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

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

antique burn burning close up

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.

Top Articles of the Week – 03/01/19 Edition

This week’s highlights:  The Cost of Kids, The State of Private Equity and Automotive Country Clubs

photo of little girl s hands covered with paint

Photo by Di Lewis on Pexels.com

Fifteen on Friday – 03/01/19 – Issue 322

Happy Friday,

David


Food for Thought:

Top Read of the Week:  TheAtlantic – It Isn’t the Kids. It’s the Cost of Raising Them.

Why It Matters:    Further context and diving deeper into a specific research finding is incredibly important.  As this article notes, “for several decades, the work of happiness researchers has consistently pointed to an unintuitive conclusion: Having children doesn’t tend to make people happier, and might even make them less happy.”  Yet the result changes profoundly when controlling for financial related concerns.

Consider as well:

  1. NYT – A ‘Tradition’ Omission: I Had Never Seen ‘Fiddler’ Until Now   This is a beautiful reflection on the impact of family culture and tradition.  “If I chalked up my familiarity with “Fiddler” to its clichéd resemblance to my life, now I remembered that clichés are clichés because they’re true, right?”
  2. GQ – How to Read 80ish Books a Year (And Actually Remember Them)
  3. MC – I Was One Of The Top Doctors In My Field. I Was Also An Opioid Addict.  Having just finished Beth Macy’s tremendous Dopesick, this piece again highlights the severity and ubiquity of the opioid epidemic.  The resounding message, the sinister potency of the opioid molecule and its hijacking of normal brain chemistry, means that anyone is susceptible.
  4. Youtube – 4 Year Old at Hockey  What does a 4 year old talk about on the ice at hockey practice? One dad wired up his son after watching him babble from the sidelines.  The result is both hilarious and heartwarming.

Business/Economics:

Top Read of the Week:  Bain – Global Private Equity Report 2019

Why It Matters:   Bain’s annual review of private equity is arguably the most comprehensive look at the state of the industry.  This year’s 88 page tome does not disappoint.

Consider as well:

  1. WB – The Game Theory of Brexit – If you have trouble keep tracking of the various permutations regarding Brexit, this is an excellent synopsis.
  2. Stratechery – The Value Chain Constraint
  3. Bloomberg – The Bill Gross You Didn’t Know: Taxes, Deficits and Asperger’s
  4. AW – The Six New Commandments of Hedge Fund Investing

Culture/Tech/Science:

Top Read of the Week:  NYT – Trading Fairways for Straightaways at Automotive Country Clubs

Why It Matters:  “Robert A. Lutz, the outspoken retired auto executive, lamented the inevitability of driverless cars. “Automotive sport — using the cars for fun — will survive, just not on public highways,” he said. “It will survive in country clubs such as Monticello in New York and Autobahn in Joliet, Ill. It will be the well-to-do, to the amazement of all their friends, who still know how to drive and who will teach their kids how to drive.”

Consider as well:

  1. Outside – Urban Organics Wants to Fix Food – Credit KW – Inside a repurposed Twin Cities brewery, a massive aquaponics operation is ready to provide a locavore’s dream: fresh produce and fish, raised indoors every month of the year
  2. NPR – Scientists Release Controversial Genetically Modified Mosquitoes In High-Security Lab  Scientists have launched a major new phase in the testing of a controversial genetically modified organism: a mosquito designed to quickly spread a genetic mutation lethal to its own species, NPR has learned.
  3. WP – How to Get Rich Without Being Lucky – Naval Ravikant
  4. TSB – HRH Prince of Wales Visit to G&G – Prince Charles, well known for his sartorial proclivities, visits a famed English shoemaker.
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