It's March Madness time — and we mean business

unc duke basketball
Tip-off between the Duke Blue Devils and the North Carolina Tar Heels at the Dean Smith Center on February 8, 2012 in Chapel Hill, North Carolina.Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

Almost Friday! Nvidia's adding to its impressive lineup with a new chip that'll cost at least $30,000. But do you know what's arguably more impressive? CEO Jensen Huang's collection of leather jackets.

In today's big story, we've made a March Madness bracket to decide the biggest topics in business, tech, and innovation, and we need you to vote.

What's on deck:

But first, who ya got in the bracket?

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The big story

Bracket bonanza

A grid with images representing AI, weight-loss drugs, US-China relations, and interest rates.
Kevin Frayer/Getty Images, Chelsea Jia Feng/BI

Welcome to the madness.

College basketball takes center stage this weekend with the first rounds of the men's and women's championship tournaments kicking off today and tomorrow, respectively.

The tourneys, which include 68 teams in a win-or-go-home format, are largely viewed as one of the best sporting events in the US.

Insider Today is getting in on the fun with a business-focused bracket where readers determine a winner.

Below are eight of the biggest storylines we're following in business, tech, and innovation. It's not an all-encompassing list, but these topics cover some of the top trends we're watching.

Just like the tournament, the topics are seeded. In each matchup, vote for the trend you feel is more important. We'll share the results next week and conduct another round of voting for the semifinals.

[1] The AI race vs. [8] The Ozempic effect: Identifying the top seed wasn't tricky. Artificial intelligence is all anyone wants to discuss. The tech is all-encompassing, the top focus of the biggest companies in the world, and could upend everything we do. But weight-loss drugs are also projected to have some massive economic implications. And they're reshaping people's relationship with food.

[2] Interest rates vs. [7] US-China relations: The biggest question in the market is when the Federal Reserve will lower rates. A cut could open up the M&A and IPO markets, boost stocks, and give consumers relief. China doesn't have as direct an impact on US businesses as interest rates, but it's not far behind. Just look at the EV market.

[3] US presidential election vs. [6] Boomers' retirement: This year's presidential election might be a rematch, but both candidates come with plenty of surprises. Speaking of older people, boomers are entering their retirement era, which has many knock-on effects.

[4] Future of social media vs. [5] Streaming wars: A potential TikTok ban. The future of X under Elon Musk. Instagram's comeback. Social media is at a unique crossroads. Another form of entertainment — movies and television — has also reached a tipping point. And it's not just about changing how we watch TV, but how advertisers reach us.

Vote here

3 things in markets

US Federal Reserve Board Chairman Jerome Powell speaks during a news conference at the headquarters of the Federal Reserve on January 31, 2024 in Washington, DC.
US Federal Reserve Board Chairman Jerome Powell.Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images
  1. The Fed holds the line on interest rates. The central bank continued its pause on interest rate hikes. Fed Chair Jerome Powell said he's not looking too far ahead and wants more data "that gives us higher confidence that inflation is moving toward 2%."

  2. How November's election will impact stocks. UBS mapped out how four different election outcomes — like a blue or red sweep — would affect stocks. "While we are obliged to remind investors that portfolio construction is best treated as an apolitical exercise, the next eight months are likely to be exceptionally distracting," the bank wrote in its report.

  3. Goldman Sachs is in damage-control mode amid criticism that it's bleeding female leaders. In a 12-point memo obtained by BI, chief of staff Russell Horwitz admitted that the firm hasn't gone far enough to advance female employees' careers. He was responding to a Wall Street Journal story that detailed concerns about Goldman Sachs' lack of senior female leaders.

3 things in tech

Steve Huffman photo illustration.
Greg Doherty/Variety via Getty Images
  1. The "front page of the internet" is ready to go public. Reddit is set to list on the New York Stock Exchange today. It's priced its initial public offering at $34 a share, valuing the social media platform at $6.4 billion.

  2. AI investments are getting too frothy for VCs. As the AI gold rush overtakes Silicon Valley, venture capitalists are scrambling to get in on the action. Some investors, however, told BI they're struggling to find viable deals as prices skyrocket.

  3. Microsoft's latest hiring spree came amid concerns about OpenAI. The tech giant said on Tuesday that it had snapped up Inflection CEO Mustafa Suleyman and cofounder Karén Simonyan to lead a new AI team. It's a sign Microsoft wants to be less reliant on OpenAI after its CEO Sam Altman was dramatically ousted and then rehired in November, insiders told BI.

3 things in business

An illustration of a worker stepping up on a bar graph.
Alex Nabaum for BI
  1. America's productivity is soaring — and it's not thanks to AI. Strong economic growth and a stable labor market have workers getting better and more efficient at their jobs. That's great news for the US economy, companies, those worried about inflation, and even the stock market.

  2. Amazon is quietly developing a new AI search tool. Internally called Project Theia, the new feature can create images based on shopper queries and product photos. It's intended to help Amazon become a source of shopping inspiration.

  3. Elon Musk's Neuralink just revealed its first human trial patient. Noland Arbaugh, a 29-year-old quadriplegic, received a brain-chip implant in January. In a livestream on X Wednesday he said the chip is "not perfect," but has already improved his life by giving him the ability to play video games for hours on end without having to rely on his family members.

What's happening today

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

Read the original article on Business Insider