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Thursday, 6 August 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.

I especially try to not post Corona related articles as that is all one gets to read in all traditional media.


If you like the collection this consider forwarding it to someone who you think will appreciate.

The incredible allure of TikTok

It turns out that in some categories, a machine learning algorithm significantly responsive and accurate can pierce the veil of cultural ignorance. Today, sometimes culture can be abstracted.

Prior to TikTok, I would’ve said YouTube had the strongest exploit algorithm in video, but in comparison to TikTok, YouTube’s algorithm feels primitive. The top creators on YouTube have long ago figured out how to game YouTube’s algorithm’s heavy dependence on click-through rates and watch time, one reason so many YouTube videos are lengthening over time. It’s rumored that Bytedance examines more features of videos than other companies. If you like a video featuring video game captures, that is noted. If you like videos featuring puppies, that is noted.

Merely by watching some videos, and without having to follow or friend anyone, you can quickly train TikTok on what you like. In the two sided entertainment network that is TikTok, the algorithm acts as a rapid, efficient market maker, connecting videos with the audiences they’re destined to delight. The algorithm allows this to happen without an explicit follower graph.



A look at how New York Times is approaching news business

New York Times has six million subscribers, almost $700 million in cash in the bank, and a singular insight that underpins the Times’ path forward: the average number of news subscriptions a news subscriber will have is one.

Local publishers may not believe that they are competing with the Times, but the Times believes it is competing with them. Its rich-get-richer dynamic increasingly provides all the news that’s fit to subscribe to, while publishers both national and local fall further behind.



Success is a catalyst for failure

Why don’t successful people and organizations automatically become very successful? One important explanation is due to what I call “the clarity paradox,” which can be summed up in four predictable phases:

Phase 1: When we really have clarity of purpose, it leads to success.

Phase 2: When we have success, it leads to more options and opportunities.

Phase 3: When we have increased options and opportunities, it leads to diffused efforts.

Phase 4: Diffused efforts undermine the very clarity that led to our success in the first place.



The tech-terrorist

Technology is, in other words, enabling criminals to target anyone anywhere and, due to democratization, increasingly at scale. Emerging bio-, nano-, and cyber-technologies are becoming more and more accessible. The terrorist or psychopath of the future, however, will have not just the Internet or drones—called “slaughterbots” by the Future of Life Institute—but also synthetic biology, nanotechnology, and advanced AI systems at their disposal.



Ever wondered the difference between dumplings, dimsum, momo and wontons?

Dumplings are just wheat-based snacks with some fillings, or at times there is no filling at all! So, even an Italian Gnocchi or Ravioli, or even our very own Indian Samosa will qualify as a dumpling!

The term “Dimsum” originates from Chinese lexicon and can also be made with any kind of flour- be it rice, or wheat, or even potato starch. A dimsum’s outer coverings are semi, or at times, even fully transparent and the fillings are finely diced and chopped.

Momos are Tibetan or Nepalese counterparts of the Dimsum. They are traditionally supposed to be only steamed, made with wheat flour, and usually always stuffed with some filling. Moreover, momos, unlike dimsum, are mostly eaten alone without any kind of beverage accompanying it.

Wontons are a kind of dumpling that are traditionally found in the Northern regions of China. Unlike their brothers, the dimsum, and the momo- wontons are more square-ish in shape and slightly more fine in their texture and are also fried to golden-brown perfection. The fillings inside are also flavoured intensely with garlic and ginger- thereby giving the humble Wonton a unique place in the dumpling hall of fame!

The gyoza is a much more recent addition to the dumpling family, and it comes all the way from Japan! The gyoza has a much thinner outer layer, and the fillings are also more finely chopped. The Japanese gyoza is a close cousin of the Chinese dimsum- but there are subtle differences in the flavor, texture, and cooking techniques of both.


Disclaimer: Abhishek Basumallick is the Head of the equity advisory www.intelsense.in for long term wealth creation and a pure quant focused newsletter at www.quantamental.in. The blog posts should not be construed as investment advice. Please do your own due diligence before investing.

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