The weekend is here! Pour yourself a mug of Portland Roasted coffee, grab a seat in the — is that sun? — and get ready for our longer form weekend reads:
• Martha Stewart Is the Original Influencer The DIY trailblazer remains as relevant as ever thanks to her relentless reinvention, shrewd branding, and the occasional thirst trap. Most people who tell you they’ve invented whole genres of things or were the “first” at anything are probably exaggerating. But with Stewart it’s generally true. She popularized beautifully photographed cookbooks and manuals for living well, of which she’s written 98, and created a lifestyle magazine centered around a single person and philosophy. (Harper’s Bazaar)
• The Big Long We’re in year 12 of this phenomenon – 0% interest rates + no cost of capital, save for a short-lived game of chicken between the Fed and the S&P 500. Now we have trillions of dollars, owed with no interest, all chasing investments with the potential for massive capital appreciation – the cost of this money being so low as to render the need for current cash flows completely irrelevant to the global players of this game: Sovereign wealth funds, hedge funds, asset managers, index ETFs, mutual and closed-end funds, retirement savers, family offices, day traders, corporate treasuries and teenagers on TikTok. (Reformed Broker)
• 100 Women Making Their Mark in the World of Finance Women have made enormous strides in the past year in the public sector. America elected its first female vice president, Kamala Harris, in November. Janet Yellen now serves as the nation’s first female secretary of the Treasury, and the 117th U.S. Congress includes a record 143 women, or 27% of its total membership. (Barron’s)
• The Rise of the Digital Music Distributor: Digital music distribution arrived in the 2000s: These new distributors were not companies placing records into stores across the country or the globe, but rather commercial platforms to get music onto emerging online stores. (Penny Fractions)
• Do Workers Fleeing House Price Growth Take the Boom with Them as They Go? Systematic differences in the degree to which geographic housing markets are affected by common economic shocks can be explained by patterns of migration between US metros. When an economic boom starts in one region and benefits a particular group of workers, it often ends up driving up local house prices. This increase in housing costs then causes other workers to leave that region in pursuit of more affordable housing elsewhere. (Harvard Joint Center for Housing Studies / PDF)
• Inflation: The Good, The Bad, and The Transitory The Fed’s framework review and forward guidance from this past fall showed an encouraging willingness to focus on labor market outcomes rather than inflation alone. Rather than previous efforts at forward guidance which guaranteed low rates until either inflation or employment rose, the most recent guidance ensures low rates until both inflation and employment rise sufficiently. (Medium)
• The Value of Truth: At a time of anxiety about fake news and conspiracy theories, philosophy can contribute to our most urgent cultural and political questions about how we come to believe what we think we know. (Boston Review)
• California’s intensified fires are increasing the threat to Highway 1, severed yet again Highway 1 is a 650-mile California spectacle, a Depression-era monument to the state’s quixotic ambitions and stunning beauty. It runs from the Orange County surf haven of Dana Point in the south into cannabis-cultivating Mendocino County, carrying heavy traffic over the Golden Gate Bridge and under the bluffs of Santa Monica, better known as the Pacific Coast Highway. California’s shifting weather patterns are presenting new threats to this exotic road as wildfire reaches into places it has never been, leaving raw landscapes and fresh dangers in its burn path. (Washington Post)
• Drones With ‘Most Advanced AI Ever’ Coming Soon To Your Local Police Department Founded by Google veterans and backed by $340 million from major VCs, Skydio is creating drones that seem straight out of science fiction—and they could end up in your neighborhood soon. (Forbes)
• Posting less, posting more, and tired of it all: How the pandemic has changed social media One year in, Covid-19 has altered everything, including how we use social media. What’s appropriate and not for social media has changed a lot in the past year. One hard truth of the pandemic was that, in order to someday be together safely, we had to be apart in the meantime. For many, this meant that social media has become one of the only ways to be with friends and family, so people have flocked to platforms new (TikTok) and old (Facebook). (Vox)
Be sure to check out our Masters in Business interview this weekend with William J. Bernstein, Ph.D., M.D., retired neurologist, and principal in the money management firm Efficient Frontier Advisors. He is the author of several best-selling books on finance and history. Bernstein’s new book The Delusions Of Crowds: Why People Go Mad in Groups was just published.
USA is middle of the pack in terms of house prices to disposable income; Not quite bubbly!
To learn how these reads are assembled each day, please see this.