China’s Covid lockdown guidelines ship costs larger

Freeman H. Shen, Founder, Chairman & CEO of WM Motor, speaks during Fireside Chat on Day 2 of CNBC East Tech West at LN Garden Hotel Nansha Guangzhou on November 28, 2018 in Nansha, Guangzhou, China.

Dave Zhong/Getty Images for CNBC International

BEIJING — Covid-related restrictions have increased production costs for Chinese electric car start-up WM Motor, even as existing chip and battery shortages are driving up costs, CEO Freeman Shen told CNBC.

“Adding all these things together, this industry is a fast-growing industry, but the cost part of the equation is also going to be a challenge,” Shen, also founder and chairman of WM Motor, said Wednesday.

Sales of new energy vehicles — which include battery-only and hybrid-powered cars — more than doubled last year in China, the world’s largest automobile market. The country has become a hotbed for electric car start-ups and a launch pad for many traditional auto giants making the shift to electric.

China quickly controlled the local spread of the coronavirus in 2020 by imposing swift lockdowns on cities and neighborhoods. But after the emergence of the highly transmissible omicron variant, some analysts started to question whether the costs of the zero-Covid policy now outweigh the benefits.

The impact is already being felt by factories. A Chinese ministry overseeing manufacturing said this month the lockdowns would be a drag on industrial production in the first quarter.

Shen laid out the impact of Covid-related restrictions on his start-up:

  • A chip manufacturer in Malaysia had production problems and stopped delivering to Bosch China, which then stopped delivering to WM Motor.
  • Within China, after Covid cases emerged in Nanjing, one of WM Motor’s battery cell suppliers stopped deliveries.
  • In the last few months, similar disruptions affected two of the company’s suppliers in the Shangyu district of Shaoxing city, near Hangzhou.
  • Covid-related restrictions on the Ningbo port area also stopped delivery from three suppliers there.

“So, all these things were killing us,” Shen told CNBC.

Automakers around the world have cut production due to a shortage of semiconductors. Geopolitical tensions and overwhelming demand for chips in the wake of the pandemic contributed to a shortfall in supply that has lasted for more than a year.

Shen said he expects the chip shortage to improve in the second half of this year, based on conversations with his start-up’s 11 chip suppliers.

Electric car battery shortage

However, he pointed to another looming problem that could get worse: Rising raw material costs for batteries.

Battery-grade lithium carbonate prices were up more than 500% year-on-year as of earlier this month, according to S&P Global Platts. The firm’s survey of industry insiders released this week found that 80% of respondents expect those lithium prices to remain high this year — about four times higher than the start of 2021.

The battery shortage will likely worsen as demand for electric cars in China picks up in the second quarter, Shen said. For 2022, he expects electric car sales in the country to nearly double from last year to about 5 million vehicles.

An electric WM Motor car is seen inside a shopping mall in downtown Shanghai, China, April 26, 2021.

Costphoto/Barcroft Media | Future Publishing | Getty Images

Read more about electric vehicles from CNBC Pro

Reassessing a Japanese manufacturing model

One of the reasons the pandemic disrupted the supply chain is that factories have historically used a longstanding Japanese model of “just-in-time” or lean manufacturing, in which factories only purchase parts as needed to reduce costs and increase efficiency, Shen pointed out .

But now, the strategy is changing.

“In order to make sure you can deliver your car, you probably will start thinking: We have to waste some of our money to keep some stock,” he said. “For a car company, the biggest loss would be losing the sales to your customer.”

Part of WM Motor’s sales strategy is to work with property developers to open test drive sites in more residential neighborhoods, while building up the cars’ autonomous driving capabilities such as in parking, Shen said.

He said the company will need to raise prices to cope with rising costs, as others in the industry already have.

For one, Tesla raised the price for its Model Y in China by 21,088 yuan ($3,300) in December to 301,840 yuan ($47,450), after subsidies. WM Motor’s cars are about half that price.

Travel restrictions affect business

Economists say China’s Covid-related travel restrictions affect consumer spending more than factories.

Cities frequently change Covid testing requirements for travel, while flights and train tickets can get canceled based on newly reported Covid cases.

These restrictions have also affected WM Motor, Shen said. The company has research and development, factory and other business-side operations in Shanghai, Chengdu, Zhejiang province and Hubei province, in addition to about 500 brick-and-mortar stores across the country.

He said the company had to use more technologies like virtual reality and augmented reality to help employees and customers communicate despite travel restrictions.

“We have to use this kind of technology, because if not, the user experience is going to be terrible, and the efficiency is going to be very bad. And we sometimes cannot even get things done,” Shen said.

Asked if he had any IPO plans, Shen said there was no news to announce on the listing front, and cited the pressing delivery issues.

“Obviously people had a lot of expectation, our investor had a lot of expectation, but we are very busy these days to deliver our product,” he said. “Hopefully we can get something to announce in the near future.”

Some ticket costs are up as a lot as 100%

Going out is not only rarer these days, it is also much more expensive.

In general, the prices consumers pay for goods and services have recently recorded their largest year-on-year increase since 1982.

Gas prices alone are up a whopping 58.1% over the past year, and that’s just to get where you’re going.

A table for two isn’t what it used to be either. Restaurants, which have been under pressure since the start of the pandemic, are charging more for meals to counter ongoing staffing issues and higher food costs.

Most have had to raise wages to attract workers, on top of the higher cost of ingredients, and that means menu prices look a little different now.

More from Personal Finance:
10 things that will get more expensive in 2022
How much to tip in a post-pandemic world?
Americans say they need to earn $122,000 to feel safe

Overall, the cost of eating out has risen 6% over the past year, which is also the highest jump since 1982, according to the U.S. Department of Labor (although the cost of Eating at home rose even faster).

According to the National Association of Theater Owners, going to the cinema still costs around the same as it did before the Covid pandemic. At just under $10 per person, it may also be the best deal.

On the other hand, the costs of attending almost all other events increase.

In 2019, an artist’s concert ticket averaged around $96, but this year’s ticket prices are on track to hit record highs as Billie Eilish, Coldplay, Justin Bieber, John Mayer and The Weeknd take to the streets.

If sports are more your thing, NBA and NHL tickets average about $94 per seat, according to SeatGeek data, while the average ticket for an NFL match without playoff games costs even more — about $151 , found SeatGeek. If you can score one at all.

