Category: Weekly Articles (page 1 of 99)

Top Articles of the Week – 03/22/19 Edition

This week’s highlights:  College Admissions, CalPERS and Private Equity, and Calories

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Fifteen on Friday – Issue 324

Quote of the week:
“Clutter is nothing more than postponed decisions.” 
– Barbara Hemphill – Hat tip to RS

Happy Friday,

David


Food for Thought:

Top Read(s) of the Week:  The College Admissions Scandal 

Why It Matters:    Fifteen on Friday takes one week off, and likely the most ignonimous story of 2019 comes roaring into the headlines.  I’ve tried to capture a few of the better pieces of the last 2 weeks on AdmissionsGate 2019…

Consider as well:

  1. NYT – Your Environment Is Cleaner. Your Immune System Has Never Been So Unprepared.  A century ago, British scientists suggested a link between increased hygiene and allergic conditions — the first hint that our immune systems are becoming improperly “trained.”
  2. WashPo – The Lottery That’s Revolutionizing D.C. Schools  A Nobel Prize-winning economist designed an algorithm that transformed where Washington kids go to school. But how far can it go in addressing segregation and inequality?
  3. NashScene – A Violin Maker and His Apprentice Keep a Storied Tradition Alive
  4. NYT – This 8-Year-Old Chess Champion Will Make You Smile  Overcoming life’s basic truth: Talent is universal, but opportunity is not

Business/Economics:

Top Read of the Week:  BusinessWeek – How Fast Can CalPERS’s $360 Billion Grow?

Why It Matters:   CalPERS approved a sizable increase to their private equity allocation recently to try and hit their return target.  CalPERS CIO said, “So if I could give you a one-line exact summary of this entire presentation would be we need private equity, we need more of it, and we need it now.”  Of course, such sentiments bring to mind Peter Bernstein’s apt quote “The market’s not a very accommodating machine; it won’t provide high returns just because you need them.”

Consider as well:

  1. WSJ – A Growing Problem in Real Estate: Too Many Too Big Houses  Note – Paywall –  349 homes on the market in Scottsdale above $3 million….
  2. CIO – How Does Yale Do It? By Being Different  Yale’s asset allocation bears no resemblance to the average university endowment.
  3. Economist – How to be a rock-star bond investor
  4. II – Can Anyone Bury Bloomberg?  Inside the decades-long quest to bring down a financial information giant.

Culture/Tech/Science:

Top Read of the Week:  1843 – Death of the Calorie

Why It Matters:  “For more than a century we’ve counted on calories to tell us what will make us fat. Peter Wilson says it’s time to bury the world’s most misleading measure”

Consider as well:

  1. CaliforniaSunday – The Believer  After a mysterious freestyle ski run in last year’s Winter Olympics, people called Elizabeth Swaney a scam artist and the worst athlete in the history of the games. They’re wrong.
  2. Medium – 4:33 ‘til Infinity  John Cage’s 4’33” is available to stream on Spotify, which may strike you as immediately hilarious, but is nonetheless ironic
  3. Ringer – “Who’s an EGOT?” How ‘30 Rock’ Made a Fake Award Into a Real-Life Goal  The EGOT—that’s an Emmy, a Grammy, an Oscar, and a Tony, for the uninitiated—was conceptualized by actor Philip Michael Thomas in 1984. But it was a ‘30 Rock’ story line, featuring a Tracy Morgan one-man play, a fake necklace, and a Whoopi Goldberg cameo, that made the EGOT a cultural touchstone. Here’s how that all came together.
  4. TAC – The World Pulls the Andon Cord on the 737 Max

Top Articles of the Week – 03/08/19 Edition

This week’s highlights:  The New 30-Something, Lyft’s Financials, and Induction Cooking

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Photo by Fancycrave.com on Pexels.com

Fifteen on Friday – Issue 323

Happy Friday,

A quick word of welcome to a number of new subscribers to Fifteen on Friday – a weekly newsletter curating the most interesting articles published this week.

Next week marks the beginning of spring break season here in Nashville.  While 20 degree temperatures and chilly rain, don’t immediately bring spring to mind, a stir crazy second grader in my house seems desperately in need of a break.  So with that caveat, Fifteen on Friday will be off next week and resume on 3/22.

