Weekly reading – 15th April 2023

What I wrote last week

3 CEOs that gain truths on the ground by being hands-on



Meta’s job cuts are gutting customer service, leaving influencers and businesses with nobody to call. Content creators and influences become increasingly important to platforms such as TikTok, Reels or YouTube Short. Yet, Facebook dismissed critical customer support staff during recent layoffs, leaving this clientele’s needs and cry for help unattended. It’s even more bizarre when WSJ reported that there are many recruiters at the company getting paid more than $190,000 a year for absolutely no output.

Before embarking on a brand redesign, consider the following. As the old adage goes, if it is not broken, don’t fix it.

Meta Verified requires users to use their legal names. What a mess! Facebook has a lot of immigrant employees. That’s why I am surprised that nobody tells the ones in charge that it’s common for immigrants to have their real names mixed up when they arrive in the US. Specifically, middle names become first names and first names become middle names. How would these immigrants feel using their Facebook to interact with friends and family back home? And there is a privacy concern for those that want their identify protected. Plus, why on Earth would anyone pay for Meta Verified again?

CEO Andy Jassy’s 2022 Letter to Shareholders. Some good nuggets on Amazon, how it’s being run and key themes such as AI, supply chain, grocery and AWS

Basecamp wasted $300,000 on billboards in Boston. Kudos to DHH for being transparent about this and sharing their marketing lesson. It’s not common at all for companies to raise their hands and say that one of their marketing campaigns went wrong. In my experience, it happens at every company. The key is how each company reacts to the disappointment.

Other stuff I find interesting

($) American manufacturing jobs comeback. Companies are furiously investing in US based factories. Their goal is to control their destiny and be more responsive to changing consumer demands. To me, that makes sense. China is the factory of the world, but the relation between the two countries makes it too big a risk. The supply chain crisis in the last two years is still likely on the mind of executives. Factoring all the risks into the calculation, they must think that it’s a sensible gamble to manufacture in the US

Ben Affleck on ‘Air,’ New CEO Gig and Those Memes: “I Am Who I Am”. Quite an honest conversation with Ben Affleck. You learn a bit about the actor/director, but also the film industry.

($) A Barcode Unlocks Indonesia’s Billion-Dollar Informal Economy. “Indonesia is now a distant first place in Southeast Asia both in the use of e-wallets and QR payments. Indonesia’s young population and pervasive mobile-phone use helped QR become the perfect springboard for it to leave cash behind. That’s true at least in major cities. For the easternmost islands, central bank officers must brave seas and drive armored trucks for days to distribute cash. This year, they will give out about 3 trillion rupiah of new bills to 85 islands so people there can transact as old cash tends to tear or stain. Bank Indonesia expects broader QR use to reduce the need for their grueling cash journeys.”

($) The U.S. Cracked a $3.4 Billion Crypto Heist—and Bitcoin’s Anonymity. A fascinating tale of how law enforcement cracked a wire fraud case involving cryptocurrency


“Merchants paid $126.4 billion in processing fees for credit cards in 2022”

US residents use about 1.24% of their daily wages to consume power

The average monthly payment for a new car has soared to a record $777, nearly doubling from late 2019“. Absolutely insane.

Medicare drug negotiation provision would have saved the U.S. $26.5 billion

Digital ad revenue in the U.S. rose 10.8% year-over-year in 2022

Ad spend on TikTok in the US grew by 30% YoY in March 2023

Almost 19% of cars registered in 2022 are 8-11 years old. Source: WSJ

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