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Friday 6 March 2020

Weekend Reading

Reading across disciplines is one of the best ways to improve our investment acumen. Here is a summary of some of the best articles I read this week.

In Amazon we trust!!
Amazon and Google are still the two most trusted internet companies. Facebook and twitter the worst!!

So, Amazon has decided to deliver your food in India
Amazon does not care for timing... You can be last in a market and still win. Of any consumer technology product in the country, food delivery gets maximum traction, followed by grocery, fast moving consumer goods and general ecommerce. Last year, Amazon shut down its four-year-old Amazon Restaurants delivery service in the United States, while it invested in food delivery platform Deliveroo in Europe, indicating the complexity of running this business at feasible unit economics.

This one does not breathe
Scientists discover first known animal that doesn't breathe. This is the first animal on Earth proven to have no mitochondrial genome and no way to breathe. A microscopic and genomic analysis of the creature revealed that, unlike all other known animals, H. salminicola has no mitochondrial genome — the small but crucial portion of DNA stored in an animal's mitochondria that includes genes responsible for respiration.

An app knows who you are
These two are must-read articles to understand where we are headed in consumer tech as well as concerns related to personal privacy.
Clearview was unknown to the general public until this January, when The New York Times reported that the secretive start-up had developed a breakthrough facial recognition system that was in use by hundreds of law enforcement agencies. The company quickly faced a backlash on multiple fronts. Facebook, Google and other tech giants sent cease-and-desist letters. You take a picture of a person, upload it and get to see public photos of that person, along with links to where those photos appeared. The system — whose backbone is a database of more than three billion images that Clearview claims to have scraped from Facebook, YouTube, Venmo and millions of other websites — goes far beyond anything ever constructed by the United States government or Silicon Valley giants.

Copying your hero
Early in my career I tried to emulate Buffett and spurned the use of spreadsheets and models. But here’s the thing: Buffett has a supercomputer in his head and I don’t. I need to visualize financial statements by building financial models. I get to feel them by building them; Buffett doesn’t. We all learn differently.
Also, the Buffett of the past is not the Buffett of the present or the future. First of all, the investing environment of 40 years ago was very different from the current one. Thus 40 years ago Buffett was fighting different battles and had different constraints. (He definitely did not have to think about negative interest rates.) The investing environment changed and Buffett evolved. He avoided airlines and technology – until he became the largest shareholder of airlines and Apple. So which Buffett do you want to emulate, the one of the past, present, or future?

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