My end of week morning
train WFH reads:
• World-Dominating Superstar Firms Get Bigger, Techier, and More Chinese The world’s biggest businesses were doing fine until Covid-19 arrived. Now they’re doing even better. The top 50 companies by value added $4.5 trillion of stock market capitalization in 2020, taking their combined worth to about 28% of global gross domestic product. Three decades ago the equivalent figure was less than 5%. (Businessweek)
• Technobabble, Libertarian Derp and Bitcoin Twelve years on, cryptocurrencies play almost no role in normal economic activity. Almost the only time we hear about them being used as a means of payment — as opposed to speculative trading — is in association with illegal activity, like money laundering or the Bitcoin ransom Colonial Pipeline paid to hackers who shut it down. (New York Times) but see Why the Bitcoin Crash Was a Big Win for Cryptocurrencies Under extreme stress, the decentralized finance system worked as designed. (Bloomberg)
• The U.S. Is Not Ready For An All-Electric Future The U.S. is woefully unprepared to handle “the electrification of everything.” Increased electrification in all sectors will need huge investments in the electric grid, in battery storage to back up renewable power generation, in charging points for EVs, and in technologies such as green hydrogen to help those technologies to reach maturity and cost efficiency enough to start replacing fossil fuels. (Oilprice)
• The Strongest Sign Yet That Inflation Is Transitory After a year of soaring prices, some builders — and homebuyers — are beginning to step back. The rest of the economy may follow suit. (Bloomberg)
• How Apple screwed Facebook Apple’s iOS 14.5 update has triggered an unstoppable collapse in Facebook’s ability to collect user data (Wired)
• Retailers Couldn’t Stock Hand Sanitizer Fast Enough. Now They Can’t Give It Away. Once nearly impossible to find, bottles of sanitizer are now taking up shelf space and stores are trying promotions to get rid of them; ‘It’s worth more to us gone’ (Wall Street Journal)
• Will science survive politics? Whether something is politically convenient or not doesn’t affect its truth (UnHerd)
• Adversary Drones Are Spying On The U.S. And The Pentagon Acts Like They’re UFOs The U.S. military seems aloof to the fact that it’s being toyed with by a terrestrial adversary and key capabilities may be compromised as a result. (The Drive)
• The Body’s Most Embarrassing Organ Is an Evolutionary Marvel: And yet we have very little idea where anuses come from. (The Atlantic)
• Step Inside the ‘Little Island,’ Barry Diller’s $260 Million Public Park It took five years to build, and now will open to everyone. (Bloomberg)
Be sure to check out our Masters in Business interview this weekend with Scott Sperling, Co-Chief Executive Officer of private equity firm Thomas. H. Lee. The Co-CEO is a member of the firm’s Management and Investment Committees. THL has completed more than 100 investments in excess of $125 billion of aggregate purchase price. Their flagship fund has more than $5B in it, and their Automation Fund has over $900 million in LP assets.
MapLab: How to Track American Migration
To learn how these reads are assembled each day, please see this.