Weekly reading – 18th December 2021

What I wrote last week

Is Menadione, a synthetic version of Vitamin K, safe for pets?

Good reads-0on Business

Netflix Cuts India Prices in Struggle for Biggest Foreign Market. The fact that Netflix slashed prices by 60% in India shows that the streamer feels very threatened by Disney+ and Amazon Prime. I have a lot of love for Netflix, but I don’t think the company is as invincible as many Netflix bulls make it out to be. If it were indeed invincible, then why would it cut prices that much? I often see Netflix bulls make fun of Disney+ ARPU because it has been growing its subscriber base by keeping the price low, especially in India. Now that Netflix lowers prices itself, I can’t imagine this will do the company’s own ARPU any good

U.S. appeals court denies motion to file amicus brief from Coalition for App Fairness. “U.S. courts–and especially appeals courts–normally have a permissive approach toward amicus briefs, above all in high-stakes high-profile cases like this one. It rarely happens that they tell stakeholders they are unwelcome to join a proceeding as “friends of the court” contributing potentially useful information. Here, however, a filing by the Coalition for App Fairness (whose three key members are Epic, Spotify, and Match Group, which is best known for Tinder) and four of its members (Match Group, Tile, Basecamp, and Knitrino) has been flatly rejected by the Ninth Circuit. As a result, the CAF now faces a credibility issue in any other App Store cases around the globe in which it may try to support Epic or even another one of its large members. Even if other courts ultimately allowed the CAF to join other cases, Apple would point to the Ninth Circuit decision, which at a minimum would diminish the credibility of anything the CAF would say on Epic’s behalf. The CAF has now been stigmatized as part of an Epic anti-Apple initiative designed to raise issues regardless of whether those were “organic or manufactured” as the evidence shows.” Even though I have shares of Match Group, Tinder’s owner, and Spotify, I don’t support their effort here. Yes, having to pay commission to Apple cuts their revenue and profit down, but that’s part of doing business on a platform you don’t own.

The DMV Is No Longer a Bureaucratic Purgatory, DMV Says. Information Technology is not just an item on a checklist. It’s the driver of innovation and business growth, even for a government agency known for its terrible services like DMV.

The Guardian has more than 1 million recurring supporters. I hope the likes of Business Insider can pay attention to this. The Guardian doesn’t have a paywall. It simply asks for donations from readers and relies on its journalism to woo subscribers. Putting content strictly behind a paywall doesn’t increase the likelihood of acquiring a subscriber. It actually creates some frustration and annoyance.

With $5 more every month, you can add Disney+ and ESPN+ to your Hulu Live TV+ subscription. An interesting move. I don’t believe that Disney double-counts its subscribers, meaning that a multi-service subscriber can only be counted once. However Disney counts it, I doubt that the move is purely about increasing the subscriber base for Disney+, its flagship streamer. I also don’t see how the new plan can increase Average Revenue Per User (ARPU). A standalone Disney+ already costs $7 a month, higher than the additional $5 that Hulu Live TV subscriber has to pay to get it. Hence, this move is perhaps to make Hulu Live TV+ more appealing and increase the overall revenue.

A good blog on Bill Foley, one of the best yet less famous investors in history

Other stuff I find interesting

A nice story on the new F1 world champion, Max Verstappen. If you want to know what it took to be the best F1 driver in the world, have a read. It requires talent for sure, but talent alone is definitely not enough.

52 things I learned in 2021

The Office Is an Efficiency Trap. “The setup of the Bürolandschaft was designed to follow the natural lines of communication, decrease inefficiencies, and, as an added bonus, cost less: No real hierarchies meant no expensively furnished offices for management. One huge room was far easier to heat, cool, light, and electrify. Yet the design, however well-meaning in theory, was a disaster in practice. In Germany, Scandinavia, and the Netherlands, the experience of working in an open office design was so miserable that in the 1970s local worker councils effectively mandated their removal. But not in the United States, where, as the architecture critic James S. Russell notes, Americans “characteristically reworked” the plan into “something cheaper and more ordered.” The “curvilinear informality” of the Schnelles’ design was formalized into workstations with shelves, cabinets, and dividing panels—what would eventually devolve into the cubicle.”

The World Wants Green Hydrogen. Namibia Says It Can Deliver.Now Namibia is positioning itself as a leader in the emerging market for another hot resource: green hydrogen, which is made using renewable electricity. With bright sunshine 300 days a year and vicious winds that rip along a nearly 1,000-mile coast, renewable experts and government officials say the southwest African nation has outsize potential for renewable energy production.” The next decades will see Africa rise in importance on the global scale with its young population and vast natural resources. China will surely be there to make strategic moves. The question is whether Western governments will do anything about it.

Stats

ETF inflows top $1 trillion

While NBA pays $2.5+ billion for the rights to stream Premier League, Major League Soccer brings in just $90 million a year from ESPN and Fox

In November 2021, 87% of all new vehicles sold in the U.S were sold at or above sticker price

Only 20% of the U.S energy in 2020 came from nuclear. A missed opportunity, I’d say

Between 2013 and December 2021, AirBnb has processed $336 billion in payments on their platform

U.S Online Grocery Sales hit $8.6 billion, $7 billion of which came from Delivery and Pickup

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