Monday, January 27, 2020

January 27th Links

  • At PSL, we kill nine out of ten ideas that we test. We haven't talked much about these publicly before, but we wanted to share what it looks like when we make a "kill" decision. Our goal in publishing this is to help other founders think about how to do early validation the way that we do inside the studio. [link]
  • In a general election, Biden's long record as a friend to banks and outsourcing businesses — not to mention his son's lucrative service on the board of a Ukrainian gas company — will surely suffocate any Democratic attempt to battle Trump on economic grounds. Instead, a Biden-Trump contest stands every chance of offering a glassy-eyed sequel to the 2016 charade that put Trump in the White House. Of the two candidates polling competitively in the Rust Belt swing states, only Bernie Sanders can actually make the economic case Democrats need to win. [Jacobin]
  • No one thought about the long-term impact of a million or so left-wing suburbanites from liberal strongholds moving into Washington suburbs for their government jobs. Anyone who mentioned it was hooted off the stage, if they were even allowed on the stage in the first place. It is only now that the link between demographics and politics is becoming obvious. [Z Man]
  • Steve Jobs seems like an archetype of what I'm starting to call "Extrovert Who Doesn't Read". Another example would be Donald Trump. These people only know what they hear from their social circle, and they decide who is correct if the opinions differ largely based on the social status of the different advocates. They don't assemble their own body of knowledge by reading primary sources and weighing the arguments the way introverts do. One situation where these people get in a lot of trouble is if they have a serious disease. [CBS]
  • They must be really bullish on rural northern Alabama real estate to have spent half their equity on this building. We will have to stop and see the town next time we are in the area. (One other odd thing is that they still have $326k of "occupancy expenses" despite owning $5 million of real estate and apparently having only one branch.) But it underlines the absurd business model of small banks, which we have been harping on for the past year. Imagine if you were going to take $10 million in equity to start a fixed income closed end fund – or maybe a business development company. What if someone foolishly offered to guarantee your liabilities so you could borrow really cheaply and lever up ten times. Wouldn't you hope to earn more than four percent on the equity after all that? And would you spend half the equity on a headquarters? Like many small banks, maintaining this as a going concern seems to be of dubious value to shareholders, compared to the immediate return (and opportunity to redeploy capital) that they would get if the bank were sold. Instead, its purpose as a company might perhaps be better understood either as a jobs program ($1.65 million of salaries) or as civic monument with a copper cupola. [OBS]
  • Give or take 3-8 grams (insufficient precision for 5 stars), they are each one kilogram cubes. The tungsten cube was immaculate with a texture like fine brushed aluminum, and remarkably dense with a volume comparable to a golf ball, but heavier than 5-6 cans of tuna. By comparison the aluminum cube is large enough to hold a baseball, and is a soft enough metal to arrive with minor scratches. [Amazon]
  • Thanks to a quirky Minnesota liquor law, some liquor stores in the state have found a way to beat Total Wine at its own game. The law requires that all alcohol products must be made available to all retailers in the state, including the private labels that Total Wine uses to drive its highly profitable business model. The result: all Minnesota's liquor stores could stock the wines and spirits that Total Wine sells exclusively in most other markets. "Total Wine helped me tremendously," Jacobi, the Isanti Liquor manager, said. When a customer wanted Marchese Dell'Elsa Moscato d'Asti, which Total Wine sells for $13, Jacobi ordered it and found he could price it at $8 and still make a good profit. "I"m building customer loyalty and still making my normal 50% markup," he said. [Star Tribune]

1 comment:

Allan Folz said...

""Extrovert Who Doesn't Read". Another example would be Donald Trump...

Folks listened to the video drop of Trump holding court over dinner?

Additionally, an excellent interview of Steve Bannon. Whole thing is excellent, but I’ve cued it up to the apropos part (31:40).