10 Weekend Reads

Merry Happy! Pour yourself a mug of Organic FT French Peru Jumarp coffee, grab a seat by the tree, and get ready for our longer-form weekend reads:

How Shopify Outfoxed Amazon to Become the Everywhere Store Tobi Lütke transformed the Canadian upstart into an e-commerce giant by being the anti-Bezos. How long can the formula keep working?  (Businessweek)

Behind a New Pill to Treat Covid: A Husband-and-Wife Team and a Hunch The drug’s journey from a university lab is latest example of the unlikely sources of pandemic antidotes (Wall Street Journal)

The Real Story of Pixar: How a bad hardware company turned itself into a great movie studio By definition, The Movie could incorporate no hand drawing. The tools to build it emerged piecemeal. First came the software that enabled computers to create two-dimensional images and, later, virtual 3D objects. Then we figured out how to move those objects, shade them, and light them before rendering them as frames of a movie. (IEEE Spectrum)

• Retailtainment: a deep dive into the new shopping experiences There was a time – not so long ago – when the online shopping experience boiled down to a search box, a drop-down menu, a few filters and that was it. A linear, almost surgical protocol, and, let’s face it, not exactly fun. Today, the sales experience has been designed to fulfil the demands of the consumers who consistently seek uniqueness. (In Bed With Social)

The Tomb Raiders of the Upper East Side: Inside the Manhattan DA’s Antiquities Trafficking Unit Over the past decade, more than 3,600 antiquities, valued at some $200 million have been impounded. They’ve raided art fairs on Park Avenue, and Christie’s in Rockefeller Center. They arrested a dealer at the five-star Mark Hotel and seized statues on display at the five-star Pierre. Tips from scholars, dealers, and other informants have repeatedly led to the Upper East Side. The enclave of old-money families along Fifth Avenue’s Museum Mile is America’s worst neighborhood for antiquities crime. The problem with “these gentlemen of stature and breeding,” he told one judge, is that they “would never be so gauche” as to check the legal status of ancient art before buying it. (The Atlantic)

The Platform Economy  The technology platform has emerged as the preeminent business model after many years in ascent. We use natural language processing to identify platform companies and show that they have significantly outperformed the stock market. Platforms’ powerful network effects generate positive feedback and monopoly dynamics, which are disrupting traditional valuation approaches. (Sparkline Capital)

The ‘Cowboy Cocktail’: How Wyoming became one of the world’s top tax havens Millionaires and billionaires around the world have taken note. In recent years, families from India to Italy to Venezuela have abandoned international financial centers for law firms in Wyoming’s ski resorts and mining towns, helping to turn the state into one of the world’s top tax havens. America’s least populated state to shelter assets, Pandora Papers show. (Washington Post)

The Race to Secure Water in the Western U.S.: How four cities are trying to survive future droughts, from expanding reservoirs and tapping neighboring watersheds to pushing conservation efforts.  How four cities are trying to survive future droughts, from expanding reservoirs and tapping neighboring watersheds to pushing conservation efforts. (Bloomberg)

Why Isn’t Kenny Washington an American Icon? This year is the 75th anniversary of Washington’s groundbreaking season, and he’s barely a footnote in the annals of sports history. During the lead-up to this past Super Bowl, a CBS segment at last acknowledged his singular breakthrough—calling it a “Jackie Robinson moment.” So why, all these decades later, don’t we talk about Jackie Robinson’s debut as a “Kenny Washington moment”? Why did America forget Kenny Washington? (Slate)

The Texan Who Saved the Beatles From the start, it’s obvious that the Beatles have their work cut out for them. Tasked with creating an album from scratch in three weeks, the longtime friends struggle to make progress, bickering over their work ethic and creative vision until a withdrawn and increasingly frustrated George Harrison quits the band just seven days into recording. After a series of off-camera meetings, Harrison returns, but the band is now behind schedule and feeling even more pressure to deliver. And then Billy Preston shows up. (Texas Monthly)

Be sure to check out our Masters in Business this week with, Max Chafkin, features editor and tech reporter at Businessweek. His work has also appeared in Fast Company, Vanity Fair, and the New York Times Magazine. His most recent book is “The Contrarian: Peter Thiel and Silicon Valley’s Pursuit of Power.”


Poorest Americans See Record Increase in Wealth Since the Pandemic

Source: Bloomberg


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