In the secondary market, where many of these tickets are bought and sold, the average resale price per ticket has increased by about 28% for sporting events and by about 45% for concerts since the pandemic began.

For example, the average resale price of an NFL ticket went from $198 to $237.

For art lovers, it’s a similar story.

The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, which houses one of the largest collections in the world, used to have a “suggested donation” for attendees, which is now limited only to residents of New York State and students from the tri-state area. All other visitors must pay $25 for a general admission ticket.

Other museums, including this The Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth and the Crocker Art Museum in Sacramento, Calif., have increased ticket prices by at least 50%, according to a report by coupon and deal site DealA, which compared the price of an adult general admission ticket last month at prices in 2017.

Ticket prices for other attractions, which have also been badly hit by the Covid restrictions, have skyrocketed by much more – up to double what they were before the pandemic, DealA noted.

For example, Funland amusement park in Rehoboth Beach, Delaware, costs $30 to visit today, up from $15 a few years ago. Dollywood in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee; Sesame Square in Bucks County, Pennsylvania; and Santa’s Village, New Hampshire’s Christmas theme park, increased admission prices by 22%, 29% and 50%, respectively, over the same period.

Subscribe to CNBC on YouTube.

Hollywood is betting large on TikTok expertise in bid to woo Gen Z

In this photo illustration a TikTok logo seen displayed on a smartphone with stock market percentages in the background.

SOPA Images | LightRocket | Getty Images

When TikTok creator Boman Martinez-Reid first got an email from Creative Artists Agency he ignored it. As an Ontario native, he saw the acronym CAA and assumed it was CAA Insurance, a major car insurance company in Canada.

It was only after a TikTok representative contacted him that he realized he was being courted by one of Hollywood’s top talent agencies.

“I get a [direct message] from a guy at TikTok and he says let’s talk on the phone,” Martinez-Reid recalled. “So, we had a phone call and he asked me ‘I know that CAA has been reaching out to you. Do you know who they are? They represent Beyonce, Meryl Streep, you have to get on the phone with them.'”

Martinez-Reid, known online as “Bomanizer,” has more than 1.5 million followers and a budding career that includes a guest appearance on “Canada’s Drag Race” and a line of branded merchandise. While he rose to TikTok fame making reality show spoof videos, the 24-year-old has aspirations beyond the social media platform. He signed with CAA in July 2020.

Martinez-Reid is part of a growing list of content creators that have signed with traditional talent agencies, including dancer Charli D’Amelio, actress Addison Rae and the creators of the viral TikTok series “The Unofficial Bridgerton Musical,” Abigail Barlow and Emily Bear.

These artists have been tapped because of their talent, but also because of their engagement with online communities. These entrepreneurs have built large and loyal followings on the short-form video app, something talent managers and agents from traditional Hollywood firms see as a potential gold mine.

Not only can these agencies help build mini-media empires around these creators, they also can benefit from the strategies these digital influencers use, and apply it to bolster the careers of the agencies’ already established clients.

Actor Will Smith, who is repped by CAA, is just one example of an A-list celebrity who has embraced social media, including TikTok and YouTube, in recent years as a way to promote his content and to promote himself.

“Will recognized four or five years ago that young audiences are consuming media in a much different way,” said David Freeman, co-head of the CAA’s digital media division. “Will understood that he had to shift and change the way that he was interacting with his audience.”

This pivotal audience, which ranges in age from six to around 25, is known as Gen Z and is one of the most sought after consumer bases for companies. Not only is this young generation coming of age as consumers, but they are also driving major trends for older generations, said Jason Dorsey, president of the Center for Generational Kinetics, a research and strategic advisory firm.

“This makes this younger set of trendsetters overly valuable,” he said.

This generation is not just impacting entertainment, but apparel, food, technology and bigger social conversations, he said. 

“As Gen Z comes up, they really are the best predictor of the future,” Dorsey said. “Smart brands are trying to figure out how you connect with them in a sincere way. … If you win Gen Z, you can win everyone else.”

Embracing Gen Z

Dorsey noted that many brands missed out on connecting with the millennial generation because they dismissed this demographic’s adoption of mobile devices and social media and believed that this group of young consumers would return to the traditions of previous generations.

“That didn’t happen,” he said.

While the millennial generation adopted the internet and a mobile-first mentality, Gen Z has never known a time that they could not do almost everything they needed to do on a mobile device, said Connor Blakley, a marketing consultant and Gen Z expert.

“Everyone always says that Gen Z has a six- to eight-second attention span,” he said. “What that is is just a really good ‘BS meter’ for different kinds of information so that we can pick the thing that we really want to spend time on.”

Blakley, who is a member of Gen Z himself, has advised companies like Pepsi, Johnson & Johnson and the National Hockey League on social media marketing strategies. He noted that Gen Z is a generation that can easily discern when people and companies are being disingenuous.

“That’s why you are seeing talent agencies, marketing agencies, influencer agencies, all kinds of branding agencies going to TikTok because that is the place where Gen Z already is,” Dorsey added. “If you want to reach them, you have to go to where they are because you have virtually zero chance of getting them to where you are.”

TikTok, in particular, has been a place for talent agencies to cull new talent because of its rapid rise to popularity and the viral nature of its content. In fact, TikTok was the most popular website in 2021, surpassing even Google, according to data from Cloudflare, a web security and performance company.

The social media app, which launched internationally in 2017, rose to prominence in 2018, but really gained traction with consumers in late 2019 and during the coronavirus pandemic.

Movie theaters were shuttered, productions of popular TV shows were halted and the rate at which content was being released to the public slowed considerably. With so many people stuck at home, many turned to alternatives like TikTok for entertainment.

“Suddenly there was a pandemic,” Martinez-Reid said. “Everyone was stuck inside. I had nothing to do but to make content and everyone else had nothing to do but to watch content.”

Boman Martinez-Reid, known on TikTok as “Bomanizer,” is a content creator who was signed by talent agency CAA in July 2020.

Boman Martinez-Reid

For Martinez-Reid, TikTok was a creative outlet. He was one semester away from graduating from Ryerson University’s RTA Media Production program when the social media platform began to gain popularity. So, he decided to try his hand at content production.

“What do I have to lose? If I post something and it does well, great. If it does poorly, then no one will know,” he said.

His first TikTok was posted in December 2019 and centered around Martinez-Reid having a conversation with his last two brain cells about joining the social media platform.

