Marvin’s Best Weekly Reads Oct 31st, 2021
“Scars are not signs of weakness, they are signs of survival and endurance.”
― Rodney A. Winters
Happy Halloween Everyone! :)
"People who left their city apartments for houses in the suburbs aren’t just living in the suburbs, they’re working there now, too. In turn, the people and services these workers may have relied on in city centers are moving to the suburbs as well. All of this will affect which businesses thrive and what real estate develops in the suburbs. It could also change traffic patterns, exacerbate urban sprawl, and heighten inequality.
New suburban businesses and improved real estate trends could lead to revitalized communities, less travel, and better quality of living for some. But not everyone will benefit. Sprawl is bad for the environment and can make life worse for the poorest Americans."
2. Riches in niches it seems.
"Rothfield isn’t a doctor, a c-suite exec, or a member of some prototypically busy professional class.
She’s one of a growing number of entrepreneurs offering marketing, brand strategy, and financial consulting services to OnlyFans models.
In the past 18 months, OnlyFans, the 5-year-old platform where (mostly) sex workers get paid for posting photos and videos, has grown to 150m+ registered users and 1.5m+ creators.
For these creators, OnlyFans has been a boon: The platform, which takes a 20% cut of the subscription payments workers receive, now collectively pays out ~$5B to models per year.
But competition is cutthroat — and sex workers are increasingly turning to marketers like Rothfield to stand out and grow their followings."
3. The future of war? Interesting short story straight out of Ready Player One.
4. 110% agree here. Future is international.
"I believe we are at the beginning of a significant reorganization in entrepreneurship and its backers. While the last decade has seen giants emerge from many less mature economies — think Kaspi in Kazakhstan, Nubank in Brazil, or GoTo in Indonesia — capital remains highly concentrated in North America.
Of last year’s $260 billion in venture capital allocated, more than 51% went to American and Canadian startups, according to data compiled by Statista. That was followed by 34% into Asian businesses, 13% into European companies, and 2% into a group classified as “Other.”
What is “other?”
“Other” is Africa, with its 1.2 billion people, 54 countries, and more than 200 languages.
“Other” is Latin America, a region that includes major economies like Mexico and Brazil.
“Other” is Oceania, home to one of the world’s most valuable private companies in Canva.
“Other” is the Middle East, which has produced unicorns like Careem and Souq.
“Other” is, at the very least, 2.2 billion people and, depending on how this data was parsed, perhaps many more.
What looks like a rounding error from an investment perspective now is the future."
5. This makes sense to me. From seed to public and a forever fund.
6. Worth a watch here. Love these guys: The Poor Man's All In Podcast"
7. This is why we should be bullish on tech!
8. "Seed-stage funding to startups has exploded in the past decade and become an asset class of its own. If that wasn’t obvious already, consider that in just the past few months, three of Silicon Valley’s largest and best-known venture firms—Andreessen Horowitz, Greylockand Khosla Ventures—all announced large new dedicated seed funds."
9. It’s a crazy time in VC land.
"Regardless of their level of optimism about the future of technology, most people I spoke with expressed concern for the amount of funding some startups have received. Because of the economics of the venture model, that funding can place intense pressure on them to grow beyond what might be reasonable. One former venture capitalist told me about a “pre-revenue startup” raising money at a $500 million valuation. “If they don't absolutely crush it over the next 12 months, the company's dead,” the venture capitalist added.
“There’s a massive, massive bubble,” said Lindzon. “We know that there's something bad that's gonna happen. But it's different than the last time, so we don't know when."
10. "Once again, the covid-19 backdrop has made for a unique holiday season, make no mistake. One can no longer make the argument that eCommerce is not an essential service. The numbers being put up month after month, even in pullbacks as pockets around the world open and close again, are undeniable."
11. Many founders are going to learn this lesson the hard way when times get tough. (Times eventually do get tough in all startups lives despite what you read online).
"In an era of transactional investing, relationships are both scarce and proprietary. They are “different.” As an investor, relationships provide access to entrepreneurs who are looking for a combination of support, insight, brainstorming and assistance in building teams that have real chemistry. Those relationships are critical for pitching A+ executives to join these nascent startups as well.
Today, many entrepreneurs are taking easy capital without developing relationships, which I believe may come back to bite them when times get tough. They may have already felt it when they can’t find recruiting help or a fund to pitch in when the model is not exactly right. Relationships are also proprietary. If you invest time, energy, your network and wisdom with the right people, they will want to keep working with you even when a faster and better transaction comes along.
As we saw back in the early 2000s, founders should also beware who they get into business with because, at some point, markets turn. When that happens, you really want someone in your corner who treats the investment as a relationship, and not as a transaction."
12. Loved the anime, can't wait to see the live action version.
13. "When MasterClass launched, in 2015, it offered three courses: Dustin Hoffman on acting, James Patterson on writing, and Serena Williams on tennis. Today, there are a hundred and thirty, in categories from business to wellness. During the pandemic lockdown, demand was up as much as tenfold from the previous year; last fall, when the site had a back-to-school promotion, selling an annual subscription for a dollar instead of a hundred and eighty dollars, two hundred thousand college students signed up in a day.