Safe travels and warm thoughts,

David


Food for Thought:

Top Read of the Week:  NYTimes – The New 30-Something 

Why It Matters:    “Hold the eye roll and exasperation about millennials and their failure to launch or the gushing of financial resentment for a moment, and consider the unforgiving economics of trying to make it in this country today. Wages have stagnated, while real estate, medical and child care costs have skyrocketed. As one economic analysis concluded recently: “For Americans under the age of 40, the 21st century has resembled one long recession.”

Consider as well:

  1. BusinessWeek – The Battle for the Best Ski Pass  Alterra and Vail Resorts are going head to head snapping up resorts. Can they save skiing and make selling lift tickets a viable business?
  2. Nautilus – The Key to Good Luck Is an Open Mind
  3. GQ – The Secrets of the World’s Greatest Art Thief  Stéphane Breitwieser robbed nearly 200 museums, amassed a collection of treasures worth more than $1.4 billion, and became perhaps the most prolific art thief in history. And as he reveals to GQ’s Michael Finkel, how Breitwieser managed to do all this is every bit as surprising as why.
  4. WBUR – How New Orleans Reduced Its Homeless Population By 90 Percent

Business/Economics:

Top Read of the Week:  WashPo – Uber and Lyft are losing money. At some point, we’ll pay for it. 

Why It Matters:   Lyft filed to go-public this week, offering a first look at the economics of the ride sharing app.  While revenues continue to grow at an accelerating pace, the company loses a massive amount each year.  This is an interest op-ed exploring the unique interplay between a capital market that funds these losses and consumer demand stimulated through subsidized low prices. “Investors should prepare for demand to drop when customers and drivers discover the true price of the service.”

Consider as well:

  1. TexasMonthly – Buc-ee’s: The Path to World Domination – Credit BB – The Bastrop Buc-ee’s opened in 2012, and it has more or less the same relationship to the first Buc-ee’s store that a Boeing 747 has to the biplane the Wright brothers flew at Kitty Hawk. The store [or ‘convenience store’?] occupies 56,000 square feet and has aisles wide enough to drive a golf cart through.
  2. TISGTBG – Some Thoughts and Models Around Ownership Targets  Does a VC do better by putting all its capital into 1 round, or holding some back to avoid dilution?
  3. JS – Dairy farmers are in crisis — and it could change Wisconsin forever  Farmers cling to a dream that, for some, has become a nightmare.
  4. HBR – The Feedback Fallacy – Credit CW – The debate about feedback at work isn’t new. Since at least the middle of the last century, the question of how to get employees to improve has generated a good deal of opinion and research 

Culture/Tech/Science:

Top Read of the Week:  FastCo – Why top restaurants are getting rid of stoves (and why you might, too) 

Why It Matters:  In May 2010, I attended the National Restaurant Association’s annual trade show held at the massive McCormick Place in Chicago.  There were 2 technologies that were demonstrated there which have slowly begun to emerge over the last 9+ years.  The first was the ability to fill a sports stadium beer cup from the bottom – offering huge cost savings to stadiums who loses a meaningful portion of each keg to excess foam.

The second technology was induction cooking.  Rather than using electricity or gas to heat a pan, an induction range uses a cool to the touch magnetic core to generate heat in a pan.  A gas stove top is only 40-50% efficient, induction is 90%.  What that means is that you can boil a pot of water in under a minute.  While induction has been slow in emerging in the home setting, commercial kitchens are already there, due to the ability to cook at a precise temperature – no more “cook the chicken on medium” – think cook in a frying pan at 425 degrees like an oven.

So in 10-15 years, when you remodel, and out goes the Viking gas range – just remember, you heard it here first.

Consider as well:

  1. Economist – The periodic table is 150 years old this week  Its creation is a perfect illustration of how science progresses
  2. Jalopnik – This Is the Year You Start Watching IndyCar
  3. NYT – Leaving It All Behind for the Love of Nebbiolo  Luke Lambert in the Yarra Valley makes fine syrahs and chardonnays. But he wants to grow just one grape, make one wine and do it all himself.
  4. NYT – House Hunting in … Morocco  The city of Marrakesh has enjoyed a recent boost in visibility, but with plenty of inventory, it remains a buyer’s market.
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