“I was just basically shooting for this like overproduced, super scripted, try hard kind of edge, which at the time was not a thing on TikTok,” he said. “And I think that’s why my content started to do so well, because I started to get this comment that was like ‘I can’t believe that this is a TikTok’ and from then on it sort of just snowballed into more and more opportunities.”

Martinez-Reid has become known for his reality show spoof videos in which, alongside family and friends, he pokes fun at how cast members often get into feuds over the small things. He said that during the pandemic, while people were stuck inside, they could relate to tiny little frustrations bubbling over into big arguments.

While Martinez-Reid has yet to break into Hollywood, he’s used his relationship with CAA to meet with casting directors and story producers at various networks over the last 18 months. His goal is to gain more knowledge about the industry so he can make more strategic decisions about what projects he wants to sign on for in the future.

But there is a path for Martinez-Reid, one that was first forged more than a decade ago by content creators on YouTube and the now defunct video platform Vine.

‘Talent is talent’

Over the last decade, CAA has helped content creators from nontraditional platforms make the transition to Hollywood. The group reps Tyler Blevins, aka Ninja, who rose to fame streaming himself playing video games. While Blevins continues to play video games professionally, he has also participated in Fox’s “The Masked Singer” and had a cameo appearance in Disney’s “Free Guy.”

The talent agency also represents Arif Zahir, who gained notoriety for his impressions posted on YouTube, and now voices Cleveland Brown on Fox’s “Family Guy.”

Other notable celebrities that have risen from this space include CAA-signed Justin Bieber, who was discovered by Usher and Scooter Braun and became a Grammy Award-winning artist; Liza Koshy, who also signed with CAA and now voices Zipp Storm on the “My Little Pony: A New Generation” TV show; and Bo Burnham, who is represented by United Talent Agency, went from making comedy YouTube videos, to writing, directing and starring in top Hollywood films.

“Talent is talent,” said Frank Jung, who launched CAA’s digital media division almost a decade ago alongside Freeman. “If they are an amazing talent, that’s just number one.”

TikTok is still a relatively new platform and has yet to produce the same number of Hollywood success stories as YouTube has in the last decade, but experts predict it won’t be long until its making a mark on the film and television industry.

Already we’ve seen the rise of Addison Rae, 21, who secured a multimillion dollar deal with Netflix in September after starring in the streamer’s film “He’s All That,” a sequel to 1999’s “She’s All That.” She is represented by William Morris Endeavor Entertainment and currently has more than 86 million followers on TikTok.

And, of course, Charli D’Amelio, 17, who touts a following more than 133 million strong on the social media platform, has partnered with brands like hummus maker Sabra, Procter & Gamble and Dunkin and now has her own docuseries on Hulu. D’Amelio is repped by UTA.

Then there is Maggie Thurmon, who rose to fame on the social media app dancing and performing circus tricks with her father Dan. The 19-year-old was signed by UTA in February 2020 before she hit 1 million followers on the platform.

Now, she has more than 5 million followers, a popular podcast called “Mags and Dad’s Wholesome Chaos” and just wrapped her first feature film “The Other Zoey,” which features Andie MacDowell and Heather Graham.

“I’m auditioning at the moment,” Thurmon told CNBC just hours after finishing up on set. “I’m so excited for the possibilities of acting in the future. If I can do this for the rest of my life, I would just be the happiest person on the planet.”

Thurmon said she was “greatly surprised” when she announced to her TikTok following earlier this month that she would be pursuing acting alongside her burgeoning social media career.

“I prepared for the backlash,” she said. “But I did not find one negative comment on the TikTok announcement or Instagram post.”

Thurmon’s experience is not unique. “What we see is that Gen Z influencers on TikTok have built meaningful followings and have a built-in audience of fans that feel a personal connection to the creator and want to be more supportive,” Dorsey said. “They feel like that are going along with them on the project.”

That’s one reason these content creators have clout among Hollywood agencies looking to sign fresh talent.

‘Data is the new oil’

“The unique thing is not only being able to identify talent, but this talent already comes with a built-in audience,” CAA’s Freeman said. “Through social media and these platforms, there is a direct conversation that is happening between talent and audience.”

For Jung and Freeman, these audiences provide much needed data about what people want to consume for content and who they want to see make that content.

“Data is the new oil,” Jung said. “What we are trying to do is make sure we are amplifying these voices and eventually creating media businesses for the clients, which will leave lasting legacies.”

“And also everyone can make some money,” he added with a laugh.

Not only can these agencies help build mini-media empires around these creators, they also can benefit from the strategies these digital influencers use, and apply it to bolster the careers of the agencies’ already established clients.

Smith, who has been campaigning for a best actor nomination at this year’s Academy Awards for his role in Warner Bros.’ “King Richard,” is a prime example of a traditional CAA client who has used social media to jumpstart the next phase of his career.

Freeman said that much of the actor’s learnings and best practices came from Koshy, who taught him that his social media videos didn’t need to be perfect, well-produced videos, they just needed to be authentic and give audiences a peek behind the curtain into his life.

Smith started his own YouTube channel in 2017, posting vlog-style videos about his life alongside curated series. 2018’s “The Jump” focused on Smith’s preparation to bungee jump out of a helicopter over the Grand Canyon for his 50th birthday, while 2021’s “Best Shape of My Life” centered on the actor’s journey to improve his personal fitness.

More recently, he has posted videos of himself training alongside Miami Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa, quizzing his young costars from “King Richard” about his career and explaining how he went about recording his audiobook.

Actor Will Smith takes a selfie at the UK Premiere of “King Richard” at The Curzon Mayfair on November 17, 2021 in London, England.

Samir Hussein | WireImage | Getty Images

“His career was colder than it had been,” Dan Weinstein, of Underscore Talent, said. “I wouldn’t say it was nonexistent, but he was not the ‘Independence Day’ blockbuster draw he was. He found new audiences. He reinvented his persona around his celebrity. There’s no denying the fact that he is an insanely creative, talented, charismatic individual and he’s leveraging that to breathe new life into all of his endeavors.”

In the last five years, Smith has starred in major blockbusters like Warner Bros.’ “Suicide Squad” and Disney’s “Aladdin,” reestablishing himself as a force at the box office.

And Smith isn’t the only celebrity following this path. Dwayne Johnson, Ryan Reynolds, Taylor Swift, Jennifer Lopez and more have embraced social media as a way to connect with fans and promote their work.

