Weekly reading – 4th March 2023

What I wrote last week

Understanding Booking Holdings


Paying Michelin Guide to Help Promote Your Tourism Can Be a Messy Business. An interesting look at the restaurant-reviewing business of Michelin and how countries commission a guide to boost their tourism.

Soroban Capital Partners Presentation to UNP Board of Directors. If you are interested in the railroad industry, this presentation offers some great data and information

Graham & Dodd Annual Breakfast 2022. I love reading on how Ted and Todd make investment decisions. “Businesses are run by people, and Buffett says he likes taking the cash flow and removing it from managers and investing it himself. There’s a known adage, when looking to buy a business: look to buy a business a dummy can run, because eventually a dummy will run it. Every time Combs meets with a company, there are two questions he always asks management: (1) How long do you spend talking to investors, and (2) what would you be doing if you were not publicly traded? The median response is 25% of the time is spent talking to investors. In response to the second question management usually lists a number of things that make a lot of sense, and Combs then proceeds to ask why they don’t do that, and they say because they feel handcuffed. When management is focused on the quarterly performance, and they don’t have the proper time horizon, they are not empowered to do the right thing. As a fiduciary you are setting yourself up for failure if you don’t have the right time horizon.

Why Goldman’s consumer ambitions failed, and what it means for CEO David Solomon. Chaotic and vision-less leadership at Goldman Sachs led to the current state of its consumer banking business.

($) Apple’s iPhones Winning Over Gen Z—and the World’s Premium Market. “From Europe to Asia, Apple’s market lead in the premium bracket is growing, and polls show that people in their teens and early 20s, known as Gen Z, increasingly see the iPhone as a must-have. Converts say they are drawn by its design, cameras and AirDrop features for sharing photos. Around 52% of people age 18 to 29 in South Korea were using an Apple smartphone as of 2022, up from 44% two years earlier, according to polls by Gallup Korea. Samsung’s share of this age group slipped to 44% from 45% in that time, the polls showed. For all older age groups, Samsung phones remain most prevalent.” I had some personal experience with how Samsung marketed its products in Vietnam. To me, this didn’t come as a surprise. Samsung can be innovative and technologically advanced. However, its products and ecosystem leave a lot to be desired. It’s not about being the first to introduce some features or being sassy while mocking its biggest rival. It’s about making things that are useful and valuable to consumers. I hope leaders at Samsung will read this piece and change their approach from bottom to top. No amount of marketing money can fix the fundamental shortcomings of its products.

Other stuff I find interesting

How a shipping error 100 years ago launched the $30 billion chicken industry. The accidental origins of the chicken on your plate, explained.

($) Indonesia Shows It’s Possible to Tame Rainforest Destruction. Now, forest destruction in Indonesia is at its lowest pace in two decades. The rate of forest loss fell by more than half in Indonesia from 2015 through 2021, while it worsened in Brazil and the Democratic Republic of the Congo, homes to two other vast rainforests. It is a turnaround with lessons for policy makers, businesses and environmentalists around the world who are concerned about the effects of rainforest loss. Indonesia’s success owes to a three-pronged and overlapping approach. Strict directives prohibiting wholesale forest clearance flowed from the top rungs of government starting about five years ago. Multinational consumer-product companies pledged to avoid palm oil that involved forest destruction, blacklisted forest-slashing plantations and tracked their activities with satellites. And environmental nonprofits exposed murky supply chains that long made it hard to know whether palm oil came from a company that was knocking down forests.

The small European nation of Switzerland beat sky-high inflation. Here’s how. It’s interesting to learn how Switzerland has been handling inflation, compared to other European countries. It’d be difficult, though, for others to replicate what they did. A lot of their success seems to predicate on unique characteristics that only Switzerland has.

Denver’s 2022 Ebike Incentive Program Results and Recommendations. “On a per-mile basis, ebikes cost 40% less to operate than EVs and nearly 75% less than ICEVs. 71% of respondents reported using their gas vehicles less often after purchasing their ebike.

More CCTV, more crime: India’s most-surveilled cities are the least safe. It’s unfathomable to read about high levels of crimes against women in India. This report is the strongest evidence that the preventative method of installing surveillance cameras just doesn’t work. Lawmakers need to think of a better solution to crimes against women that increased by 15% nationally and 40% in the capital, compared to the previous year


Keto diet generates almost 3kg of carbon for every 1,000 calories consumed

46% of Gen Z are concerned about mental health the most

50% of millennials wish their grocery stores had a restaurant or a bar

One thought on “Weekly reading – 4th March 2023

  1. I love reading about business and the strategies that businesses use to succeed. This article is a great look at how the restaurant-reviewing business works and how countries commission a guide to boost their tourism.
    Michael Tucker


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