Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Before Lyft or Uber or WeWork, there was Snapchat. A red-hot, multi-billion dollar startup that melted upon contact with the public markets.

Why it matters: It's a cautionary tale for those who are quick to leave the 2019 cohort for dead. Snap shared many of the unfavorable traits of those that would follow. Giant losses, unclear path to profitability, and a CEO whose hubris and poor communication skills had damaged both morale and product development.

  • It went public in early 2017 at $17 per share, sinking below $5 per share by the end of 2018. To say there was pessimism about Snap's future would be overstating it, since few people still cared enough to consider an opinion. Dead unicorn walking.

The state of play: Since then, however, Snap has clawed its way back. It finally mastered Android, significantly increased its revenue-per-user, and CEO Evan Spiegel learned to listen, delegate, and be transparent.

  • Shares briefly topped their IPO price in July and, while only at $13.40 as of this writing, the company just crushed analyst expectations for Q3.

What's next: Snap still faces massive challenges, squeezed between incumbent Instagram and an insurgent TikTok, and too many employees remain underwater on their stock options.

  • But its falling knife did rebound and should remind all of us that long-term outcomes needn't be memorialized in the moment.

Go deeper: Snapchat adds 7 million daily active users

Go deeper

Ben Sasse emerges as GOP Trump critic ahead of November

Sen. Ben Sasse walks to the Senate from the subway to vote in June. Photo: Bill Clark/CQ-Roll Call via Getty Images

Sen. Ben Sasse (R-Neb.) has dialed up his spicy slams of President Trump, including this swipe at yesterday's signing ceremony: "The pen-and-phone theory of executive lawmaking is unconstitutional slop."

Why it matters: Trump increasingly looks — to business and to fellow Republicans — like a loser in November. So they're more likely to create distance to save their own skins. Sasse also won his May primary, further freeing him.

Pelosi: "States don't have the money" for Trump's unemployment order

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi claimed on "Fox News Sunday" that states don't have the funds to comply with the executive order President Trump signed on Saturday, which requires them to cover 25% of an additional $400 in weekly unemployment benefits.

Why it matters: Many state and local governments have had their budgets devastated by the economic impacts of the coronavirus, which have caused expenses to soar and revenues to plunge.

Kudlow says he regrets claiming Trump couldn't use executive order for unemployment

White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow said on CNN's "State of the Union" Sunday that he regrets suggesting this week that unemployment benefits can only be extended by Congress.

Why it matters: President Trump's decision to bypass Congress to sign four executive actions, including one that provides $400 per week in extra unemployment benefits, has prompted outcry from Democrats and even some Republicans who believe he is overstepping his constitutional authority.