Jung and Freeman’s digital media division of CAA has been devised as a place to meld the best practices of the traditional Hollywood model with the strategies of grassroots entrepreneurial content creators. In doing so, their team can take already established talent and reinvigorate their careers. They can also take up-and-coming talent, like Martinez-Reid, and build from an already sturdy foundation.

Martinez-Reid is still forging his path and CAA isn’t rushing him.

“That’s why I love CAA,” Martinez-Reid said. “Because they see me as a talented creator who will have a career. It’s not just about quick jobs. It’s about shaping what my next 10 years are going to look like.”

New York nurses charged with forging Covid vaccine playing cards to earn greater than $1.5 million

Prosecutors said that officers obtained a ledger documenting profits in excess of $1.5 million from the alleged illegal activity.

Office of the District Attorney County of Suffolk

Two nurses on New York’s Long Island are being charged with forging Covid-19 vaccination cards and entering the fake jabs in the state’s database, a scam that allegedly raked in more than $1.5 million.

The Suffolk County District Attorney on Friday arrested Julie DeVuono, 49, the owner and operator of Wild Child Pediatric Healthcare in Amityville and her employee, Marissa Urraro, 44, according to a complaint.

From November 2021 to January 2022, the pair of allegedly forged vaccination cards, charging adults $220 apiece and $85 per child for a fake record that would land in the New York State Immunization Information System database. Prosecutors said that on one or more occasions, DeVuono and Urrano allegedly created records to indicate a vaccine was given to an undercover detective despite never administering the vaccine.

Julie DeVuono (L) and Marissa Urraro’s booking photos from the Suffolk County Police Dept. on Jan. 29th, 2022

Courtesy: Suffolk County Police Department.

“Forging COVID-19 vaccination cards and entering false information into the New York
State database used to track vaccination records puts the health and well-being of others at risk, and undermines efforts to slow the spread of the COVID-19 virus,” special agent Scott Lampert said in a statement announcing the charges.

During a search of DeVuono’s home, officials said officers seized roughly $900,000. They also allegedly found a ledger documenting profits from the scheme in excess of $1.5 million.

During a search of Julie DeVuono’s home, officials said officers seized roughly $900,000.

Office of the District Attorney County of Suffolk

DeVuono’s husband Derin DeVuono, who is a New York Police Department officer, is being investigated by the department’s Internal Affairs Bureau in terms of his possible involvement in his wife’s alleged scheme, sources told the New York Daily News.

DeVuono and Urraro are each being charged with one count of forgery in the second degree. DeVuono is also being charged with an additional count of offering a false instrument for filing in the first degree. The pair’s legal defense was not immediately clear.

Just a month ago, New York Gov. Kathy Hochul signed a bill into law criminalizing fake Covid-19 vaccination cards.

Seven-time Tremendous Bowl champion Tom Brady is reportedly retiring after 22 NFL seasons

Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady (12) celebrates with the Vince Lombardi Trophy after beating the Kansas City Chiefs in Super Bowl LV at Raymond James Stadium.

Mark J. Rebilas | USA TODAY Sports | Reuters

Legendary quarterback Tom Brady is retiring from the sport after 22 seasons, ESPN reports Saturday.

Brady, a seven-time Super Bowl champion, has been widely expected to announce a decision for the upcoming season in the coming weeks. It’s not clear when Brady will make his retirement public.

Brady’s decision to retire had been based on several factors, including his family and health, ESPN reported, citing unnamed sources. During a recent episode of his podcast “Let’s Go,” Brady told co-host Jim Gray there is joy in “not playing football” and spending time with his family.

Brady, 44, left the New England Patriots in 2020 and signed with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to take them to their first Super Bowl in 18 years. Brady became the oldest starting quarterback to win a Super Bowl ring at age 43.

Buccaneers executives and coaches had been bracing for Brady’s retirement in the past few weeks, ESPN reported. On his podcast, Brady had said there was “no rush” from the Bucs coaching staff and management in deciding whether to return to play.

After leaving the field last week following the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ loss to the Los Angeles Rams, the sports outlet said Brady likely knew it was his last act in the sport. Brady has been against the idea of ​​a “farewell tour,” however, saying it could be “distracting.”

“I’m proud and satisfied with everything we accomplished this year,” he said about the Bucs season and his own performance. “I know when I give it my all, that’s something to be proud of. And I’ve literally given everything I had, this year, last year and the year before that.”

Read the full report from ESPN.

‘Maus’ is Amazon bestseller after Tennessee faculty ban

“Maus,” the decades-old graphic novel about the effects of the Holocaust on a family, has become an Amazon bestseller as part of a backlash to the news this week that it was banned by a Tennessee school board.

The McMinn County board says it took that step on Jan. 10 because of a handful of curse words and other aspects of “Maus” that it found upsetting, including “its depiction of violence and suicide.”

The board’s decision on the 1992 Pulitzer Prize-winning book by Art Spiegelman, which had been a key part of McMinn’s eighth-grade curriculum, was unanimous.

“The Complete Maus” on Friday held the No. 1 spot among Amazon’s bestsellers in the categories of fiction satire, and comics and graphic novels, and the no. 7 spot overall for all books.

“Mouse I,” an earlier published book that is the first part of “The Complete Maus,” was the No. 5 bestselling book on Amazon. The second part of the story, “Mouse II” what the no 1 bestseller in the European history category.

In addition to leading to a flood of demand for the book on Amazon, the McMinn board’s ban spurred other people to make the book more accessible to readers.

One of them, Professor Scott Denham at Davidson College in North Carolina, is offering McMinn County students in the eighth grade and high school an online class on “Mouse.

“I have taught Spiegelman’s books many times in my courses on the Holocaust over many years,” Denham says on his website.

CNBC Politics

Read more of CNBC’s politics coverage:

Richard Davis, owner of the Nirvana Comics bookstore in Knoxville, Tenn., is offering loans of “The Complete Maus” to any student.

Davis, whose store is located within 15 miles of McMinn County, also has set up a GoFundMe campaign to buy more “Maus” copies to be loaned and possibly ultimately donated to students. That effort had raised more than $30,000 by late Friday, more than three times its original $10,000 target.

“We’re getting requests from parents all over the country, even Europe, asking for copies,” said Davis.

He believes the surprisingly strong response reflects the view that “That’s not what we do in America: ‘We don’t ban books.'”

