Weekly readings – 3rd October 2020

What I wrote

Macroeconomic consequences of the election and my review of Long Way Up as well as the book Rage by Bob Woodward

Business

The CEO of Snowflake penned an article on culture designed to win. I am not 100% a fan of this seemingly cut-throat ideology, but it seems to work out well for him

Google is enforcing its own payment on Play Store

Axios seems to be doing quite well with 1.4 million newsletter subscribers, up from 700,000 a year ago. I always like their reporting, especially Jonathan Swan.

How mask sellers sold their goods on Etsy

This business lesson series from Protocol is pretty cool. Check it out

ARK’s bull thesis on Square and Cash App

Meat sales increased during the pandemic, with 50% of the surveyed consumers reporting buying and cooking more meat

Source: Piplsay

Technology

What Apple did behind its Scribble feature

The Verge’s interesting story on Amazon One, Amazon’s latest consumer-centric technology

What I found interesting

Once a beacon of hope garnering admiration from around the world, the US has lost a lot of respect from people around the world in the past 4 years, highlighted by its failure to deal with the pandemic

Cement is responsible for 8% of the world’s CO2 emissions

An unprecedented look into Trump’s tax returns by The New York Times. You can say a lot of things about NYT, but this piece alone should earn them a lot of subscriptions. Excellent work by the journalists involved.

Germany has its own Fauci, but the country actually listens to him

Axios Series and The Art of Journalism From Jonathan Swan

I came across the first episode of Axios Season 2 on HBO and was blown away by the ability and courage to ask tough questions by Jonathan Swan.

Jonathan covered various controversial and sensitive topics, asking questions on Jared’s alleged conflict of interest in using his position in the government to further business interest, Jared’s close relationship with the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia, Jared’s opinion on Palestine – Israel, whether Jared thinks Trump is a racist, whether he discussed with Trump on his security clearance and so on. Jonathan wasn’t afraid to challenge Jared’s answers on the spot and to follow with clarifying and dissecting questions.

Some of the questions asked are (edited a bit for publishing purpose)

  • You are a son-in-law, a husband (to his daughter), a senior advisor, does it make it harder to tell him the truth? Where do you stand on abortion?
  • Do you believe that the Jewish people have a God given right to The West Bank?
  • Do you believe the Palestinian government is capable of governing themselves without the Israeli interference?
  • You are talking about what Palestinian people want, but how do you frankly know what they want?
  • The Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia, what do you see in this guy personally? How many conversations have you had with MBS about the murder of Jamal Khashoggi? Will you join Khashoggi family in calling for the release of his body?
  • Why didn’t you pick up the phone and call the FBI about the email from Roger Stone about the meeting with Russia?
  • Has Trump ever said anything racist? Was Birtherism racist?

Not only is this a refreshing air breathed into journalism, but the interview is one of the rare looks into the mind of one of the top advisors in the government, Jared Kushner, who doesn’t do many interviews. Very well done by HBO and Axios.