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 – 06/23/17 Edition

This week’s highlights: 5 laws of human stupidity, the origin of the iPhone, and why investor relations matters.


Issue 242

A number of interesting reads this week – including the longer-read on the making of the iPhone.  Fifteen on Friday is taking a summer break next week, so we will see you all back on July 7th.

Food for Thought:

  1. TheVerge – The Secret Origin Story of the iPhone Credit MB – This month marks 10 years since Apple launched the first iPhone, a device that would fundamentally transform how we interact with technology, culture, and each other.
  2. NYP – The epidemic that’s ruining youth sports.  Given the popularity of the last article about youth sports, here’s one more…When your 15-year old has to have Tommy John surgery – maybe he’s playing too much?
  3. NYT – Why I Am Giving My Children Their Inheritance Now
  4. WFAA – ‘I did my best, and I’m sorry’; Father’s Day thoughts from the ballpark.  A great reflection on Father’s day by a friend.
  5. Thrillist – The 21 Unwritten Rules of Flying You’re Probably Breaking – Credit DH –


  1. WSJ – Stock Picking Is Dying Because There Are No More Stocks to Pick
  2. Stratechery – Amazon’s New Customer.  Why the Whole Foods deal makes sense.  Amazon’s entire business model is about entering new markets where it’s first and best customer is always itself.  This allows it to build service business that it can open to third parties – think AWS, Amazon fulfillment.
  3. CFO – The Link Between Good Investor Relations and Stock Price – Credit BK – Half of public-company CEOs and CFOs are significantly less well-off financially than they should be. Do you know which half you’re in?
  4. TBI – Bubble Watch.  Is there a reasonable bull case for equities from here?
  5. LS – Avocado Toast Is Ruining This Country – Credit SF – There’s Actually a Fun Economic Truth Revealed in the Furor


  1. QZ – The five universal laws of human stupidity
  2. BS – The Paradox of Helping: Endorsing for Others What We Oppose for Ourselves
  3. Engadget – Subway hopes touchscreens will bust up its sales slump.  Yeah, because that was the problem.
  4. FNT – Google Maps stumbles upon Millennium Falcon structure, delights fans.  What is a full sized model of the Millennium Falcon doing in an English Parking lot?
  5. ESPN – The world without Messi: We won’t get to enjoy the iconic No. 10 much longer.  Lionel Messi might not be medicine, but he can feel like it. Watching Messi with a ball at his feet is a testament to the rest of our possibilities.

The Week’s Best Articles – 06/16/17 Edition

This week’s highlights: Why You Should Retire in Ecuador, the Success of Burger King, and the Queueing Professional.


It’s Hot Here Down South

Summer has come to Nashville with 90 degree temps and 80% humidity.  As happens every summer, this means that about half the city has begun its regular migration to the beaches of 30A in Florida.  If you are looking for a beach read – let me commend Ed Thorpe’s new auto-biography, A Man for All Markets.  “The incredible true story of the card-counting mathematics professor who taught the world how to beat the dealer and, as the first of the great quantitative investors, ushered in a revolution on Wall Street.”

A quick word of welcome to a number of new subscribers spread across the globe – including Europe, the Middle East and Asia.
Food for Thought:

  1. NYP – We should thank millennials for ruining these terrible products. Millennials are, according to Business Insider earlier this month, “Killing Chains Like Buffalo Wild Wings and Applebee’s.” And, on behalf of all millennials, I can only say: You’re welcome.
  2. Chicago Booth – Inequality runs even deeper than previously thought.  The data continue to confirm that the right tail of the income distribution has received a massive share of the gains in the last 30 years.  See also this one on the same theme, The Hoarding of the American Dream
  3. TCO – Retirees flock to Latin America to live an upper-class lifestyle on $1,500 a month.  Here is a unique way for Americans to address their chronic under-saving for retirement.
  4. KB – Why I refuse to spend quality time with my kids.  This author is spot on – the ‘quality’ moments only happen with a lot of really ‘average’ ones in between.
  5. MJ – An Open Letter to the Nashville Predators. – Credit MCF –   It was an absolute heartbreaking end to the series but kudos to this young fan who I think summarizes this city’s feelings about our team well.


  1. TRB – I’d like to solve the puzzle, Pat. – Credit SF –   If stocks keep going up, why isn’t anyone celebrating?
  2. KKR – The Ultra High Net Worth Investor: Coming of Age.  KKR surveys a group of UHNW investors and looks at how their asset allocations differ from other investors and changes they may need to make in the current investment climate.
  3. WSJ – Flush With Cash, Top Quant Funds Stumble – Even the computers have capacity limits…
  4. BI – How a 36-year-old Wall Street prodigy saved Burger King.  This is a great piece on Burger King and 3G – but don’t let the “prodigy” title fool you.  3G and this CEO have a methodical process that they execute which has worked across a broad range of industries.
  5. II – The Last Hedge Fund Pit Bull. – Credit DH –  Paul Singer Doesn’t Give a ___ What You think.


  1. Stratechery – Podcasts, analytics and centralization – I love podcasts, but as Ben Thompson discusses here, there are some structural reasons why they aren’t a great business model, yet.
  2. Bloomberg – The Man Who Stands in Line for a Living. – Credit SF – Robert Samuel will wait for anything … for a price.
  3. TG – 7 Lessons From 100+ Failed Startups
  4. NYT – Making a Marriage Magically Tidy
  5. Aeon – Conspicuous consumption is over. It’s all about intangibles now
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