“It triggered a very American response,” he said.

One donor on the page wrote: “Banned books are the without fail among the most important, and ‘Maus,’ especially right now, is very, very important.”

Cartoonist Art Spiegelman attends the French Institute Alliance Francaise’s “After Charlie: What’s Next for Art, Satire and Censorship at Florence Gould Hall on February 19, 2015 in New York City.

Mark Sagliocco | Getty Images

The book’s author told CNBC in an email: “I’m heartened by reader responses, and the local responses you mentioned.”

“The schoolboard could’ve checked with their book-banning predecessor, [Russia President] Vladimir Putin: he made the Russian edition of Maus illegally in 2015 (also with good intentions—banning swastikas) and the small publisher sold out immediately and has had to reprint repeatedly,” Spiegelman wrote.

“The Streisand effect struck again,” he added, referring to the phenomenon — named after superstar singer Barbra Streisand — of an effort to ban something actually causing increased public awareness of that thing.

Spiegelman, 73, also told CNBC that his lecture agent is “trying to coordinate a public/Zoom event for the McMinn area where I will … talk and take questions about Maus with local citizens (hopefully teachers, students, clergy, etc) in the next couple of weeks.”

The school board’s president didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment on the book’s increased sales or Spiegelman’s comments.

The McMinn ban was not widely known until Wednesday, when a local online news outlet, The Tennessee Holler, publicized it.

The book, which won a Pulitzer in 1992, tells the story of Spiegelman’s parents’ time in Nazi death camps, the mass murder of other Jews, and his mother’s suicide years later.

In “Maus,” groups of people are drawn as different kinds of animals: Jews are mice, Poles are pigs, and Nazi Germans are cats.

Minutes of the McMinn school board meeting that led to the book being banned show that while some parents said they supported the idea of ​​teaching about the Holocaust, they had problems with some profanity in the book. They also had an issue with an image showing a nude woman who is Spiegelman’s mother.

“We can teach them history and we can teach them graphic history,” board member Mike Cochran said, according to minutes of the meeting. “We can tell them exactly what happened, but we don’t need all the nakedness and all the other stuff.”

But the US Holocaust Museum in Washington, DC, challenged that idea in a tweet Wednesday after news broke about the ban, saying: “‘Maus’ has played a vital role in educating about the Holocaust” and that “Teaching about the Holocaust using books like Maus can inspire students to think critically about the past and their own roles and responsibilities today.”

Spiegelman told CNBC on Wednesday that “I’ve met so many young people … who have learned things from my book” about the Holocaust.

Davis, the owner of Nirvana Comics in Knoxville, agreed.

“‘Maus’ changed my life, ‘Maus’ changed how I see the world,” Davis said in an interview Friday, noting that he has “read it dozens of times, and I sobbed each time.”

He said the book “rises above its original medium. It’s more than a comic book, it’s an important historical document that provides perspective about one of the most horrific events in history.”

But Davis also said that the fact that “Maus” is a graphic novel makes it “probably the most effective book at teaching the Holocaust, especially to schoolchildren.”

“Teenagers today are accustomed to reading comic books,” he said. “‘Maus’ is a very heavy read, but the graphic novel format makes it more approachable.”

“It’s one of those books that everyone should read, and it should be in every school curriculum,” he said.

Davis said the ban’s “end result reflects negatively on Tennessee because it perpetuates the sense that people in the south are backward.”

He said that “unfortunately we live an in era” where one complaint or a handful of complaints can lead to a book such as ‘Maus’ getting banned.

“I’m sure that the [McMinn] parents and the school board were well-intentioned, and thought they were protecting their children,” he said.

“But I think that really these parents, their good intentions, had very negative results. I think they’re harming their children by trying to keep them from books like ‘Maus,'” Davis said. “They’re trying to kid-proof everything.”

Have your purchase checklist prepared for ‘hideous moments’

CNBC’s Jim Cramer on Friday previewed next week’s major corporate earnings reports after Wall Street capped off a wild week filled with major intraday moves for the major US stock indexes.

“Next week is the last truly hard week of earnings season,” the “Mad Money” host said. However, he added, “I say each day will be controlled not by earnings, but by the wild action in the S&P futures … so have your buys ready for those hideous, nauseous moments because … I bet there will be more ahead.”

All earnings and revenue projections are from FactSet.

Zoom In IconArrows pointing outwards

Jim Cramer’s game plan for the trading week that begins Jan 31.

Mad Money with Jim Cramer

Monday: Otis Worldwide and NXP Semiconductors

Otis Worldwide

  • Q4 2021 earnings before the bell; conference call at 8:30 am ET Monday
  • Projected EPS: 69 cents
  • Projected revenue: $3.59 billion

Cramer said he’ll be listening to see whether the elevator company’s business in China is finally slowing down and how the US is “holding up.” He noted that Otis has a solid pulse on the state of large-scale construction globally.

NXP Semiconductors

  • Q4 2021 earnings after the close; conference call at 8 am ET Tuesday
  • Projected EPS: $3.01
  • Project revenue: $3 billion

The semiconductor firm should offer insights into the chip crunch that’s weighed on the automotive industry, Cramer said, asking rhetorically whether NXP will be able to meet demand. “I sure hope so,” he said.

Tuesday: Exxon Mobil, Alphabet, AMD, PayPal, General Motors and Starbucks

Exxon Mobile

  • Q4 2021 earnings release before the open; conference call at 9:30 am ET Tuesday
  • Projected EPS: $1.94
  • Projected revenue: $85.01 billion

Cramer said that if Exxon Mobil reports a “so-so number” that causes the shares of other oil and gas companies to decline, investors should use that weakness as an opportunity to buy chevrons.

alphabet

  • Q4 2021 earnings after the close; conference call at 5 pm ET Tuesday
  • Projected EPS: $27.80
  • Projected revenue: $72.23 billion

Cramer said the Google parent company’s earnings tend to be controversial, suggesting that even a very strong quarter may not translate to strong gains for the stock. “My suggestion? If it’s really good, put it on your shopping list [and] wait for the next market-wide swoon” to do some buying, he said.

AMD

  • Q4 2021 earnings after the bell; conference call at 5 pm ET Tuesday
  • Projected EPS: 75 cents
  • Projected revenue: $4.47 billion

Cramer said he thinks the sell-off in AMD shares so far in 2022 is considerably overdone, with the chipmaker’s stock down nearly 27% year to date. While owning AMD, as his charitable trust does, can be “a tough chore” at times, Cramer said he believes the stock has gotten too cheap at these levels and recommended buying shares to take advantage.

