Weekly reading – 9th July 2022

Business

Payments “Revolution” — Visa drives a surge in digital transactions. A great interview with the CFO of Visa. In this episode, Vasant talked about how Visa makes money in general and the company’s position with regard to the supposed threats such as Open Banking, Buy Now Pay Later or Cryptocurrencies.

($) TikTok Turns On the Money Machine. “ByteDance’s hit video app is on track to triple revenue this year to $12 billion, threatening Facebook’s hold on social media. TikTok has an edge against Meta that Apple Inc. helped solidify. Last year, the Cupertino, Calif.-based company updated its iPhone operating system so that users have to opt in to let apps like Facebook track their activities as they used other software on their phones. Most users decided not to let Meta track them, a change Zuckerberg has blamed for financial troubles like those in February. TikTok, it turns out, isn’t relying so much on that kind of tracking data. Its artificial intelligence discerns a user’s likes or dislikes largely from activities on the platform, picking up on how long you watch, say, a cat video, a skateboarding clip or lip-synced dancing. TikTok’s algorithms can then match up users with not just content, but advertising too.”

($) Americans Have Had It With Inflation. Consumers are showing signs that spending is not as strong as some companies make it out to be. With damaging inflation showing no signs of abating, persistent supply chain issues and vulnerable consumer spending, the future looks bleak

($) The Secret Sauce That’s Made Slutty Vegan a $100 Million Chain. A fascinating story about a business founded by a fascinating 34-year-old woman.

How the man behind the Apple Store presided over a Spac catastrophe. Ron Johnson is richer and more famous than most of us, but one thing that we haven’t done is to lose millions of dollars in a business catastrophe in a short time. Past credentials are useful as signals, but they don’t guarantee the same success in the future. Just because someone is rich and famous doesn’t also mean that they have the right opinions or can do everything.

Online grocery shoppers spend more but less loyal. “The vast majority of the 45% of consumers who shop for groceries online are omnichannel shoppers. While their monthly average grocery spend is $594 compared with $388 for in-store-only shoppers, online shoppers spend their dollars across a greater number of retailers monthly, between 3.9 to 6.6 stores per month compared with 3.2 for in-store only, the customer data science firm said.”

($) Intel Bets 17 Billion Euros on a Tech Revival in Eastern German. Intel has made a lot of headlines lately with their planned investments. The key here is that everything is just a plan and full of promises. Nothing has actually come to fruition yet. Intel fell far behind their competitors in terms of technology. In the world of semiconductor, it’s very challenging to make up ground. And I wonder how Intel will pull that off while fulfilling their promises to build plants in Europe and Ohio. Or is that the case of, and I quote somebody in the article, “promises are cheap”?

Other stuff I find interesting

How football shirts chart the rise and fall of tech giants. Football is THE global sport. It’s no surprise to see companies craving for eyeballs spend millions of dollars to appear on teams’ shirts.

Layover or nonstop? UCLA Health research says unique pattern of connectivity lets highly creative people’s brains take road less traveled to their destination. About 15 years ago, somebody said something that stuck with me till this day: it’s all a big giant jigsaw. The more pieces you gather, the more likely you can complete the jigsaw. You just need to find the pieces, whether it’s through experience or reading. It really motivates me to read and improve myself constantly. When I read the article, it reminded of that lesson. In this case, highly creative people have the “pieces” required to take the less traveled path. Somehow, their upbringing, their personality and life experience give them the pieces they need to be who they are and think the way they do.

The local news crisis is deepening America’s divides. You can’t make great decisions without being informed. I don’t think national news outlets have the resources to cover everything in every local community. As more regional news outlets shut down, citizens don’t have enough information on their communities; which affect their votes and decisions. And if there is one thing everybody should know about politics in America in the last 10-15 years, it’s that voting matters at every level.

Japan’s shochu capital becomes new hot spot for whisky. “Traditionally known for its shochu, a clear liquor made from grains, potatoes, sugar cane and more, Japan’s southwestern region of Kyushu has become home to a budding whisky industry as craft distillers chase a larger, more global audience. Surrounded by vegetable fields and rice paddies, Shindo Distillery began producing whisky in the Fukuoka Prefecture city of Asakura in summer 2021. The facility belongs to Shinozaki, a storied barley shochu maker founded in 1922. Shinozaki is branching out “because demand for Japanese whisky is skyrocketing,” said Michiaki Shinozaki, who is part of the eighth generation of the founding family.”

Tips for Productivity, Thinking, and Doing. I wholeheartedly agree with this post, especially on the morning routine, the value of writing and the benefits of getting the most important thing done early.

What Is the Pesco Mediterranean Diet? I am actually following the Pesco Mediterranean Diet right now. It’s more about my love for sea food than trying to meet the daily protein intake. It also makes the transition to a plant-focused diet such as Mediterranean Diet easier. If you are looking for a diet that is great for your health, look this up.

Stats

India consumed 6 million tons of meat in 2020

40% of Google users use IPv6

In Zambia, only 10% of the adult population uses a debit card.

FedEx estimates savings of $400 million annually from retiring mainframes

Amazon Prime reportedly had 172 million members in the US as of June 2022