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Thursday, 12 August 2021

Weekend Reading



1. Focus only for four hours a day

You almost certainly can't consistently do the kind of work that demands serious mental focus for more than about three or four hours a day.

The real lesson – or one of them – is that it pays to use whatever freedom you do have over your schedule not to "maximise your time" or "optimise your day", in some vague way, but specifically to ring-fence three or four hours of undisturbed focus (ideally when your energy levels are highest). Stop assuming that the way to make progress on your most important projects is to work for longer. And drop the perfectionistic notion that emails, meetings, digital distractions and other interruptions ought ideally to be whittled away to practically nothing. Just focus on protecting four hours – and don't worry if the rest of the day is characterised by the usual scattered chaos.


2. The extraordinary story of Michael Dell

Nine years ago, Silicon Valley and Wall Street alike had written off Dell, the person and the company, both tethered to the then-cratering personal computer market, as en route to the same technological irrelevance as Palm or BlackBerry. He enlisted private equity firm Silver Lake and its billionaire co-head Egon Durban to sidestep the public cynicism, taking his company private for $24.9 billion in 2013. 

The results have been remarkable. Automobiles, telecommunications, energy grids, hospitals and logistics networks have all become digital businesses, producing ever-increasing reams of data that need to be managed and stored. Dell now sits at the helm of the world’s largest infrastructure provider for this activity. In turn, Dell Technologies, at $75 billion, is worth more than four times what it was before it went private.

Soon Dell will sit at the helm of two separate public companies: Dell Technologies, his personal computer and IT infrastructure giant, and its spinoff, VMware, a mainstay in cloud-computing infrastructure. Both will hold manageable debt levels and a valuable currency for growth and acquisitions. 

“Everybody’s eyes are on Amazon, Microsoft and Google,” says billionaire Marc Benioff, the cofounder of Salesforce and a friend of Dell’s. “They don’t realize that Dell has quietly amassed the market share in enterprise technology.” 


3. Climate change is here, and unless drastic action is taken, it will only get worse

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the United Nations’ climate science research group, concluded in a major report that it is “unequivocal” that humans have warmed the skies, waters, and lands, and that “widespread and rapid changes” have already occurred in every inhabited region across the globe. Many of these changes are irreversible within our lifetimes.

This is the first report of its kind in eight years, and a lot has changed. Scientists have backed away from many of the best-case scenarios. They’re more confident than ever that human-caused climate change is already worsening deadly weather events, from flooding to heat waves. And they’re investigating culprits of climate change that warm the planet even more than carbon dioxide.

The report warns that the world is likely to overshoot 1.5 degrees Celsius of warming compared to pre-industrial temperatures — one of the goalposts of the Paris climate agreement — within the next 20 or 30 years, even under scenarios where greenhouse gas emissions fall significantly.

Those effects of climate change continue to ripple across the planet, amplifying disasters like the massive wildfires in California, deadly flooding in China and Europe, and record heat in Siberia. Climate change is here, and unless drastic action is taken, it will only get worse.


4. You have to earn your trust

Your truth and the truth are not always the same thing. The truth is a fact. Your truth is just an opinion. Nobody values somebody who is honest about their opinions if their opinions always suck. Knowing when to offer your truth and keep your mouth shut is a rare quality. The line between thoughtful dialogue and disrespectful disagreement is razor-thin.

If you cross the line, you lose somebody’s confidence. There are countless ways to do this, and once you do, it’s hard to go back. My parents taught me that all you have is your word. Lose this, and you’ve lost everything.

Trust is the most valuable currency on the planet. And it’s something you can’t buy. You have to earn it.

It takes time to earn somebody’s trust. You can’t force it. You can’t even be deliberate about it. It just has to show with every action you take. Eventually, your bank will fill, and you’ll have something that most people don’t.


5. Getting better with deliberate practice

While regular practice might include mindless repetitions, deliberate practice requires focused attention and is conducted with the specific goal of improving performance. The greatest challenge of deliberate practice is to remain focused. In the beginning, showing up and putting in your reps is the most important thing. But after a while we begin to carelessly overlook small errors and miss daily opportunities for improvement.

This is because the natural tendency of the human brain is to transform repeated behaviors into automatic habits.

Mindless activity is the enemy of deliberate practice. The danger of practicing the same thing again and again is that progress becomes assumed. Too often, we assume we are getting better simply because we are gaining experience. In reality, we are merely reinforcing our current habits—not improving them.