PayPal

  • Q4 2021 earnings after the close; conference call at 5 pm ET Tuesday
  • Projected EPS: $1.12
  • Projected revenue: $6.9 billion

Cramer noted PayPal has been a terrible performer for his charitable trust. The stock has been nearly cut in half since its highs in July and is still being punished by Wall Street, Cramer said, a sign that growth is out of style at the moment. He said he’ll be listening to see if CEO Dan Schulman can offer commentary that turns the tide of sentiment around for PayPal shares.

General Motors

  • Q4 2021 earnings after the bell; conference call at 5 pm ET
  • Projected EPS: $1.16
  • Projected revenue: $35.75 billion

GM shares are cheap, Cramer said, and if the Street truly is favoring value over growth stocks at this moment, the “Mad Money” host believes that’s positive news for the Detroit automaker’s stock.

Starbucks

  • Q1 2022 earnings release after the close; conference call at 5 pm ET
  • Projected EPS: 80 cents
  • Project sales: $7.98 billion

Cramer said he’ll be monitoring to see if management addresses some of the reasons why the coffee chain’s shares are down about 17% year to date, including unionization efforts at some US stores, the Covid omicron variant and China’s pre-Olympic lockdown.

Wednesday: Meta Platforms and AbbVie

MetaPlatforms

  • Q4 2021 earnings after the bell; conference call at 5 pm ET Wednesday
  • Projected EPS: $3.85
  • Projected revenue: $33.36 billion

Cramer said shares of Facebook’s parent company appear cheap based on 2022 earnings estimates, noting that criticism of the social media giant has quieted recently. He said he thinks the stock is worth owning here.

AbbVie

  • Q4 2021 earnings before the open; conference call at 9 am ET Wednesday
  • Projected EPS: $3.28
  • Project sales: $14.96 billion

Shares of AbbVie have performed well recently, up nearly 26% over the past three months. For that reason, Cramer said investors should wait for the quarterly report before making any decisions on the stock.

Thursday: Eli Lilly, Honeywell, Ford and Amazon

Eli Lilly

  • Q4 2021 earnings before the bell; conference call at 9 am ET Thursday
  • Projected EPS: $2.45
  • Projected revenue: $7.69 billion

Honeywell

  • Q4 2021 earnings before the bell; conference call at 8:30 am ET Thursday
  • Projected EPS: $2.08
  • Project sales: $8.73 billion

Cramer noted both Eli Lilly and Honeywell are stocks that he’s been recommending lately for members of the CNBC Investing Club.

ford

  • Q4 2021 earnings after the bell; conference call at 5 pm ET Thursday
  • Projected EPS: 45 cents
  • Project sales: $41.23 billion

Cramer said he’s looking forward to hearing updates on Ford’s F-150 Lightning, calling the electric pickup truck arguably the company’s most exciting new offering in decades.

Amazon

  • Q4 2021 earnings after the close; conference call at 5:30 pm ET Thursday
  • Projected EPS: $3.72
  • Projected revenue: $137.73 billion

Shares of Amazon are not loved right now, Cramer said, as the stock is down 13.64% year to date and 11% over the past year. However, he said he remains a believer in the e-commerce and cloud computing giant. He recommended investors wait for the quarterly report before doing anything with the stock, though.

Friday: Regeneron and Bristol-Myers Squibb

Regeneron

  • Q4 2021 earnings before the bell; conference call at 8:30 am ET Friday
  • Projected EPS: $20.10
  • Project sales: $4.51 billion

Cramer said he’s looking for the pharmaceutical company to tell a good story — not about its Covid antibody therapy, but rather new drugs for asthma and other ailments.

Bristol Myers Squibb

  • Q4 2021 earnings before the open; conference call at 8 am ET Friday
  • Projected EPS: $1.80
  • Projected revenue: $12.08 billion

Cramer said he thinks shareholders will like what Bristol-Myers Squibb has to say about the drugs it gained through acquisitions of Celgene and Myocardia.

Sign up now for the CNBC Investing Club to follow Jim Cramer’s every move in the market.

Disclosure: Cramer’s charitable trust owns shares of Ford, Amazon, AbbVie, Meta Platforms, Alphabet, AMD, Eli Lilly, Honeywell and PayPal.

Mega Hundreds of thousands’ jackpot is $421 million. What to do in case you win

MARK RALSTON | AFP | Getty Images

Sure, the chance of your ticket hitting the Mega Millions jackpot is tiny — roughly one in 302 million.

Nevertheless, it’s worth considering what you’d do if you manage to beat the odds. For Friday night’s drawing, matching all six numbers pulled would mean landing $421 million.

The amount has been rolling higher since late October, when $108 million was won. That marked the last of six jackpots awarded in 2021, which ranged from $55 million to $1.05 billion.

More from Personal Finance:
3 key reasons to keep your will or estate plan updated
Tax season is underground. How to get a faster refund
Here’s a financial road map for the rest of the year

If you end up joining the short list of top prize winners, there are some things to consider before doing much of anything.

For starters, lottery tickets are considered “bearer instruments,” which means whoever holds it is considered the owner. This means you need to earnestly protect it.

Take a picture of yourself with the winning ticket, said certified financial planner Joe Buhrmann, senior financial planning consultant at eMoney Advisor. Also put the ticket somewhere secure — such as in a safety deposit box — until it’s time to claim your windfall.

Additionally, you may want to sign the back of the ticket. Just be aware that in some states, doing so could interfere with your ability to claim the prize via a trust or other legal entity that would shield your identity from the public.

It’s also worth sharing the exciting news with as few people as possible. If you won’t be able to remain anonymous — it depends on state laws — you need to consider how to avoid becoming a target for scammers as well as long-lost family and friends.

“You may have been friendless and unknown to passers-by on the streets,” Buhrmann said. “That will all change when you’re announced as the winner.”

You also should turn to experienced professionals to help guide you through the claiming process and the many facets of protecting your windfall. Your team should include an attorney, financial advisor, tax advisor and insurance professional.

This group can help you determine whether to take your winnings as a lump sum or as 30 payments spread over 29 years. Most lottery winners choose the immediate, reduced cash amount. For Mega Millions’ $421 million jackpot, the cash option is $290.9 million.

