Joplin, Sly & the Family Stone, The Who, Jefferson Airplane (I had a Big crush on Grace Slick …but who didn’t)….Santana and the rain chant.

Sunday, I remember Country Joe and the Fish doing the song ‘Marijuana’ and Ten Years After doing ‘Baby Please Don’t Go’. Joe Cocker ‘With a Little Help from My Friends’ and Crosby, Stills, and Nash looking nervous on stage.

Woke up in front of the stage with a milk crate for a pillow and Jimi Hendrix playing the Star-Spangled Banner.

The beast and I hitchhiked back home to New Jersey that afternoon.”***

Thanks to all the Riders for sharing! If you have thoughts or more stories, let us know at [email protected]!

🌊 Roca Clubhouse

Yesterday's Poll:

Cooler mythical creature?

Pegasus: 72%

Centaur: 28%

Yesterday's Question:

What’s something you wish were a more common practice in society?

Anna from North Dakota: “I wish small talk with cashiers, others at the store, people you see in passing, strangers, etc. was more common. I’m a big prefer awkward conversation to awkward silence person. I think this could also help people become more united and caring about one another, and just spread more kindness overall!”

Michael from Dallas: “I believe it should be common practice in a society that shoes are always off when inside a house. It keeps it cleaner and just seems like a no-brainer. Imagine all the disgusting floors your shoes touched, and now you want to spread it to the very place you eat/sleep?”

Brenda from Houston: “A few years ago I started saying the positive thoughts I had about people instead of just thinking them. Changed my world and the world around me. Eventually I was receiving almost as many positive thoughts as I gave to others. People need a little good news, but you guys know that.”

20 Questions:

Every Friday, we ask our readers 20 Questions and feature the answers here throughout the week. Last week was “Lies Edition”: We gave you 20 lies, and you ranked them from innocent (1) to disrespectful (10):

16. Lying about how close you are to someone: 6.3

17. Lying about relationship status: 6.8

18. “I’m not drunk”: 6.9

19. “I’ll be right back” and then leaving”: 6.9

20. “I would never lie to you”: 8.2

🧠 Final Thoughts

They may not be Woodstock-level, but the 70s and sunny weather has led to great vibes at Roca HQ today. We hope things feel as good wherever you are!

Have a great day, and see you tomorrow.

–Max and Max