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Insider Today: Meet the HENRYs

Matt Turner   

Insider Today: Meet the HENRYs
  • This post originally appeared in the Insider Today newsletter.

Welcome back! New York's dining elite have returned, and they're heading to restaurants and private clubs that promise extravagance and caviar over everything.

Let's dive into this week's biggest stories.

On the agenda:

But first: The house of Mickey Mouse bested the smiling crocodile. Here's a 60-second recap.

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This week's dispatch

A Mouse House trounce

Disney boss Bob Iger last week won the long proxy battle against Nelson Peltz, the activist investor known as the smiling crocodile. But his work is far from over.

Disney's shareholders voted to stick with the existing board by a "substantial margin." Iger said the company would now focus on shareholder returns and "creative excellence." Peltz pointed to Disney's 50% stock surge since he started his campaign as a sign of victory in defeat.

The win follows a few months full of action. Disney made bets on Hulu, gaming, and Taylor Swift. It announced a new sports streaming platform. It settled its legal dispute with Florida. Iger walked back from "woke" Disney.

But the repeat CEO still has two looming challenges.

First, he needs to find his successor. Iger, who has a history of flubbing this test, stressed after the proxy victory that finding the next CEO is a priority.

Then there's Disney's bigger challenge: How to reinvent a 100-year-old company for a new era.

The cable bundle is broken. Movie attendance has crashed. Gen Zers are tuning out streamers. YouTube could be worth as much as Disney and Comcast combined. They're the kinds of hurdles that will keep Iger and his successor up at night for years to come.

Meet the HENRYs

To identify America's HENRYs — an acronym for high earners, not rich yet — BI used the 2022 Survey of Consumer Finances to analyze Americans who earned $200,000 or more a year but had net worths under $1 million.

We found, on average, HENRYs are white Gen Xers. An overwhelming majority of them are married. And a fair share have debt.

See how the data breaks down.

Give the people what they want

When the EV frenzy started, Detroit automakers pushed to deliver what they do best: pickup trucks.

But demand for electric pickups has dried up, and consumers are no longer interested in six-figure behemoths like the GMC Hummer EV and the Ford F-150 Lightning. Instead, they're turning toward smaller, cheaper cars.

Why nobody wants big, expensive EVs.

Also read:

Angus Deaton is reexamining his views

The 78-year-old Nobel Memorial Prize-winning economist is rethinking his views on major topics like unions, immigration, and global trade.

Deaton told BI he no longer sees unions as a "nuisance," he's grown skeptical of free trade, and he's realized immigration has long-term impacts on inequality.

Everything else that Deaton's rethinking.

Also read:

Y Combinator's new digs

The AI gold rush is bringing tech workers back to San Francisco, and Y Combinator is prepared. Last year, it moved its headquarters from Mountain View to Pier 70.

In January, the startup accelerator tripled its square footage by expanding into the building next door, bringing it to 60,000 square feet. Its new headquarters is meant to be more like a campus than a coworking space.

Check out the sprawling new HQ.

This week's quote:

"'Artificial intelligence' isn't 'the future' — it's just a marketing term for a slightly updated version of the automation that has been ruling our lives for years."

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