What’s more important? AI or the election.

Happy Friday! Fast food has definitely gotten pricier over the years. But it might shock you by how much. Your favorite McDonald’s meal might have doubled in price since 2014, far surpassing inflation.

But first, our final is set.


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The big story

Crowning a champion

Chelsea Jia Feng/BI



We’re back with the latest installment of our March Madness bracket.

If you’re just catching up, a few weeks ago we identified eight of the biggest trends in business, tech, and innovation. Readers then voted on which ones were most important to them.

Last week, we whittled it down to a final four. Here are the results:

[1] The AI race (86.6%) defeats [4] Future of social media (13.4%).

[3] US presidential election (72.4%) defeats [2] Interest rates (27.6%).

And then there were two: the AI race vs the US presidential election.

Ahead of the final matchup, I emailed sources across industries to get their take on which one is more important. Here’s what they had to say. (Hint: There’s a bit of a theme.)

Bruce K. Lee, founder and CEO, Keebeck Wealth Management:

“It’s AI first. It’s critical for families to have access to top investments in AI. For two decades of innovation, family offices have learned that without unique access to these types of opportunities in technology, and the edge it affords them, they have nothing.”

Dan Rosen, founder and partner, Commerce Ventures:

“As a fintech investor, AI strikes me as more important. AI promises to fundamentally change the operating models and profitability of financial institutions, which is more important than ever given increasing regulatory headwinds and capital requirements.”

A tech executive in Europe:

“I think AI would be even more relevant because of its potential to impact all of us now plus many generations to come. As critical as the US election is this year, its impact will at some point be diluted or overtaken by the impact of future elections.”

Ira Allen, a high school monitor and former insurance agent:

“AI is hip. It is now. I have seen two instances in the public school where I work where kids were busted for using AI. What jobs will be lost with AI? What jobs will be created? And lastly, will AI take on ‘a life of its own?'”

Tracy Albert, vice chairman for investment banking at Palm Tree:

“Artificial intelligence can complement and enhance an investment banker’s capabilities. However, it will never replace the inherent human qualities that make our connections meaningful. Technology will be hard-pressed for the foreseeable future to replace myself and my colleagues!”

Wendy Craft, CEO of the Elle Family Office (Lazarian SFO):

“It’s AI. All the families are discussing AI, and how it will affect security and reputation and privacy as well as investment aspects. However, on the political side, many families would still like to see Dodd-Frank provisions rolled back, as they apply to family offices — which side would be more willing to do so is under discussion.”

Zach Blank, lead strategist for chef Nick DiGiovanni:

“AI is the clear front-runner, having already transformed the tech landscape in ways government policy never has! There’s really limitless potential for what AI can accomplish as it gets more advanced.”


3 things in markets

Adam Jeffery/CNBC/NBCU Photo Bank/NBCUniversal via Getty Images; Elliott Management; Ian MacNicol/Getty Images; BI



  1. Back-to-basics for the big-name hedge funds at Sohn. The annual conference is for hedge funds to present big ideas about the markets. But this year’s conference saw high-profile names like David Einhorn, Elliott’s Jesse Cohn, and Kirkoswald’s Greg Coffey preaching fundamentals and restraint.

  2. A Goldman Sachs partner’s mission to cure banker burnout one good night’s sleep at a time. Brian Robinson is an advocate for taking care of one’s body and mind in ways that have nothing to do with work. That includes drinking 72 ounces of water daily, exercising regularly, and never sleeping next to his phone.

  3. Nelson Peltz’s proxy war was a waste of time, an expert says. The Wall Street Journal reported that the activist investor’s hedge fund made about $300 million in profits from its 16-month battle with Disney. But UCLA corporate law expert James Park told BI that Peltz would’ve been better off focusing on other campaigns, considering he failed in his efforts to win a seat on the House of Mouse’s board.


3 things in tech

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images



  1. Marissa Mayer’s app cofounder just quit — days after their app debuted. The former Yahoo CEO launched her new photo-sharing app last month. On Wednesday, her cofounder Enrique Munoz Torres announced his departure on LinkedIn, calling his time at their shared company, Sunshine, “the most rewarding experience” in his career.

  2. Elon Musk giveth and Elon Musk taketh away. More than a year after making them paid-only, Musk began giving back blue check marks to X accounts with significant followings. But some people don’t want them and are embarrassed at the insinuation they paid for the checks.

  3. Layoffs at Apple. The tech giant has cut over 600 employees in California, according to a series of notices filed with the state. Apple is trimming its head count after scrapping its electric car project and sunsetting its efforts to make next-generation Apple Watch screens in-house.


3 things in business

Lukas Schulze/Getty Images



  1. Ford is delaying its new electric SUV. The release of Ford’s three-row EVs has been pushed back to 2027, the company announced. Instead, it’s working on expanding its hybrid offerings.

  2. Happy hour is so back. Workers may not be going to the office, but they sure are heading to the bars. New data shows happy-hour spending is still above 2019 levels in many large US cities.

  3. Election SZN is good news for Snap. Analysts at the World Advertising Research Center forecast the social-media company’s ad revenue to grow 13.7% this year, up from a 0.1% increase in 2023. The biggest global election year in history will boost its political ad revenues, they said.


In other news

What’s happening today

  • The NCAA women’s basketball Final Four starts today.

The Insider Today team: Dan DeFrancesco, deputy editor and anchor, in New York. Jordan Parker Erb, editor, in New York. Hallam Bullock, senior editor, in London. George Glover, reporter, in London.

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Dan DeFrancesco