Small but important things

Below are a few short clips that I found profound yet easy to understand. Hope you’ll enjoy them as much as I do

The value of independence

In this clip (starting 31:30 and I tried to make the embedded video start at that point), Morgan Housel talked about his own experience with the independence and freedom that money provides. The older I grow, the more I take this lesson to heart. Fortunately, my wife shares the same perspective and that makes everything a bit easier.

Enough

My wife and I took a walk this evening to enjoy an awesome weather that is going to be sorely missed in a month. We talked about what would have been like if we were living in the 1920s. There would be no Internet. We would have no Google. We would have to look up things on newspapers. We would have to write to our family back home in Vietnam instead of Facetiming. We would be in more danger because drugs and medical procedures were much less advanced, etc. We both came to a conclusion that we were happy to be where we are. A lot of people that I interacted with asked me why I chose Omaha and why I haven’t moved to a bigger city. Many of them actually left themselves. We have a different opinion. We like it here. It’s not too hectic nor is it too expensive. It’s quiet and if we look long enough, we can always find something to do. We may change our minds in a few years, but for now we are content. We have enough. Which is what Morgan Housel talks about here:

What is winning?

Hasan Minhaj brought up a great point in this clip. We idolize celebrities and put them on a pedestal. Many of them earn that respect, love and adulation. There are dedicated fans who know every achievement and every single detail of an athlete’s career. There are even university courses on some superstars. But how much do we talk about the other side of the equation? How much do we talk about the strained relationship, the mental breakdown or the sacrifices? Envy is arguably the worst sin. If you envy someone, envy the whole package. The good and the bad. Which is something that I am working hard on every day.

We and everything we do will fade. So take it easy

I am not a fan of Naval on Twitter. In fact, I blocked him. But that doesn’t negate the fact that he made a great point here. Stand in a forest, an ocean or a mountain and you’ll see how small we are against nature. Zoom it out to the whole planet and we become microscopic. Zoom it out a bit further and we’re absolutely nothing. As great as some civilizations and great individuals in the past, they are all gone and some of their work will already fade eventually. We won’t be any different and that’s life. Knowing that brings a whole new perspective in life.

Weekly reading – 20th August 2022

What I wrote last week

Did App Tracking Transparency Really Ruin Small Businesses?

Business

The HBO Max Rumor Mill Was Wrong — But There’s Still Pain to Come. The streaming business gets increasingly interesting yet complicated for me to wrap my head around. There are so many factors that go into the decision making and unfortunately, companies don’t divulge enough to investors. Anyway, it’s a good piece on HBO Max and the rumor that the new parent company will merge it and Discovery+.

Personalized coffees and prestige skincare: Consumers snap up premium products despite cost-of-living crisis. Who would have thought that consumers would prefer private label grocery brands to national names but be willing to spend on expensive coffee and pricey skincare products?

($) U.S. Approves Nearly All Tech Exports to China, Data Shows. Reading this article, I think the heart of this issue is communication failure. Other agencies don’t give effective input to the Commerce Department. Their objective is to facilitate trade between the US and other countries. China is rich enough that if the US restricts exports, other countries are willing to fill the void, especially when such exports are not 100% exclusive and rare. Also, there is no consensus on what should be the balance between not arming a worthy adversary and protecting the trade interests.

Dr Drew’s podcast episode with Morgan Housel. There are a lot of gems in this episode. One of them is the definition of rich vs wealthy. According to Morgan Housel, rich means that you are able to pay monthly bills on your own. Wealthy means that you set aside some capital for investments that you don’t have to use to pay for expenses. Once we are wealthy based on such a definition, what brings us misery is our greed and jealousy. I have to agree with him.

($) Should Disney Get Rid of ESPN? The Debate Returns. ESPN is an important asset of Disney as it holds broadcast rights to popular sports leagues such as NBA. ESPN+ is a crucial piece in the Disney+ puzzle and the bundle that Disney wants to sell to consumers. Therefore, I don’t see any reason why Disney should get rid of ESPN

Here’s why HBO Max is pulling dozens of films and TV series from the streaming platform. “While HBO Max already paid for the production of these shows, it’s still on the hook for residuals, including so-called back-end payments to cast, crew and writers, based on long-term viewership metrics. By removing these films and shows, especially the ones HBO Max created rather than licensed, executives can cut expenses immediately. Warner Bros. Discovery has promised at least $3 billion in synergies stemming from the merger of WarnerMedia and Discovery, announced in May. The content eliminations in total will save “tens of millions of dollars,” according to two people familiar with the matter, who asked not to be named because the finances are private.”

Other stuff I find interesting

Is dark chocolate really good for you? For those that are interested in the health benefits or potential risks of dark chocolate

The Day You Decided to Take the Leap. Building this blog was a leap to me several years ago. I was not a writer. I did not feel comfortable talking about myself or my thoughts. But I felt the urge. The urge of finding a medium through which I can improve myself while satisfying all the other requirements (school, work). I took that leap. Even though I haven’t had any financial returns (in fact it is an expense to maintain this blog), I find joy from this habit. It’s a sanctuary where I can be myself creatively and escape mentally at times. Those weren’t on the benefit list when I contemplated taking the leap.

We need to try harder to prevent the next pandemic. What do they always say? Failing to plan means planning to fail. As a country, it seems like we are planning to get hit again with another crushing pandemic. Our pandemic prevention budget went from an ambitious $65 billion to less than $3 billion, half of which will be dedicated to the modernization of CDC’s labs. You know how much we spend on military? $725 billion in 2020. It’s well documented that our generals didn’t think we need that much money on defense. Plus, an insider like the author of the book Kill Chain outlined all the monumental wasteful investments in defense. That we budget less than $3 billion on the prevention of pandemics, the latest of which took 1 million lives in America is baffling to me. Well, I mean pathetic.

Fresh Herbs & Spices in Vietnamese Food. Some of the herbs are not popular around here in the US or many countries. I am happy whenever I can introduce my country and culture to others

Ultimate list of Japanese Vegetable Cutting Techniques

Stats

In 2020, 16% of Blockbuster’s revenue ($ 800 million) came from fine fees

“38% of white adults say their parents or older relatives have given them or their family gifts or loans worth $10,000 or more over the course of their adult lives.”

Retail expenses make up 78% of a cup of coffee’s price

July 2022 was the world’s sixth-hottest July on record

One solar Watt in the US costs $2.77, about 4 times more expensive than in Australia

There were 43,000 traffic deaths in the US in 2021

5-10 hours of moderate physical activity or 2.5 to 5 hours of vigorous exercise will help lower the risk of premature mortality

Source: Supermarketnews