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This week’s highlights: french fries, the problem with low interest rates, and billion dollar basketball.

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Fifteen on Friday – 08/25/17 – Issue 250

In April of 2012, I sent a list of 8 articles to 22 friends, family and colleagues with a quick note saying that I was going to send an email each Friday with the most interesting articles I had read that week.  This week in 2017 marks a milestone of sorts with the sending of the 250th issue of what is now called Fifteen on Friday to over 760 interesting folks spread across 15 countries!

The goal is still the same – curating a thoughtful list of the most interesting pieces of the week, across a wide range of subjects from arts, culture, economics, science, technology and occasionally fashion.  You, the kind reader, have responded in kind by forwarding along interesting pieces of your own, dropping the occasional line to say hello, and telling your friends.

To celebrate this 250th email, would you consider forwarding this to two friends and encouraging to them to subscribe at fifteenonfriday.com?  

Food for Thought:

  1. RevisionistHistory – McDonald’s Broke My Heart.  Ok, so this is a podcast episode, but the story is that good.  “McDonald’s used to make the best fast food french fries in the world — until they changed their recipe in 1990. Revisionist History travels to the top food R&D lab in the country to discover what was lost, and why for the past generation we’ve been eating french fries that taste like cardboard.”
  2. TheCut – This Is How Sexism Works in Silicon Valley My lawsuit failed. Others won’t.  About a year ago, Ellen Pao sued her employer, the famed VC fund Kleiner Perkins, alleging discrimination.  Her suit, which was well covered in the financial press, was ultimately unsuccessful.  Pao tells her side of the story here.
  3. Hazlitt – The Legion Lonely  Over the past few decades, loneliness has reached almost epidemic levels, with men uniquely suffering its effects. How and why has isolation become such a threat?
  4. BA – There’s a Brand New Apple in Your Grocery Store.  Meet the Rave Apple, a crossbreed between the Honeycrisp and MonArk.
  5. NYT – In Nashville’s Sky, a Ring of Fire – Credit WES – A beautiful piece reflecting on this week’s eclipse which was best viewed from…Nashville.  Sometime I feel like Fifteen on Friday reads like a never-ending ad for our great city.  But for all you readers outside of town, if you haven’t been here yet, seriously, what are you waiting for?

Business/Economics:

  1. TVG – Buying a Business, The Downside(s) of Low Interest Rates.  “My business cash flow is growing 5 to 6 percent a year with no visible sign of distress on the horizon, I feel I have less risk staying in my business than selling now and reinvesting the sale proceeds in the stock market.” Frank told me another business owner (in his late 70s) said, “My rate of borrowing is so low, I have way less risk in my business than I used to have.”
  2. Bloomberg – World’s Biggest Piggy Bank Grows by $285 Million a Day.  8+ years into a bull market, Norway’s sovereign wealth fund is increasing its equity allocation from 60% to 70%.
  3. Bloomberg – Millennial Americans Are Moving to the ‘Burbs, Buying Big SUVs.  Maybe Millenials aren’t all that different from the generations which came before…
  4. ZH – Why Doesn’t This Household Debt Worry Anyone?!
  5. BHI – One of the World’s Widest Moats.  I have never given Tencent Holdings a lot of incremental thought.  Tencent, the owner of WeChat, is one of the most dominate internet companies in China.

Culture/Tech/Science:

  1. TheRinger – Startup Investing for Sport and Profit.  How Andreessen Horowitz’s Jeff Jordan turned a pickup game and a team sports mentality into a VC strategy, and why the Warriors may not be the biggest game in town.
  2. AT – Tesla’s Solar Roof Is Actually Cheaper Than a Normal Roof
  3. Fast Co Design – A Wild Vision Of The Future Run By Amazon And Whole Foods.  Drones. Shared refrigerators. Hydroponic garages. And never setting foot in a grocery store again.
  4. The Atlantic – The Average Guy Who Spent 6,003 Hours Trying to Be a Professional Golfer  Dan McLaughlin got famous for valuing hard practice over talent. Then he didn’t reach his goal.
  5. NYP – Why rich New Yorkers are hiding their wealth and privilege

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