BizFeed: Techie’s Turn to Protein Powder So They Can Work Through Meals

Plus: America's most valuable brands, and the dollar's meteoric rise.



1. Techie’s Turn to Protein Drinks so They Can Work More

The News: In Silicon Valley, protein powder is in serious demand. No, the nerds aren’t suddenly skipping the Twinkies and Red Bull to get buff, they’re using it as a meal replacement so they can work more.

The New York Times has more:

“It just removes food completely from my morning equation up until about 7 p.m.,” said Mr. [Aaron] Melocik, 34, who has been following his techie diet since February.

Boom times in Silicon Valley call for hard work, and hard work — at least in technology land — means that coders, engineers and venture capitalists are turning to liquid meals with names like Schmoylent, Soylent, Schmilk and People Chow. The protein-packed products that come in powder form are inexpensive and quick and easy to make — just shake with water, or in the case of Schmilk, milk. While athletes and dieters have been drinking their dinner for years, Silicon Valley’s workers are now increasingly chugging their meals, too, so they can more quickly get back to their computer work.

Why it Matters: What happens in Silicon Valley eventually trickles down to the rest of the tech world. They do hack-a-thons, we do hack-a-thons. They skip meals with protein drinks, we’ll do it too. Perhaps it all started with Tesla Founder Elon Musk (who was not interviewed for the Times story) but said the following about food:

“If there was a way that I couldn’t eat so I could work more, I would not eat. I wish there was a way to get nutrients without sitting down for a meal,” according to a new book on the entrepreneur, written by Ashlee Vance.

2. Apple Passes Google as Most Valuable Brand

The News: A new study by BrandZ calls Apple the most valuable brand, beating out Google for the top spot. Here’s what BrandZ had to say about the tech giant:

With a 67 percent rise in Brand Value to $247 billion, Apple returned to number one in the BrandZ™ Top 100 Most Valuable Global Brands ranking. Success of the iPhone 6 and the related excitement surrounding the Apple brand drove the increase. Apple also led in the rate of brand value growth over 10 years – 1,446 percent.

Why it Matters: No Philadelphia companies made the top 100. Not even Comcast or Campbell Soup.

The top five brands and their brand values:

1. Apple: $247 billion

2. Google: $173 billion

3. Microsoft: $116 billion

4. IBM: $94 billion

5. Visa: $92 billion

3. Strong Dollar Fuels M&A Activity

The News: The U.S. Dollar has gained serious strength over the past year. Consider these numbers from the Wall Street Journal:

After some time in the doldrums, the greenback has gained 25.5% against the euro, 20.8% against the Japanese yen and 9.5% against the British pound over the past year.

Why it Matters: The newly strong dollar is fueling serious merger & acquisition activity since American companies can scoop up foreign ones much cheaper.

U.S. companies committed $250 billion to overseas acquisitions last year, the most on record, according to FactSet data going back to 1995.

That is a 136% rise from 2013, far outpacing the overall increase of about 66% in global merger activity. So far, 2015 is on pace to log more than $350 billion in U.S. outbound deals.

Delivery company FedEx Corp. cited the stronger dollar in its pending $4.8 billion takeover of Dutch carrier TNT Express NV, announced April 7, as did XPO Logistics Inc. in its $3.5 billion deal for France’s Norbert Dentressangle SA, announced three weeks later.