Either way, the money would face a 24% federal tax withholding before it reaches you. For this jackpot, taking the cash would mean about $69.8 million getting shaved off the top, leaving you with a cool $221.1 million. Depending on where you won the jackpot, there may also be state taxes withheld.

Consider how this newfound wealth will change your marriage, family and dynamics with friends and neighbors.

Joe Buhrman

Senior financial planning consultant at eMoney Advisor

Additional federal income taxes would likely also be due at tax time, given the top rate of 37%. There also may be more due in state taxes, depending on the jurisdiction’s rate of withholding.

It’s also worth giving some thought to how your life is going to change — not just from a financial aspect.

“Consider how this newfound wealth will change your marriage, family and dynamics with friends and neighbors,” Buhrmann said.

You may even want to seek guidance from a financial therapist or mental health professional to help you deal with the stress that comes with winning, he said.

Meanwhile, Powerball’s jackpot is $104 million for Saturday night’s drawing. The cash option is $72.5 million. As with Mega Millions, the chance of a single ticket winning the top prize is tiny: one in 292 million.

Which nations are finest for street journeys? See the highest 5 on the earth

The highly transmissible omicron Covid-19 variant has some travelers thinking twice about air travel again.

while travel bookings are surging this year, some people are sticking with one of the biggest trends to have emerged from the pandemic: the road trip.

“With driving you can significantly lower your risk of exposure when interacting with large groups … making it a safer option,” said Anja Benson, public relations and marketing manager at the vacation home rental website Holidu.

Road trips also give travelers the chance to “clear their minds — something that many will be keen to do after almost two years of being cooped up inside,” she added.

Holidu is behind a new list to inspire travelers to buckle up and hit the road. its “Cross Country Road Trip Index” published in December Factors analyzed such as road quality, gas prices and landscape variety in 118 countries.

It also took into account the number of UNESCO World Heritage Sites in a given country and the number of cities in the top 100 world ranking, as determined by the website BestCities.org.

These factors, plus others, were weighted equally in the ranking. When countries tied, the country with the best road infrastructure was given the edge because “having decent roads to drive on is something that every ‘road tripper’ will deem important,” said Benson.

Here are the top five countries on that list, along with famous routes in each destination.

1.United States

Home to 29 of the 100 best-ranked cities in the worldthe United States offers road warriors a range of landscapes, from mountains and deserts to glaciers and forests.

The country also ranked eighth in the world for road quality.

U.S. Route 66

  • Popular route: Chicago, Illinois to the Santa Monica Pier in California
  • Distance: about 2,450 miles

The old US Route 66 stretched across three time zones and eight states — Illinois, Missouri, Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas, New Mexico, Arizona and California.

Known as the country’s “Mother Road,” Route 66 was decommissioned in 1985, when American transportation officials decertified it and voted to remove its highway signs. Drivers can still trace much of the old route, though the highways have new names now.

Roy’s Motel & Cafe along historic Route 66 in Amboy, California.

Josh Brasted | Getty Images Entertainment | Getty Images

Those who do can see St. Louis’ Gateway Arch; half-buried cars at the Cadillac Ranch outside of Amarillo, Texas; and Route 66 relics along walking tours in Flagstaff, Arizona.

Along the way, there are small towns with old-school diners and vintage barbershops with remnants of the 20th-century Americana that made the route famous.

Pacific Coast Highway

  • Popular route: San Diego, California to Olympic National Park in Washington
  • Distance: about 1,250 miles

Pacific Coast Highway — called “the 101,” “Highway 1” or “PCH,” depending on the location — extends much of the length of the US West Coast, providing breathtaking views of the coastlines of the Pacific Ocean.

The route passes national parks, beaches and picturesque coastal towns as well as cities like Los Angeles, Santa Barbara, San Francisco and Oregon’s Portland.

Travelers can soak in the sun at famous beaches like Long Beach and Huntington Beach, or enjoy the giant trees at Redwood National Park.

Pacific Coast Highway’s Bixby Bridge, near Big Sur, California.

Michael Just | iStock | Getty Images

For a shorter trip, drivers can begin at San Juan Capistrano in Southern California and end at Leggett, north of San Francisco. It’s about half the distance, but still takes drivers along the majority of the Californian coastline.

2. Mexico

Known for its beach resorts and colorful culture, Mexico is also home to 35 UNESCO World Heritage Sites, making it No. 7 in the world by number of heritage sites.

Like its neighbor to the north, Mexico has deserts and mountain ranges. It also has jungles, which give it an edge when it comes to the number of animals present in the country — another factor in the road trip ranking.

Baja California Peninsula

  • Popular route: Tijuana to Cabo San Lucas
  • Distance: about 1,625 miles

Many travel guides recommend a drive down Baja California, a state in Mexico south of the US state of California.

Road trippers can stop to explore Cabo Pulmo, one of the most well-known diving sites along the peninsula. Much of the diving is geared toward experienced divers, though snorkelers can also see Mexico’s diverse marine life.

Visiting Cabo Pulmo between January and March is ideal for whale watching, when humpback and gray whales can be spotted in area lagoons.

Yucatan Peninsula Loop

  • Popular route: Cancun, back to Cancun
  • Distance: about 1,460 miles

Travelers who circle the Yucatan Peninsula can take in the region’s history, culture and famous beach towns.

Drivers can choose their own path, but common routes include a stop to see the Mayan ruins at Chichen Itza — designated one of the “New 7 Wonders of the World” in 2017 — and other UNESCO World Heritage Sites, including the Mayan monuments of Uxmal and the Spanish colonial harbor town of Campeche.

A tourist stands next to the algae-tinted pink lakes of Los Colorados in Yucatan, Mexico.

wanderluster | E+ | Getty Images

On the way back to Cancun, travelers can stop in the beach towns of Tulum and Playa Del Carmen. Another picturesque spot is the collection of pink lakes in Las Coloradas, although visitors are no longer allowed to swim in the water.

3.Canada

Holidu’s study ranks Canada as the sixth country in the world for its “natural assets,” which include its national parks.

The country also scored high for its road infrastructure, with popular cities like Toronto, Vancouver and Montreal clinching spots on the best city list.

