2021 Week 25 Readings

Stripe, Metric, Pricing, Nostalgia Business Stories, Digital Currency and Oil, Preventive Healthcare

These are the things we are reading and thinking about. Most translate into nothing useful except providing some blips in the brain.

We hope you enjoy these curated reading.


Book discussion for the Week:

I had read Richer, Wiser, Happier by William Green in a single seating. Overall, I had enjoyed the book, but I did not come away feeling that I had learnt much.

The list of investors covered in the book include the who who of investing like Bill Miller, Bill Nygren, Charlie Munger, Chuck Akre, Ed Thorp, Howard Marks, Irving Kahn, Mohnish Pabrai, Sir John Templeton, Joel Greenblatt, Nick Sleep and Qais Zakaria. If you had been following these investors, then you would have understood most of the chapters. (understanding is one thing, applying is the other…)

There are also a bunch of investors on the book like Arnold Van Den Berg, Fred Martin, Jean-Marie Eveillard, Joel Tillinghast, Matthew McLennan, Michael Zapatam, Shubin Stein, Tom Gayner and Will Danoff whom I had not heard before and I wished that William Green would have given them more “airtime”. The only way to learn more about them is to just look up each one of them online.

William Green - earlier book - The Great Minds of Investing seem to cover more investors but the reviews on Amazon seems to indicate that it is more of a coffee table book.


Stripe:

Stripe: Thinking Like a Civilization | The Generalist (readthegeneralist.com) highlights the unlikely birth of Stripe. The company is a beast and may just become one of the most interesting and valuable company in the world. Patrick Collison is a super interesting person as well and we think there is still a huge runway for the company.


Nostalgia Business Stories:

If you know Sega and Planet Hollywood, you are as old or older than me. Somehow, both stories tell me that excellent marketing could only take you so far.

If you happen to own a company/stock that is currently doing some excellent marketing and drawing in the result, maybe it is time to sell!

I happened to pick up this book from the library (as part of my reading list to understand the video gaming industry) and I just could not stop. It is a fascinating story on how Sega almost toppled Nintendo in the U.S. with some brilliant marketing campaign.

Planet Hollywood Origin Story - How Bruce Willis, Sylvester Stallone and More Celebs Started Planet Hollywood (esquire.com) highlight some crazy marketing gimmicks of the 90s. The 90s is really the peak for marketers.


Metric and Pricing:

The articles below are all from Venture Capital (VC) firms. I often find articles from the VC industry useful in understanding various business decision in small and big firms.

https://future.a16z.com/north-star-metrics/ talks about the metric used by a start-ups. We could easily transfer these useful metric for public companies too. Overall, it provide a good way to think about metrics used to evaluate companies.

Pricing is one of the hardest decision to make for any company. Gnome or Godzilla? B2B SaaS archetypes to help you pick the right price model · Bessemer Venture Partners (bvp.com) helps to break it all down and give it some logic on why pricing is done in a certain way.


Digital Currency and Oil:

(1) (PDF) Bitcoin, Currencies, and Bubbles | Nassim Nicholas Taleb - Academia.edu argues that Bitcoin is flawed as a currency. I think almost anyone who did any study on Bitcoin agrees but somehow the speculation in Bitcoin had increasingly make it viable as a speculative storage for inflation hedge or the debasement of fiat currency. We think that in order to qualify as a currency, the exchange rate needs to be stable and Stablecoin may just be the better concept right now?

Talking about inflation hedge, oil may be a better hedge for inflation. Goehring & Rozencwajg has been a trusted source for us to learnt more about any commodity. http://blog.gorozen.com/blog/what-a-difference-a-year-makes-in-oil makes a case for oil on the basis of a backwardated market (where future prices are below spot prices). We do not know if this is indeed a tight market, but everyone seem to believe that backwardation will lead to higher oil prices.


Health:

I had previously worked on a project in Singapore to develop a continuous glucose monitor and is firmly in the camp that medical health should move towards preventive care. Are continuous glucose monitors a waste of time for people without diabetes? - Peter Attia (peterattiamd.com) helps to give reason why this may just be what the world and what you need!


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