Apple announced record-shattering Q4 2014 earnings yesterday after the market closed. Highlights of the gigantic quarter include almost $75 billion in revenue, $18+ billion in profits, and a staggering $178 billion in cash on its balance sheet.
Allow me to put that number in perspective: $178 billion exceeds the respective gross domestic products of Kuwait, Vietnam and Morocco. It surpasses the market caps of major corporations like Disney, AT&T and Bank of America. With $178 billion in cash, Apple could buy Ford Motor Company three times, Yahoo! four times, or Snapchat nine times.
Alternatively, they could buy, like, SO MUCH WEED.
How much weed exactly? The exact amount is unfathomable. But it's, like, a lot.
Apple CEO Tim Cook told analysts on the earnings call, "The volume is hard to comprehend."
No shit it's hard to comprehend! Can you imagine -- $178 billion worth of weed? It's totally blowing my mind -- and I'm not even high right now.
Oh man this is so crazy that I gotta do the math. For real.
Okay, one time in college, my buddies and I pulled all our cash together to buy weed for spring break. We had like $200, and I think we got about an ounce for it (it was some shitty Mexican dirt weed, but still -- it was weed). We piled all that weed up on a Frisbee, and it was more weed than any of us had ever seen in one place in our lives.
That was like 25 years ago, so let's estimate that the cost of a Frisbee Full of Weed (FFOW, which we'll use as our standard metric) is somewhere around $400 today assuming 2.8 percent inflation, which might be a little high (but with $178 billion for weed, it should be). So how many FFOW could they buy? Let's see...
Apple has 66,000 employees in the United States. With $178 billion, Apple could buy each one of its U.S. employees a FFOW every single day for over 18 years! And they would still have money left to buy each employee a Cypress Hill t-shirt.
Really -- I did the math (on Excel and shit):
With benefits like that, Apple's employee retention number would be off the charts.
Granted, the company would constantly have to re-stock the Pop Chips and Vitamin Waters in the break rooms, and no one would come to work whenever Phish came to the Bay Area, but that's only like once a year, bro!
Compare Apple's numbers to those of Yahoo!, which also reported earnings yesterday. While Yahoo! has far fewer employees, they also have a only fraction of Apple's war chest, so they could only buy each of their employees a FFOW everyday for seven and a half years.
Top talent in Silicon Valley can write their own tickets. So if you are a prospective employee considering a job at both Apple and Yahoo!, where are you going to go? Clearly to Apple. Not only does the Total Employee FFOW Years metric indicate Apple's far superior financial position, who wants to work at a place where the free weed might dry up in eight years?
The net of it is that post-Steve Jobs Apple refuses to slow down. Sales of its core products are still growing (you guessed it) like a weed, and bets on new products like Apple Watch and recently-acquired BEATS headphones will provide additional sources of growth going forward.
And if there's "one more thing" they could add to the line-up, I'm betting on the rumored iVape (a networked vaporizer with GPS and a "Find a Cheesecake Factory" app).
Whether that comes to fruition or not, look for Apple to have a monster 2015. Because it's always 4:20 in Cupertino and $178 billion is a lot of green.
SEE ALSO 1: 240 Dollars Worth of Pudding
SEE ALSO 2: How to Make a Bong Out of an Apple