Trans Canada Highway

  • Popular route: Victoria, British Columbia, to St. John’s, Labrador
  • Distance: about 4,860 miles

Known as the second-longest national highway in the world, the Trans-Canada Highway runs through all of Canada’s 10 provinces. It can take a month or more to fully take in the picturesque views along the route.

Fall colors along the Trans-Canada Highway near Golden in British Columbia, Canada.

Education Images | Universal Images Group | Getty Images

Hiking in Glacier National Park is a highlight for many road-trippers. The park is open year-round with campgrounds opening in late June, and ski season running from November to April.

Sea to Sky Highway

  • Popular route: Horseshoe Bay to Whistler, both in British Columbia
  • Distance: about 75 miles

A road trip along the Sea to Sky Highway — officially Highway 99 — is filled with natural, cultural and outdoor sport attractions.

Though the distance is short, road trippers routinely stretch out the drive over several days. This grants travelers time to stop at places such as the Sea to Sky Gondola in Squamish, which brings visitors 885 meters (2,900 feet) above sea level for panoramic views of the coastal mountains.

In the winter months, the gondola serves crowds of families who come to ski, hike and snowboard.

4.Malaysia

With affordable accommodations, food and fuel prices, money goes far in Malaysia, the only country in Asia to make the top five.

“One thing that Asia offers road trippers over western countries is value for money,” said Holidu’s Benson. Malaysia is the “seventh cheapest country in the world for gas at only $1.87 a gallon.”

Kuala Lumpur to Cameron Highlands

  • Distance: about 125 miles

The drive from the buzzing capital city of Kuala Lumpur to the high altitudes of Cameron Highlands can be done in half a day.

Dotted with tea plantations and hiking trails, Cameron Highlands is lush and cooler than other parts of Malaysia.

MOHD RASFAN | AFP | Getty Images

Strawberry-picking season usually lasts from May to August, but travelers who visit at other times can explore the municipality’s bee and butterfly farms.

Cameron Highlands is also well known for its tea plantations. Rolling green hills and English-style cottages surround the area for visitors looking to enjoy a relaxing afternoon tea break.

Petaling Jaya to Langkawi

  • Distance: about 300 miles

This road trip covers most of Malaysia’s western coast, from Petaling Jaya — a city on the outskirts of Kuala Lumpur — to the islands of Langkawi, which are accessible via ferry.

The Langkawi Sky Bridge is a curved suspension bridge popular with tourists.

Alfred Cheng / EyeEm | EyeEm | Getty Images

To take a break from the sweltering heat, travelers can stop by the seven-tiered Taman Eko Rimba Kanching waterfalls for a swim. From there, it’s only half an hour to Selangor Fruit Valleya 646-hectare tropical fruit farm with a petting zoo and tram ride.

5 Argentina

Road trippers passing the Argentinian capital city of Bueno Aires — ranked No. 63 on the list of 100 best cities — can “explore its mansion-lined cobblestone streets, bustling boulevards and its nightlife that goes on until dawn,” said Benson.

Those looking for a quieter journey can visit the Yacutinga Rainforest, Andes mountain range or the Patagonian Desert.

route 40

  • Popular route: Cabo Virgenes, Patagonia to La Quiaca, Jujuy province
  • Distance: about 3,230 miles

Argentina’s Route 40 is said to be one of the most captivating road trips in the world.

Ruta de los Siete Lagos, also known as Route of the Seven Lakes, in Argentina.

Evan Lang | moment | Getty Images

One of the biggest highlights along the route is the Route of the Seven Lakes. Visitors can spend an entire day exploring the mountainous backdrops, small villages and aquarium-blue waterfalls in the lake region.

There are also UNESCO World Heritage Sites along the way, including Los Glaciares National Park — the country’s largest national park — and the Cueva de las Manos, or “Cave of Hands,” with cave drawings of human hands executed between 9,500 to 13,000 years agoaccording to UNESCO.

Buenos Aires to Salta

  • Distance: about 925 miles

Travelers embarking on this route usually spend the weekend in Mendoza, arguably Argentina’s most acclaimed wine region. Many of the vineyards here produce the country’s signature wine grape — Malbec. Horseback riding is a popular way to take in the breathtaking scenery.

Vineyards in the Mendoza wine region of Argentina.

Edsel Querini | E+ | Getty Images

The region also attracts visitors looking for an adrenaline rush, with options to go paragliding and whitewater rafting on the Mendoza River.

Watch GM CEO Mary Barra take her first autonomous automotive trip with Cruise

General Motors Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Mary Barra speaks during a meeting with private sector CEOs hosted by U.S. President Joe Biden to discuss the Build Back Better agenda at the White House in Washington, United States, January 26, 2022 discuss.

Kevin Lamarque | Reuters

“It’s just surreal” General Motors CEO Mary Barra says while testing one of the company’s driverless cars in San Francisco, calling it a highlight of her career.

Barra last week rode in a retrofitted Chevrolet Bolt EV with Kyle Vogt, founder and interim CEO of Cruise, the automaker’s majority-owned autonomous vehicle subsidiary. The self-driving vehicle, called Tostada, is one of a fleet of driverless cruise vehicles currently cruising around San Francisco at night as the company prepares for the commercialization of the operations this year.

“It was amazing,” Barra says in a video posted to Cruise’s YouTube page. He later added, “This is going to change the way people move in such a positive way… I’m over the moon.”

Vogt stepped in as CEO after Dan Ammann, a former GM executive who ran Cruise allegedly suppressed over internal disagreements with Barra.

Autonomous vehicles are seen as a potential multi-trillion dollar market. GM expects the operations to potentially contribute as much as $50 billion in annual revenue by the end of this decade. However, the commercialization of self-driving vehicles has been far more challenging than many predicted just a few years ago.

The ride was Barra’s first ride in an unmanned vehicle without a safety driver.

Late last year, Cruise began testing a fully driverless vehicle fleet with no human backup drivers. In November, Cruise posted a video of Vogt doing his first driverless drive in San Francisco.

The nearly three-minute video with Barra also shows GM President Mark Reuss and Craig Buchholz, senior vice president of GMs Communications, in another self-driving vehicle called Disco.

Reuss called the drive “amazing” and spoke about the vehicle’s performance and its potential impact on society, including seniors like his 85-year-old father Lloyd Reuss, who was also the automaker’s president in the early ’90s.

GM acquired Cruise in 2016. Since then it has attracted investors such as Honda engineSoftbank Vision Fund and more recently Walmart and Microsoft.