Marvin’s Best Weekly Reads June 20th, 2021

“The more self-discipline you have, the more you do the things you should do, the happier your future self will be.” — Maxime Lagacé

  1. “There is now a global movement to make just-in-time supply chains more robust and better able to absorb shocks. This means holding larger inventories and buffer stocks. It will add to costs. This is inflationary.

It remains to be seen if this truly becomes the new norm. Maybe it is just talk. Time will tell. But one thing is sure. The improvement of logistics supply chains over the past several decades was a huge efficiency driver and a deflationary force. If this has reversed, we can all expect to pay higher prices for goods and services in future.”

2. Lots of wisdom here. The ever burgeoning socialist class in the western world will hate this but F — k them!

“Your 20s are not the best years of your life. If you live life correctly the general path should be: 20s pain and suffering, 30s tons of excitement change and income, 40s repeat 30s but your body slows down a bit and then 50s = do whatever you like.”

“You owe it to society to become a producer. In fact, if you have the skills to become a producer you’re doing society a *favor* by being selfish in the *beginning*. You are going to create jobs and opportunities for other people. You owe it to yourself and to the country you live in to become a successful individual. That will generate the most value for society over the long-term.”

3. This is a horrifying & sad story. Feel bad for Venezuelans and what happens when you have incompetent corrupt socialists in power. This country used to be RICH.

“In 2014, after oil prices peaked, my country’s economy started shrinking, and it hasn’t really stopped. The basics of modern urban life have collapsed there, one after the other. There are power or data blackouts constantly, often multiple times a day, making my online freelancing gigs almost impossible to keep. Even when the internet works, it’s excruciatingly slow. There’s no public transport, sometimes there’s no cooking gas, and even the most basic of foods, like bananas, keep getting more and more expensive.”

4. “Worldbuilding is when an idea or theory is taken from a concept and created through action. Most people think of fiction writing when they hear the term worldbuilding. An author has a vision of a world in their mind and communicates that vision through written word.

But worldbuilding is more than creating works of fiction.

People become worldbuilders when they use their time, energy, and resources to build belief systems, processes, and companies to shape the world to make their vision a reality.

Worldbuilders are entrepreneurs. They create products, services, and/or concepts to shape the world with solutions to build the world a certain way.”

5. “A Nomad Capitalist is someone who is pioneering a different kind of life.

Spending time in vastly different parts of the world both expands and transforms your ability to relate to the world. It is a lifestyle full of both adventure and work, freedom and discipline, passionate connection and sometimes deep loneliness — but always LEARNING.”

6. “This is the beauty of a programmatic, transparent, fixed monetary policy. Bitcoin is literally the wealth protection that billions of people around the world need. While the market manipulators are pretending to save the world, they are actually running trillion dollar marketing campaigns for the true wealth inequality solution.

I wish the market interventionists would knock it off. I wish they would let the free markets do what they do best. I wish they would stop inflating asset prices artificially and punishing the bottom 45% of Americans who hold cash. But they won’t. So this is why we bitcoin.”

7. “I think Americans’ terror of automation is another example of the scarcity mindsetinto which we’ve fallen in recent decades. Like timid mice guarding our last crumb of cheese, we look to any change as a source of dread rather than a source of opportunity.

But we don’t have to be like that. Believing in technological progress is about believing in the potential of humankind. Do we really think that QR code ordering in restaurants will be the innovation that finally renders humans obsolete? Do we really think that wandering around a restaurant saying “Are you still working on that?” was the last thing that the average human being was good for, and after this we’ll never be able to find something new for people to do?

I don’t believe that. I believe we’re only at the beginning of our quest to unlock average people’s true economic potential.”

8. This is such a great podcast. SO good. The All in Podcast!

9. All founders should read this. How to manage your lawyers while closing your fundraise.

10. This is the macro behind all the money flooding into PE & VC.

“Here’s the bottom line: as interest rates increase, we should expect venture capital investment to regress. When the cost of capital is low and yields on cash are small, investors seek greater risk to attain a return. As the risk-free rate on Treasuries increases, market forces should engender enough friction to pull venture investment from the stratosphere into the troposphere or below.”

11. This is so eye-opening. Why Lumber is so damn expensive right now.

12. This is a pretty big deal. Great signal for EU tech ecosystem. The Nordic startups are the secret that is not really a secret.

