What I Have Been Reading – February 2021

Banking Error

The recipients of roughly $500m (£360m) that US banking giant Citigroup wired erroneously will get to keep the money, a US judge has ruled.
Judge Jesse Furman said Citi was not entitled to recoup its funds, even though they were “indisputably transferred by mistake”.

The bank was supposed to have sent interest payments on behalf of its client, Revlon, but instead fully repaid the cosmetic company’s loans.




Snap chat money

Andrea Romo, 27, earns $12.50 an hour as a merchandise associate at Lowe’s in Albuquerque. She doesn’t consider herself a social media influencer, but has enjoyed sending messages to friends on Snapchat for years. When she noticed the new Spotlight feature on Thanksgiving, she decided to upload a video of her sister deep frying a turkey.

Two weeks later, Ms. Romo learned that her video was so popular that it had earned her about half a million dollars. “It was a big surprise that you can get money posting a video of something totally random,” she said. (The company said it determines payment amounts based on unique video views and proprietary internal metrics.)

NY Times



Apple operations

Jobs’s death two years later caused skeptics to predict Apple would stagnate without a steady stream of his inventions; in fact, the real challenge was keeping supply up in China. Operations managers were scrambling to buy enough computer-controlled milling machines and laser cutters. Every millimeter was scrutinized for savings—as were even the seemingly least consequential parts. Three people familiar with the company’s supply chain say there was an Apple employee whose job consisted of negotiating the cost of glue.




London – The Playground Of The Rich

Nearly 875,000 Londoners are dollar millionaires (denoting assets worth more than £720,000), according to an annual study of the fortunes of the world’s wealthiest people by the property consultants Knight Frank.

It means one in 10 people living in London are dollar millionaires.

The Guardian



Rat Race

It’s wild how many different activities I (you, we, us) juggle on a daily basis. Getting the kids up and dressed. Work. Podcasts. Blogging. Household finances. Spending time with my wife. YouTube Videos. Cooking. Checking in with friends and family. Cleaning the house. Work. Putting the kids to bed. TV/Netflix/sports/movies. Books.
I’m not saying our parents didn’t have plenty going on, but not like this. Right?

I feel mentally stimulated all day. Not a minute is wasted. But wait, are most of these minutes wasted? It feels like the days are quickly turning into years. Slow down, damnit!

And yet, I have no desire to slow down. No interest in unplugging. I love it. Like, I really really love it.

The Irrelevant Investor



Free Shares

Sign-up to Freetrade via my link and we can both get a free share worth between £3 and £200. All You need to do is sign up via this link –   Freetrade,  top up your account, could be as little as £1 and complete the w8-ben form on the app.




He continues, “It just hit me like a ton of bricks: Oh, my God, turnarounds are the worst place to be. This is going to be horrible when we replace physical stores with online stores. There’s going to be a hundred turnarounds. And none of them are going to come back because the world’s changed, and that’s going to be true in energy and transportation and on and on and on.”

Institutional Investor



Mentors Become Less Impressive Over Time

I’ve noticed an interesting phenomenon in my fields of interest, and I think it probably happens elsewhere too. The general way it goes is something like this: People who have been around the field for a while become increasingly disenchanted with their old mentors and talk about how they used to have good insights but now mostly recycle the same things, their best stuff was their earlier stuff, etc. It often leads to a kind of retroactive downgrade of the mentor’s value, probably through a kind of “curse of knowledge” where, once you know something, it’s hard to put yourself back in the shoes of someone who doesn’t know and see how valuable being taught these things was, and how non-obvious they used to be to you.




Growing too fast

By chasing rapid expansion without paying enough attention to how much they were actually spending, the co-founders ended up making big bets that cost the company millions — and mistakes that left thousands of gallons of ice cream literally swirling down the drain. “It was a fairy tale,” says Greg O’Connell, one of Ample Hills’ biggest investors. “They were kind of living in a dream world because their marketing was so great.”





China overtook the U.S. as the world’s top destination for new foreign direct investment last year, as the Covid-19 pandemic amplifies an eastward shift in the center of gravity of the global economy.

New investments by overseas businesses into the U.S., which for decades held the No. 1 spot, fell 49% in 2020, according to U.N. figures released Sunday, as the country struggled to curb the spread of the new coronavirus and economic output slumped.

China, long ranked No. 2, saw direct investments by foreign companies climb 4%, the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development said.





Resilience presents a challenge for psychologists. Whether you can be said to have it or not largely depends not on any particular psychological test but on the way your life unfolds. If you are lucky enough to never experience any sort of adversity, we won’t know how resilient you are. It’s only when you’re faced with obstacles, stress, and other environmental threats that resilience, or the lack of it, emerges: Do you succumb or do you surmount?

New Yorker




Longer term what I worry about is that before COVID arrived, it was clear that we were hitting a steady reduction in growth rate, which had not been fully appreciated by the authorities. And the main reason was the population bust. When I came to America in the sixties, we were having years where you’d have as much as one and a half percent increase in labor force, natural growth.

And now we’re down to 0.2, and within 10 years we’ll be about minus 0.2. Europe is already flat to down. Japan has been down for over 20 years, and South Korea will be down momentarily. And China, incredibly important, will be having declines in the 20 year old’s coming into the workforce pretty soon. So all over the world, you’re having declining growth rates of workforce workers. And then the second part of growth is productivity. And if you look at the data, whether it’s the US or international in the developed world in particular, it’s clear that for 50, 60 years, the productivity level has been wending its way down. From in the sixties, which was pretty much a peak almost 3% a year, and today somewhere in the 1% to 1.5%. So if you have 1% to 1.5% productivity and minus 0.2 growth rate in the workforce, and if you keep up the tendency for everybody to work a little bit less, about 0.2 in the US. We like working here. But still 0.2 is a real drag. You’re going to struggle to do much more than 1%.





so my eldest brother, who is a moron, has been playing soldier with his moron friends in the deserts of texas for the last year preparing for the collapse of civilization if biden won (lol). they were burying food and ammo stashes out in the desert, running drills, crazy stuff

this included getting a cb license so he could be their lifeline to other groups of white idiots when the cell towers all went offline. wouldn’t want to violate federal law while communicating with your resistance groups after the fall of the federal government i guess.

anyways, you would assume given that they’ve been prepping for the end of the world for at least a year they’re well situated to ride out the rolling blackouts right?

their plan for cooking and heating during an extended power outage was natural gas, but like a lot of homes their gas service is out. the food in their freezer and fridge is already toast due to the power outrages, so they’re down to canned stuff, but there’s a catch.

they can get into the pull top cans just fine, but the ones that require an opener? their only can opener is electric. so a good 3/4 of his canned food store is inaccessible to him unless he goes after it with a knife, which i sincerely hope he does.

so captain survival was eating unheated ravioli out of a can yesterday because i guess he doesn’t know how to start a fire? they have a fire pit but it too is gas fired.
he told my mom they’re probably going to break into the survival buckets soon. i’m sure that’s great food.

he told my mom that the blackout is due to texas switching everything to “wind power” but that he didn’t discount that the government was doing this on purpose. if you can figure out why they’d arbitrarily freeze out a giant state hey points to you.

the saving grace in all this is he’s having to ration his phone usage so he can’t sit on the phone with my mom for hours crying about it. he’s forced to sit there and talk to his wife, who is almost as dumb as he is.