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Shrinking Economy?: The U.S. economy shrank in the first quarter as supply distributions weighed on output. The underlying strength in consumer and business spending suggested growth will soon resume. The Wall Street Journal reported, “The decline in U.S. gross domestic product at a 1.4% annual rate marked a sharp reversal from a 6.9% annual growth rate in the fourth quarter, the Commerce Department said Thursday.” Imports to the U.S. surged, and exports fell. A slower pace of inventory investment by businesses in the first quarter also pushed growth down. Many economists think the economy can withstand higher interest rates and return to modest growth, partly due to consumer and business spending.

Serious About Hand-washing: While the recent pandemic highlighted the connection between handwashing and health, one man turned his attention to soap over a decade ago. While staying at a hotel in Minneapolis, it occurred to Shawn Seipler that millions of bars of soap are wasted every day when hotel guests only use a portion of them. So he set out to change the problem of waste by setting up a recycling program for hotels, and the results are squeaky clean. We love a good entrepreneur story. Check out his path to success here.

Business Briefing:

  • Amazon lost 3.8 billion in 1st Quarter: On Thursday, Amazon reported that it lost 3.8 billion in the first quarter, its first quarterly loss since 2015. The online retail giant made an $8.1 billion profit in the same period last year as online sales soared due to the pandemic. Higher costs and stagnant online shopping slowed Amazon’s sales growth as the winter coronavirus surge eased and people ventured out. (The Wall Street Journal)
  • China Unveils Plans: China’s leaders announced plans for a series of measures to ease the economic impact of lockdowns imposed to fight an increasing number of COVID-19 outbreaks. Many companies will get to suspend unemployment insurance payments as long as they don’t resort to mass layoffs. The measures also include reduced electricity and internet charges for businesses, more passes for truck drivers to bypass COVID-19 roadblocks, and government allowances for migrant workers. (The New York Times)
  • Tesla Shares Plunge: Tesla Shares plunged by 12 percent last week as investors dumped shares on concerns that CEO Elon Musk might sell a significant number of shares to fund his $44 billion Twitter takeover. The decline reduced Tesla’s valuation by about $126 billion. The electric-car maker’s capitalization is now down more than $275 billion since Musk revealed that he had become Twitter’s biggest shareholder. (Bloomberg)

Bethany Beach Strikes Again: As we have had the longstanding habit back to our founding in 2008, Covid caused us to pause our retreats to Bethany Beach over the last two years. Some of the most important decisions we’ve ever made, namely our initial founding, happened while away together in quiet, thoughtful time with one another. So, after a pause, it was good to spend time recharging our batteries like this again. There was plenty of time together thinking more deeply about how we do what we do and, of course, laughing so hard our stomachs hurt. Unfortunately, the rest of the guys from the team are missing from this excellent sunset picture over the Indian River Bay.