13. “Paul Tudor Jones is a legend of Wall Street. He has spent the last few decades navigating financial markets better than almost anyone else on the planet. His comments yesterday really drove home the point that a transparent, programmatic monetary policy would not only be attractive to the average citizen looking to protect their wealth, but it would also be attractive to macroeconomic traders looking to grow their wealth aggressively as well.”

14. “It feels as though all the rules of early-stage investing are getting rewritten in real time and that kind of unbounded change is something I’m incredibly excited to be a part of. But, as I explore those possible futures, I keep coming back to the above Bezos quote as a reminder that the uncertainty that comes with unbounded possibilities for change have a counterbalance in the things that don’t.”

15. Good stuff.

“A handful of founders and CEOs — Brian Armstrong of Coinbase, Jason Fried of Basecamp, Shopify’s Tobias Lütke, Medium’s Ev Williams — have said the unsayable,” writes Savodnik. “In the face of shop-floor social-justice activism, they’ve decided, business owners should resolve to stick to business.”

Are you wondering how to manage the in-house team of cultural authoritarians you inadvertently hired? Well, allow me to be so bold as to make a few humble suggestions.

One possible approach is refusing to tolerate psychotic behavior in the workplace initiated on your time, with your money. Speaking of money, if you have the resources, literally paying activists to leave is a now proven, effective strategy (thank you, Brian).

But the easiest thing to do remains the simple act of never hiring employees primarily focused on niche political activism in the first place.”

16. Super proud of Bogdan Litescu & the team. Plant an App is doing awesome, for me the great thing is the revenue & customer growth, not the fundraising.

17. Not sure how I feel about this.

“Compared to some other brands, Big Oil has made relatively small forays into the world of Instagram marketing — but if history is any indication, they’re just getting started. Almonte’s post — with the accompanying whiplash of seeing a company partly responsible for the climate crisis sponsoring a trip to a place greatly endangered by climate change–could become the norm.

History has shown that fossil fuel companies have mastered the art of quiet persuasion, and they’ll almost certainly join in the battle for our time and attention on social media.

Earther has found at least two oil and gas companies — Shell and Phillips 66 — have launched campaigns with different types of Instagram influencers.”

18. I’m excited for this new emerging and frankly better future.

“Independent work aligns with the way that younger workers approach work — as entrepreneurs and investors. They’re tired of renting their time to corporations: they watched their parents and grandparents do that, only to be burned in the 2008 recession and again in the 2020 pandemic.

Corporations aren’t reliable; corporations don’t have your interests at heart. Younger workers would rather dictate their own fortunes through hustle and grit. They want to own equity that appreciates, and they understand that equity is the path to true wealth creation.

The disaggregation of work is about that control — that ability to control your destiny. You reclaim your agency from “the system” and you control your own career arc. You aren’t a businessman, donning your suit and tie and commuting on the Metro North and dreaming of the day you get to stick it to the man. Those days are over. You’re a business, man.”

19. Good life advice for men.

20. The best & ultimate combo of Media meets VC Solo Capitalist. Congrats Harry Stebbings!

“A lot of times a Series B or C [stage startup] approaches us — or their investors do — and say, ‘Hey, we’re thinking about distribution, the content machine, the founder brand…’ and then I write a $3–5m cheque in a $30–50m round,” he explains. “It’s a small part, but it’s super collaborative, and I bring something very different.”

21. “The common misconception about Russia is that Putin controls all, sees all, knows all. He doesn’t. His has been a regime reliant on the buy-in of interest groups, oligarchs, and powerful clans within law-enforcement agencies. Behind the scenes, decision makers from among the siloviki and the technocrats have battled it out as analysts have sought to guess who has been on top and how deeply tensions have run. Putin is no liberal, but he himself has described his government as divided between “Westernizers” and “people of the soil.

Not any longer. The people of the soil have won. They monopolize nearly every aspect of Putin’s government and are enforcing their will — his will — on Russian society in a way that was previously unimaginable.”

22. “There’s a tendency for people to suffer with ‘delayed life syndrome’,” says Serov, meaning that they are only preparing for “real life” to start. Often, this comes from a desire to move away. But, for many this doesn’t happen. “They’re not living for the moment.”

