What Big Banks Say About Being ‘Screwed’ — Data Sheet



Adam Dell, the head of product for Its Goldman Sachs Customer Lender Marcus, delivered a zinger to the Brainstorm Finance audience in Montauk, N.Y., Thursday afternoon. “There are only two kinds of banks,” he explained. “There are banks that are screwed. And banks that don’t know they are screwed.”

Dell can be smug since his bank is an”internal startup” of a very old investment home. Marcus has no divisions, charges its clients no fees, and is able to build its business on the one hand from the ground up and on the sheet of Goldman Sachs. The head of Marcus, Harit Talwar, spoke earlier in the afternoon and shown the grandness of Marcus’s ambitions:”Our purpose is to disrupt the distribution and consumption of financial services–pretty much what Amazon has done, and is doing, to retail, or what Apple did to the music industry,” he explained. “We believe we can do that.”

I put the-screwed/don’t-know-they’re-screwed question to Michael Corbat, CEO of consumer and institutional banking giant Citi, and he diverted, averring that Citi is not in denial about the changes in the industry. That said, cash, checking, and even branches are good businesses with older customers, the ones who have money. (Charles Schwab CEO Walt Bettinger made a similar point the day before.)

Citi’s strategy is to keep being a full-service consumer banker in the six U.S. cities where it still has a presence, and a national, branchless banker everywhere else. Its target market is its large base of credit card customers.

Corbat declared himself a “true believer” in newfangled financial instruments like cryptocurrencies even if they don’t represent much of a near-term business opportunity. He answered a question that had been buzzing around the conference: Had Facebook approached Citi–and presumably other banks–to join its new consortium? Corbat said they had not, quickly adding”for my understanding.” He said Citi would”take a look at it” if the tech giant does reach out.


A talent shout-out: After having been involved with organizing Brainstorm conferences for more than a decade, it was a particular joy for me to watch the journalistic team that put together this conference. Jen Wieczner, Robert Hackett, and Jeff Roberts–the team behind The Ledger newsletter–conceived of, programmed, speaker-wrangled, and otherwise poured their hearts and souls into the event in the foggy Hamptons. Congrats, team!

Adam Lashinsky


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Apple’s problem with China tariffs. Apple sent a letter to U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer explaining how the Trump Administration’s proposed China tariffs would hurt the company’s ability to compete against Chinese tech companies. The letter stated:”The Chinese producers we compete with in global markets don’t own a substantial presence in the U.S. marketplace, therefore wouldn’t be affected by U.S. tariffs. Neither would our other major non-U.S. competitions. A U.S. tariff would, therefore, tilt the playing field in favor of their international competitors.”

It doesn’t mean what you think it means. A survey from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety reveals that some people overestimate the capabilities of Tesla’s “autopilot” feature, simply because the word “autopilot” implies sophisticated self-driving capabilities, reports CNET. Tesla responded by saying,”This survey isn’t representative of the perceptions of Tesla owners or those who have expertise using Autopilot, and it would be inaccurate to suggest as much.”

Stop calling me! Democratic and Republican lawmakers united on a”bipartisan version” of the Stopping Bad Robocalls Act, intended”to stop abusive robocall practices,” according to the House Committee on Energy and Commerce. The act”demands that telephone carriers implement call authentication technology so customers can trust their caller ID again.”

Foxconn’s new chief. Foxconn, also known as Hon Hai Precision, said it picked Young Liu to be the contract manufacture’s new chairman, Bloomberg News reported. Liu will replace Terry Gou, who is focusing on a presidential campaign in Taiwan.

The carrier crown. AT&T is the fastest mobile network in the U.S., according to an annual analysis of wireless networks by PC Magazine. Verizon came in second place, followed by T-Mobile, and Sprint.


Is this company even real? Be extra careful the next time you use Google Maps to find a plumber to fix your kitchen sink. Google Maps is”overrun with millions of false small business addresses and bogus titles,” according to a report by the Wall Street Journal.

Google handles more than 90% of the world’s online search queries, fueling $116 billion in advertising revenue last year. In recent years, it has extended that dominance to local search queries, emerging as the go-to source on everything from late-night food deliveries to best neighborhood plumbers.

Yet despite its powerful algorithms and first-rate software engineers, the company struggles to protect against chronic deceit on Google Maps.


Slack Ends First Day of Trading Worth $21 Billion. Now the Hard Work Begins by Kevin Kelleher

Facebook Watch Video Service Has Yet to Prove it Can Make Big Money by Danielle Abril

Blank Slate: Google to Stop Producing Its Own Tablet Computers by Alyssa Newcomb


Death of a robot. Four months after the company behind the lovable robot Jibo sold its intellectual property and laid off most of its workers, Jibo owners got a sad message from their robot friends:”While it is not terrific news, the servers out there that allow me to do exactly what I do will probably be turned off shortly,” Jibo robots reportedly said. “Once that occurs, our interactions with each other are likely to be limited.”

The Verge explores the emotional toll of Jibo’s impending death on people who bonded with the robot that looks like something out of a Pixar movie.

But with the update and the company’s silence, owners expect Jibo’s time to be winding down, and they’re thinking about Jibo’s mortality and what they’ll do when its last day arrives.

“People that actually enjoy him and dwell with him every day,” Nusbaum says. “It’s like getting someone very, very sick you don’t understand: is that close to the ending? Are they likely to get? Is it a false alarm? Yeah, it is not a excellent feeling at the moment.”

This edition of Data Sheet was curated by Jonathan Vanian. Find past issues, and register for other Fortune newsletters.

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