What is Fifteen on Friday?

Fifteen on Friday (Fof) is a weekly newsletter that is delivered every Friday afternoon directly to your inbox.  Almost 4.5 years ago (227 weekly issues later), I started sending around a weekly round up of what I thought was the most interesting stuff from the web.  As an investor, strategist, and entrepreneur – I read broadly and consider deeply what is moving and changing in the world.  FoF is what struck me this week as most interesting and relevant.

There is not one core subject matter that we cover here.  Knowledge and wisdom is inherently cross-disciplinary in nature.  Below you’ll find my take on the world of arts, culture, business, science and technology.  Hopefully you’ll see something interesting, perplexing, concerning, or entertaining!

The Week’s Best Articles – 07/14/17 Edition

This week’s highlights: The Fyre Festival Fiasco, Cult of the Big Green Egg, and the bacteria in your Water Bottle .


Issue 244

A hot, humid Friday greeting from Nashville. A number of interesting articles in store this week – but the real highlights this week are 3 podcast episodes you should be listening to:

  • First – Malcolm Gladwell is back with Season 2 of Revisionist History.  Check out Episode 3, Miss Buchanan’s Period Of Adjustment.  Brown v Board of Education might be the most well-known Supreme Court decision, a major victory in the fight for civil rights. But in Topeka, the city where the case began, the ruling has left a bittersweet legacy.
  • Second – Patrick O’Shaughnessy’s interview of Leigh Drogan should be required listening for any student of the financial markets.  This is an inside look at what algorithmic / quantitative investing firms actually do and how it impacts markets.
  • Finally – Freakonomics Radio’s episode called “When Helping Hurts,” is a serious contemplation of when and how social programs hurt and help the most at-risk in society

Those are quick links to their websites, but are also an easy search in Apple’s Podcasts app for the 97.4% of Fifteen on Friday readers that carry an iPhone.

Food for Thought:

  1. VF – Fyre Festival – Anatomy of a Millennial Marketing Fiasco Waiting to Happen.  Billy McFarland sold elite millennials (and his investors) on an ultra-luxurious “Coachella in the Bahamas,” but the much-ridiculed fiasco that actually took place in April derailed the 25-year-old serial entrepreneur’s checkered bid for moguldom. Inside what could be the biggest scam of the year.
  2. NYT – How We Are Ruining America.  A thoughtful piece by David Brooks. “American upper-middle-class culture (where the opportunities are) is now laced with cultural signifiers that are completely illegible unless you happen to have grown up in this class. They play on the normal human fear of humiliation and exclusion. Their chief message is, “You are not welcome here.””
  3. Boston Globe – In defense of the white male.   Maybe one fine day we’ll learn to eschew labels, or at least see beyond them, and focus on the humanity we share
  4. NBJ – Nashville has greatest cost-of-living increase in the U.S.  This has been making the rounds big time this week.
  5. WashPo – At Tour de France, doping is always part of the story


  1. ME – Former Fed Gov Fisher – “You Look Like I Need a Drink”: Comments Before the National Association of Chain Drug Stores – Credit CD – “Fisher reminds us, after Churchill, “Americans always do the right thing – after they have tried everything else.”
  2. FC – Nest Founder: “I Wake Up In Cold Sweats Thinking, What Did We Bring To The World?”  Tony Fadell, one of the minds behind the iPod and the iPhone, mulls design’s unintended consequences.
  3. CIO – Seeking Higher Returns, Sweden’s AP Pension Pushes into Private Equity  The threshold for illiquid investments will now be 40% of their portfolios, scrapping a prior 5% limit on non-listed investments.
  4. NYT – E-Commerce as a Jobs Engine? One Economist’s Unorthodox View
  5. FS – The Real Estate Investing Rule To Follow: Buy Utility, Rent Luxury.  


  1. Fatherly – A Montessori Chores Chart Showing What Age To Give Your Kid Certain Chores
  2. CM – The Cult of the Big Green Egg
  3. FC – 3 Secrets Of People Who Always Get Job Offers
  4. NYP – You’ll never want to use a reusable water bottle again.  Water bottles harbor huge levels of bacteria.  In fact, researchers revealed that drinking from the average refillable bottle “can be many times worse than licking your dog’s toy.”
  5. Wired – A Math Genius Blooms Late and Conquers His Field

The Week’s Best Articles – 07/07/17 Edition

This week’s highlights: Micro-aggressions, “Accessible Luxury,” and the cost of a good bottle of wine.


Issue 243

We published our Q2’17 market commentary this week entitled “Resilience at its Finest“.  If you want a quick, four page take on what is going in the financial markets currently, I would encourage you to take a look.

“The market’s resilience has been despite mixed economic indicators, international terrorist attacks, an evolving Middle East stand-off, North Korean missile launches, and a stalled legislative agenda the market pegged as pro-growth heading into the year.  Muted volatility has been tough to reconcile in light of the news flow.  In this Market Commentary, we’ll discuss some of today’s more pertinent market dynamics influencing returns, volatility, valuations, and investor sentiment.”

Food for Thought:

  1. NYT – Chef Sean Brock Puts Down the Bourbon and Begins a New Quest
  2. Vestoj – Will I Get A Ticket?  The long-time editor of British Vogue calls the fashion industry to account – “Truth be told, I haven’t read Vogue in years. Maybe I was too close to it after working there for so long, but I never felt I led a Vogue-y kind of life. The clothes are just irrelevant for most people – so ridiculously expensive”
  3. Aeon – Microaggressions?  Prejudice remains a huge social evil but evidence for harm caused by micro-aggression is incoherent, unscientific and weak
  4. Telegraph – Why exercising on an empty stomach is the secret to weight loss
  5. TPT – Nashville by Pekka Rinne – The Predator’s goalie reflects on the Stanley Cup, what it meant to him, the team and the City.


  1. NYT – The Amazon-Walmart Showdown That Explains the Modern Economy
  2. JZ – A (long) chat with Peter L Bernstein
  3. NYT – Take Naps at Work. Apologize to No One.
  4. Racked – The Perennially Difficult Paradox of Accessible Luxury  Brands like Michael Kors and Coach have long ridden a delicate line — is it sustainable?
  5. Brandes – Passive Investing: Another Financial Bubble? – Credit SF


  1. Vivino – How much does a good bottle of wine cost?  As the world’s largest online wine marketplace and source of wine ratings, we know a good wine deal.
  2. NYP – Researcher may have found a cure for diabetes
  3. BH – Umberto Eco: The Productivity Patterns of a Polymath
  4. Bloomberg – Where the World’s Wealthiest Spend Their Weekends  If a city has money, it has a Hamptons equivalent.
  5. The Rake – What Does Classic Style Mean Today?  Alexander Kraft, the CEO of Sotheby’s International Realty France-Monaco, divulges on what classic style means to him.
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