MasterClass will double in size this year, to six hundred employees, as it launches in the U.K., France, Germany, and Spain. It’s a Silicon Valley investor’s dream, a rolling juggernaut of flywheels and network effects dedicated to helping you, as the instructor Garry Kasparov puts it, “upgrade your software.”
14. "Betting On Yourself
At this point you should recognize that no one is going to save you. If we couldn’t figure out how to make a paper vaccine card fit in a standard wallet card slot, we’re unlikely going to solve rampant inflation, poor incentives and wealth inequality any time soon.
Instead, the highest ROI is going to be the same *bet on yourself*. Right now there are too many opportunities to count in tech from crypto to e-commerce to becoming an expert in a niche field.
Creating good habits now will create massive wealth over the next 10 years. Without betting on yourself you’ll create bad habits (chasing the next shiny object 100x hail mary vs. creating something sustainable that you can control)."
15. This is cool. Good for globetrotters & world travelers.
16. This is why Sequoia Capital is top dog for so long in Silicon Valley. Innovating on the VC model.
17. The best business show & discussion right now. Bar none.
18. Lots of good thinking on the supply chain issues by Flexport CEO.
"The bottleneck right now is not the cranes: It’s yard space at the container terminals and it’s empty chassis to clear those containers out.
In operations when a bottleneck appears somewhere that you didn’t design for it to appear, you must OVERWHELM THE BOTTLENECK!
We must OVERWHELM THE BOTTLENECK and get these ports working again. I can’t stress enough how bad it is for the world economy if the ports don’t work. Every company selling physical goods bought or sold internationally will fail."
19. This is pretty awesome if you ask me.
"The 19-year-old has made a name for herself as founder and CEO of Special Name, a website designed to provide Chinese parents with culturally appropriate English names for their babies.
Jessup was inspired to start the business in 2015, when she was just 15. Six months later, she had made more than $60,000 naming 200,000 babies. Since then, she has named a total of 677,900 (and counting) and racked up estimated revenues of over $400,000."
20. "For decades, we’ve justified the development of fragile and fragmented global supply chains in the name of economic growth and financial efficiency. This may have provided short-term benefits, but it has created our current supply chain crisis."
21. Lots of people like Serbia. So do I. (I will note I am concerned with Russian FSB & Chinese CCP infiltration there but I really like Belgrade alot). I am planning on spending more time there in 2022.
"Taxes are low, personal safety is very high, life is cheap, it's fun, English is widely spoken, and the people are proud and outgoing. Also, Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) is booming.
I see Serbia as a great option for:
- People who want to live in Europe but don't want to deal with EU complexity with regards to immigration, but also want to live in a big city as opposed to living in tranquil Montenegro.
- Business people who are attracted by Serbia's booming Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) levels due to its unique position between East & West, and its ability to attract Russian, Chinese, Arab, and Western investment.
- Westerners escaping wokeness and who want to live in a more traditional environment.
- Young people who want to live in a very fun city - Belgrade."
22. VERY interesting observation of the crazy world we are in.
"So when you look at the dog coins, notably DOGE and SHIB, it sort of makes sense. They are driven as much by collective belief in a meme as the U.S. dollar is driven by collective belief in the full faith and credit of the U.S. government.
Memes are great. They get people invested. They allow for a certain element of growth and inflow because they are:
-Trade FOMO fundamentals
-Create investable narratives
-Are real, because memefication manifests an element of reality
So despite all the memecoin run ups, the stock market going absolutely bonkers, public accounting being a bit ~loose~, and the Metaverse likely being our future - we have to remember that even though a lot of it doesn’t *feel* real, it is.
SHIB is real. It’s a meme. The U.S. Dollar is real. It’s a meme of the collective belief in the full faith and credit of the U.S. government. Accounting is a meme. It makes companies go up even when they shouldn’t.
Everything is a meme! (except the supply chain)"
23. This is a very important report and discussion on the "Independent Creator" economy. So excited for this future although there is much work to do.
24. This is a good discussion on geopolitics and economics: how it intersects with the importance of water.
25. This is a good take on the FB pivot to Meta.
"While many people made fun of Zuckerberg, I saw some shrewd moves. Lots of people have mocked the metaverse, the universe of virtual worlds that are all interconnected. But I’ve been thinking about it ever since reading novels such as Snow Crash and Ready Player One. It has been decades in the making, and while it’s here in some small forms like Second Life and Grand Theft Auto Online, and Roblox, it isn’t really here yet. As futurist Matthew Ball said, the metaverse is something that you should feel you’re inside of.
And as Zuckerberg said, you should feel a sense of presence, or that feeling you have been transported somewhere else.
If I were to bring up my favorite adage again — follow the money — I would conclude that so much money is going into the metaverse that it is going to happen. You don’t orchestrate something so huge, something on the scale of the Manhattan Project, and then come out of it on the other side without an atomic bomb.
The metaverse will happen because capital is betting that it will happen, and I’ll grant that Zuckerberg has some wisdom in seeing this."
26. I will admit it, I do love Mexico City.
27. Jim Roger's first book "Adventure Capitalist" inspired me for embarking on my globally focused business career. Such a fun interview.
28. I’ll be speaking about the “Path to Self Sovereignty” at the Freedom Business Summit next week (November 6-7th). Come check it out.
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