A brief gallivant about the marketplace of ideas.

Month: October, 2018

Read : 2018-10-25

Today’s selection of articles:

  1. What the world can learn from Australia” (The Economist, 2018-10-27). A British publication praises a former penal colony at a time when its own citizens are voicing increasing criticism and discontent.
  2. Tesla posts surprising profit on higher Model 3 production“, by Tim Higgins (Wall Street Journal, 2018-10-24). A laudatory article, from a publication that hasn’t been the nicest to Tesla in the past.
  3. Apple CEO condemns ‘data-industrial complex’“, by Sam Schnechner & Emre Peker (Wall Street Journal, 2018-10-24). Tim Cook calls for the US to enact its own General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).

Read : 2018-10-24

Today’s selection of articles:

  1. Saudi Arabia says Jamal Khashoggi was killed in consulate fight“, by Ben Hubbard (NY Times, 2018-10-19). The international community is dubious.
  2. Cherries bloom early across Japan after major typhoon” (Asahi Shimbun, 2018-10-18).

A selection of articles on investing:

  1. PayPal: Always a safe bet“, by Gary Alexander (Seeking Alpha, 2018-10-19).
  2. Tesla launches new $45,000 Model 3” (Reuters, 2018-10-18).
  3. Why Citron is wrong on Tesla“, by Anton Wahlman (The Street, 2018-10-23).
  4. Should investors Square up?“, by Michael Henage (Seeking Alpha, 2018-10-24).
  5. Eventbrite: Deep dive into a terrific, battered IPO“, by Gary Alexander (Seeking Alpha, 2018-10-24). Note that the author is long EB.

Bonus #1: Assorted notes by Ben Lynn (math, computer science, etc.).

Bonus #2: Sweet phrase: “garbage sauce” (Urban Dictionary).

Read : 2018-10-18

Today’s selection of articles:

  1. What the Arab world needs most is free expression“, by Jamal Khashoggi (Washington Post, 2018-10-17). In an article written shortly before his murder — allegedly orchestrated and executed by the Saudi Arabian government — Khashoggi ruminates on how to fight a lack of and mis-information, and he decries tepid international pressure for contributing to the boldness of oppressive governments.
  2. Audio offers gruesome details of Jamal Khashoggi killing, Turkish official says“, by David D. Kirkpatrick & Carlotta Gall (NY Times, 2018-10-17). Listen to music, face the music. Murder of a human being simultaneously explodes and recedes into international politics.
  3. What to expect when PayPal reports earnings“, by Michael Henage (Seeking Alpha, 2018-10-17).
  4. Netflix: Don’t even think about buying on the upswing“, by Gary Alexander (Seeking Alpha, 2018-10-17).
  5. Square’s stock price fall could increase its investment appeal“, by Robert Stephens (GuruFocus, 2018-10-17).
  6. Tesla: Waking up too late“, by Bill Maurer (Seeking Alpha, 2018-10-17). An article arguing Tesla’s service coverage is underdeveloped and underfunded.
  7. The evolution of nesting behaviour in Peromyscus mice“, by C.L. Lewarch & Hopi Hoekstra (Animal Behaviour, 2018).
  8. Maryam Mirzakhani: 1977-2017“, by Hélène Barcelo & Stephen Kennedy (AMS, 2018-11).

Read : 2018-10-16

Today’s selection of articles:

  1. Elite-college admissions are broken“, by Alia Wong (The Atlantic, 2018-10-14). Does the current college admissions process encourage youth to misrepresent themselves in the hopes of being accepted to coveted schools? Might the educational system more generally (grades, peer pressure, etc.) train students to present what they think others want to see and hear, rather than who they are? What does “who they are” even mean?
  2. Netflix’s growth could slow due to interest rates, analysts warn“, by Annie Gaus (The Street, 2018-10-16). According to Yahoo! Finance, at the end of 2018 Q2, Netflix had debt of 8.3B USD, up from 4.9B USD in 2017 Q3.

Read : 2018-10-11

Today’s selection of articles:

  1. New U.S. weapons systems are a hackers’ bonanza, investigators find“, by David E. Sanger & William J. Broad (NY Times, 2018-10-10).
  2. Markets’ scary divergence is worrisome“, by Spencer Jakab (Wall Street Journal, 2018-10-10). Investors pulled out of stocks this week, but did not move the funds to traditional “safe havens” like bonds and gold.
  3. Short-sellers are good for markets” (The Economist, 2018-10-11). Good, the article argues, because they reign in — or at least try to point out — excessive exuberance.
  4. Alibaba is in free fall as emotions run hot“, by Stefan Redlich (Seeking Alpha, 2018-10-10).
  5. Why Square Inc. stock was slammed Thursday“, by Daniel Sparks (The Motley Fool, 2018-10-11). The market estimates the “Sarah Friar premium” to be about 10%.

Read — 2018-10-09

Today’s selection of articles:

  1. Tesla on path to profitability this year and 70% stock gain, Macquarie says“, by Michael Sheetz (CNBC, 2018-10-09).
  2. Macquarie puffs up Tesla“, by Joe Aston (Financial Review, 2018-10-09). A skeptical response to Macquarie’s sanguine predictions.
  3. Elon Musk’s outbursts are his pushback against the status quo, ex-colleague Reid Hoffman says“, by Berkeley Lovelace, Jr. (CNBC, 2018-10-09). Hoffman — successively a director, COO, and executive vice president of PayPal from 2000–2002, which overlapped with Musk (see [1] and [2]) — argues that Musk’s pushbacks stem from different focus on time horizons.
  4. ‘Cult of founders’ is becoming a real problem in Silicon Valley: Roger McNamee“, by Falyn Page (CNBC, 2018-10-05). Great innovators don’t necessarily make great business leaders. Reasons may include inability to delegate effectively and difficulty accepting criticism.