23. I’d agree with this assessment. Not a value judgement but it really could have been much worse in 2020. (not that I think majority of city and state governments have done a good job at all during the pandemic, most have been pretty awful & incompetent).

“That bold decisive action on the part of the U.S. government, which set aside our usual stinginess and skepticism of welfare spending, was instrumental in staving off economic devastation for millions of vulnerable people. American ingenuity and determination was very important, of course, but we couldn’t have come through the pandemic nearly this strong without a helping hand from our government.”

24. Hmmm…..this seems like a good opportunity. I love Japan and am planning on spending more time there as well so this could be interesting.

25. “Set goals. Set deadlines. Stick with it. Be disciplined. Be free.

Do this for 6 months and you’ll be amazed at the results.

Discipline is the path to freedom. This sounds paradoxical which is why freedom is so elusive.”

26. Canada is sadly not immune to the brain damaged Woke movement. #DownwithWOKEmovement

27. HAVAH Nagila! Congrats Itai Damti & the Unit team.

28. No surprise. Singapore is the top entrepôt of Asia by far.

“As the coronavirus pandemic hammers Southeast Asia and political turmoil threatens Hong Kong, the city has become a safe harbor for some of the region’s wealthiest tycoons and their families.”

29. “The biggest divide, though we don’t often talk about it, might be between knowledge workers and other workers; between those who benefit from the spillovers of ideas and capital that arise in superstar cities, and those who will do just as well living in the exurbs. Knowledge clusters have reshaped the entire geography of the nation; this has led to a divergence of class interests between the residents of the exurb and the denizens of the megalopolis.

Class in America is thus so complex, so multidimensional and fragmented, that it requires an enormous amount of cultural capital just to navigate.”

30. I do like Hungary!

31. This is the scary case for why covid pandemic may be with us for a very long time as it mutates and evolves and spreads from one region to another because we can’t vaccinate or eradicate it quickly enough.

32. “Most people are slow to notice and accept change. If you can just be faster than most people at seeing what’s going on, updating your model of the world, and reacting accordingly, it’s almost as good as seeing the future.”

33. “I believe pessimists make better operators. I, no joke, sit awake at night and imagine everything that can go wrong in my firm(s). Then I start emailing people to ensure it won’t. On a livestream last night with two other entrepreneurs, someone asked about our management styles. The other two panelists gave Hallmark Channel answers about helping people find their purpose and encouraging failure and some other bullshit. Then it was my turn.

“I’m fucking all over everybody all the fucking time.”

34. This is immensely stupid and goes against the science. BUT What do we expect from gutless government bureaucrats?

35. I love this idea of a “Digital Bugout Bag.” A must in the emerging new world.

“Most people don’t need to worry about bugging out. But a Sovereign Individual knows that an ability to exercise the tech enabled exit can require leaving a country. And because of this, it makes sense to think through and explore your options for moving abroad. How might your life be impacted? What can you do to create insurance policies that ensure the continuity of your lifestyle? Most importantly, how can you ensure that as many of your families wants and needs are seen to?

Reorganizing your life to a remote oriented society requires a fundamentally different approach. If nothing else, it’s a healthy activity to think through.”

36. “Meme Investing , like SPAC’s are here to stay in the new world of retail investing/trading. It is a weird by product of the internet as power shifts can hate it, ignore it or figure out how to harness it. I choose to harness it.”

37. The concept of the North Star metric is crucial for every founder to understand.

38. VERY Interesting.

“Chinese consumer tech giants are pursuing owning the funnel through a combination of buy, build or partnerships (investments). Each of them starts from their domain of expertise (Tencent’s WeChat is traffic, Alibaba’s Taobao is conversion, and Bytedance is also traffic), before moving either up or down the funnel. Once you consider the pieces they need to acquire, their next move is no longer a surprise.

Generally, it is easier to move down the funnel than up since traffic players already control the users’ attention. Users move from low intent browsing to high intent buying rather than the other way round. This is also why Alibaba’s acquisitions tend to struggle. Aside from the difficulties of integration, Alibaba is more often than not trying to obtain traffic from its acquisitions, whereas Tencent is giving traffic to their partners. The differing dynamic is stark.”

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Marvin Liao

Ever curious: Tsundoku, Reader, Aspiring Shokunin, World traveller, Investor & Tech/Media exec interested in almost everything!