The Economic Machine, Digital Dollar & Corporate Socialism?


As I continue to have a little extra time these days (and no kids at home), I continue to digest lots of information (probably too much), and write out my thoughts. Tim Ferris released a simple, timely video worth watching: How to Use Writing to Sharpen Your Thinking.

With that, here are 5 things I spent time thinking about this week…

  1. How The Economic Machine Works by Ray Dalio

    This is a 30 minute video, with great visuals, explaining in very simple, but comprehensive, terms, how the economy actually works. To me, the economy is straightforward on the surface, but very complex underneath. This video is a super helpful guide in distilling the different components and levers.

    I also started reading “Principles”, by Ray Dalio. It’s a fascinating look at how a major investor thinks about the market. But what’s more captivating, is hearing him explain the fundamentals behind what he does.

    Another nugget on investing, via this podcast with Chamath and Jason Calacanis, explains that 1% of public companies make up the vast majority of dividend earnings (dividends are not the only thing that creates returns, of course). Why does this matter? It’s a reminder that I should stop trying to pick individual stocks. :)

  2. Leaders in the crisis. A few who stand out.

    First, Bill Gates has been in the spotlight more. He published: What our leaders can do now in his blog, Gates Notes, yesterday. Another version published on March 31st, on The Washington Post. It’s a phenomenal overview. And in it, he mentions his 2015 Ted Talk: The Next Outbreak? We’re Not Ready. Very worth the 8-minute listen, if you haven’t already.

    I continue to respect how Eric Yuan, Founder & CEO of Zoom, has continued to steer their (behemoth, and growing) ship. Technically, it’s astounding that they’ve maintained usability, as they’ve grown from 10M DAUs (Daily Active Users) in December to over 200M DAUs today. And secondly, transitioning from a B2B company to a B2C company, and everything that comes with it. In recent months, getting heat for features that are very standard in the B2B world, but raise eyebrows of “everyday” consumers who are now Zooming. Eric’s message on Wednesday, addressing the concerns, shows world-class leadership (IMHO).

    And finally, the CEO of Slack, Stewart Butterfield. Below is a riveting tweet thread, that reads more like a best-selling suspense novel. It’s an account of the first couple weeks of COVID-19, and how he lead in the time of crisis…

  3. The most useful COVID-19 projections I’ve seen so far:

    COVID-19 Projections

    I won’t make any commentary this week. But check out the numbers.

    And stay diligent in social distancing. We might all be in a masks in a week or two. So, enjoy the fresh air for now, when you go outside for your daily exercise (aka sanity).

  4. Digital Dollar

    MIT Technology Review published: “We just glimpsed how a ‘digital dollar’ might work, thanks to coronavirus”. It would have been a way to distribute the cash payouts to eligible Americans. And some folks thought this would be a step towards digital assets gaining momentum.

    But here is a perspective on how this is actually very “anti-crypto”.

    Either way, asset digitalization is an intriguing trend to follow, especially in these times.

  5. Corporate Socialism?

    One perspective - sorry to get political. But, regardless of your political leaning (I’ve started pulling up CNN and Fox News and reading side-by-side), this is a really thought-provoking point of view.

    The title gives you the gist: Corporate Socialism: The Government is Bailing Out Investors & Managers Not You

Finally, this is a fun chart:

My hope is that Social Distancing Creates Space for Deeper Connections (3 min read, by yours truly).

Stay safe. Stay connected. And see y’all next week.


Brendan J Short