Read — 2018-10-08

Today’s selection of articles:

  1. Forget the tweets. The real problem at Tesla is the scramble for cash“, by Matt Egan (CNN, 2018-07-23).
  2. Forget the Autopilot crash and recall; Tesla’s daunting debt repayment schedule is the real issue“, by Jim Collins (Forbes, 2018-04-02). At the end of the article, the author presents a table summarizing Tesla’s debt.

Read — 2018-10-05

Today’s selection of articles:

  1. Digital IDs are more dangerous than you think“, by Brett Solomon (Wired, 2018-09-28). Founder of RightsCon and executive director of the NGO Access Now argues for “data minimization, decentralization, consent, and limited access”.
  2. U.S. stocks extend losses as investors weigh strong jobs report against rising yields“, by Sue Chang & Ryan Vlastelica (Market Watch, 2018-10-05).

Investing — 2018-10-04

Today’s selection of articles:

  1. How to build a revenue model: A step-by-step guide“, by Avadhut (Finance Walk, ????).
  2. Too much goodwill: A red flag for your portfolio“, by Sam McBride (New Constructs, 2015-07-01). As I understand it, the key risk of goodwill (e.g., the amount a company overpays in an acquisition) is that it’s an estimated “value” to the company itself that could be adjusted (down) at any point.
  3. Economic earnings” (New Constructs, ????). A better measure of a company’s earnings than the typically reported accounting earnings.
  4. What you need to know about Eventbrite’s IPO“, by David Trainer & Great Speculations (Forbes, 2018-09-20). The best analysis I’ve seen of Eventbrite’s (EB) financial statements to date. Some analysis is extremely bearish: In one case, a current share price of $4 per share is estimated. (This assumes 20% annual revenue growth; for comparison, from 2016 to 2017, EB’s revenue growth was just over 50%, according to their S-1.) The article does a great job clarifying the implications (and accuracy) of EB’s content creators, acquisitions, and free cash flow.

Read — 2018-10-03

Today’s selection of articles:

  1. Amazon sets $15 minimum wage for U.S. employees, including temps“, by Bill Chappell, Laurel Wamsley (National Public Radio, 2018-10-02). Props to Bezos and Amazon for taking care of its workers and its shareholders. Though AMZN is down in the days since this news, I believe it will be long-term beneficial for the company. It will be November-1-term beneficial for its workers.

    We listened to our critics, thought hard about what we wanted to do, and decided we want to lead.
    –Jeff Bezos, CEO of Amazon

  2. In praise of mediocrity“, by Tim Wu (NY Times, 2018-09-29). Wu’s encouragement, that we don’t have to be great at our hobbies, may seem at variance with how we conduct ourselves in other facets of life. What I would argue is that we should feel no expectation to be immediately great at our hobbies. (Disclaimer: If you use social media, you may very well feel such expectation.) If we enjoy it, keep at it, and focus on the enjoyment and improvement, not on how far you are from someone else. Odds are, if we keep at it, and have positive motivation, soon enough we’ll become fairly good. Maybe even great. Whatever that means.
  3. The first ‘social network’ of brains lets three people transmit thoughts to each other’s heads“, by Emerging Technology (MIT Technology Review, 2018-09-29).
  4. Uber Eats and the $6 billion bookings run rate: The AI success story no one is talking about“, by VB Staff (Venture Beat, 2018-10-02). The role of AI — and data sharing among Uber’s various ventures — in building business.
  5. America’s missing labor party“, by David Sessions (The New Republic, 2018-10-03). The article’s author uses Erik Loomis’s new book, “A history of America in ten strikes”, to briefly discuss the history of the U.S. labor movement.

    For most of American history, politicians and courts have given employers nearly unrestricted control over the terms of work, and they have offered the resources of the state—above all, the military and police—to enforce those terms.

    This next quote evokes sentiments expressed during recent teacher strikes in the U.S.:

    American labor militancy has always been about more than pay, with workers seeking respect and fairness in the workplace.

Selected articles on investing:

  1. Stitch Fix shares tank after sales miss, but analysts remain bullish“, by Tonya Garcia & Ciara Linnane (Market Watch, 2018-10-02).
  2. Eventbrite: What’s the upside from the IPO price?“, by David Krejca (Seeking Alpha, 2018-10-02). Note that the author owns shares of Eventbrite (EB). The analysis in this article seems limited to a digest of Eventbrite’s Form S-1 and a simple revenue-growth model that assumes constant 50% growth (EB’s year-over-year growth rate from 2016 to 2017) for the next three years.
  3. Is Eventbrite a buy?“, by Brian Feroldi (The Motley Fool, 2018-09-26). This article appears to focus on heuristics and thought experiment. (E.g., “Does it seem like content creators are sticking with the platform? Yes, it seems like they might be.”) While the article concludes that Eventbrite does not carry risk of excess customer concentration (“No single customer accounted for more than 10% of revenue or accounts receivable in the last three years”), it’s worth noting that 5% of content creators account for 46% of Eventbrite’s revenue (see here). (These 5% of content creators also happen to be non-self-referred, i.e. Eventbrite pays for advertising to attract.) I would contend the risk associated with excess customer concentration indeed exists for Eventbrite.
  4. Tesla wavers amid report James Murdoch floated to replace Elon Musk as chairman“, by Martin Baccardax (The Street, 2018-10-03).
  5. The 5 biggest investing mistakes I’ve ever made“, by Brian Feroldi (The Motley Fool, 2018-09-23). Reviewing your past performance to improve your future performance is a good exercise.