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Tuesday, 10 August 2021

Hitesh's Blog : How do we position ourselves in the current market?

The small and midcaps index has been under pressure since the past few days especially after the nifty crossed the strong resistance of 16000 mark.  There is a clear paradox at play here. Nifty made multiple attempts to clear the 16k mark and failed multiple times. 

Every time it went down and came up, there were different sectors which attained market fancy and rallied hard. Sectors like  real estate, textiles, tea/coffee,  paper, metals and mining  etc, just to name a few kept popping up off and on. All this while, some sectors which seemed to be in a sectoral longer term uptrend  like chemicals and speciality chemicals,  API/bulk drugs,  etc  continued to remain in a steady uptrend.  

Ever since nifty crossed the much coveted 16k mark, it seems broader markets were jinxed. To begin with there was a loss of momentum in most of the fast running stocks and sectors and after a few trading sessions, there have been sharp cuts in the small and midcaps space in the past couple of days. This has been masked by a healthy looking index chart. But that takes nothing away from the fact that a lot of portfolios skewed towards momentum and small and midcaps have suffered damages. 

Today seemed to be a day of panic selling where there were widespread cuts of 5 to 10% or more across many stocks in broader markets. This may be partially over or might extend a little more but usually after such a drubbing there is a bottom in place to be followed by a strong rally. We need to observe the next few days to see how things play out.


Personally I think even if  there were to be a rally the strong frothy trend seems to have been  broken and we might have a more sedate looking uptrend if and when it materialises. 

So how do we position ourselves in such a market?   

The idea should be to get out of stocks and sectors which have broken their trends and follow strict stop losses.  And get out of stocks with questionable quality if one is holding them. The good thing about most corrections is that post they are over there are always winners to be picked up. These may be stocks which already were in an uptrend but just took a pause or some stocks which enter into fresh uptrends. We will continue to search for stocks with such characteristics. 

We have received some queries about how to go about following stop losses. We usually follow end-of-day stop loss wherein if our given stop loss is violated on a closing basis , we send a mail in the evening or night to exit the stock on the following day. However if someone wants to be aggressive they can exit on the same day when the stop loss is violated in the last hour of trading. Since we have a system we follow,  we tend to follow it  as in the past.  If and when we feel there is a need to change it, we will revert back to you.

The other query is on the allocation part. We do take care to pick companies with good fundamentals ready for a technical breakout or which have already broken out so that even if someone misses out on executing stop loss for whatever reason, the return of capital is not jeopardized to a large extent. Within Hitpicks, we would advise to allocate around 5% of the portfolio to an individual stock at the time of recommendation and watch things for a few days. If the trade begins to play out, one can increase allocation slightly to take it up to 7 to 10% of the total capital allocated to Hitpicks in your portfolio. 

Wishing you all the best of health and wealth, 



ET NOW: Key themes for the long term

Will write a more detailed blog on this shortly.

Thursday, 5 August 2021

Weekend Reading



1. Ray Dalio on Chinese state capitalism

To understand what’s going on you need to understand that China is a state capitalist system which means that the state runs capitalism to serve the interests of most people and that policy makers won’t let the sensitivities of those in the capital markets and rich capitalists stand in the way of doing what they believe is best for the most people of the country. Rather, those in the capital markets and capitalists have to understand their subordinate places in the system or they will suffer the consequences of their mistakes. For example, they need to not mistake their having riches for having power for determining how things will go.

Also, you need to understand that the global geopolitical environment changing leads to some changes. You can see that reflected in the U.S. governments’ policy shifts such as a) changing its policies about Chinese companies’ listings in the United States and b) threats to prohibit American pension funds from investing in China.

Assume such things will happen in the future and invest accordingly. But don’t misinterpret these wiggles as changes in trends, and don’t expect this Chinese state-run capitalism to be exactly like Western capitalism.


2. Are high valuations here to stay?

For about 120 years from the 1870s to the 1980s, the U.S. stock market reliably reverted to its long-term average valuation, and just as important, it spent roughly equal time above and below that average. Investors could therefore expect an expensive market to become cheaper and a cheap market to become more expensive, a useful assumption when estimating future stock returns. Change in valuation is one of three key components of returns, along with dividends and earnings growth.

Since 1990, however, the market has rarely dipped below its long-term average valuation, the notable exception being the period around the 2008 financial crisis. Neither the dot-com bust in the early 2000s nor the Covid-induced sell-off last spring managed to subdue it.

The difference between the two periods is striking. From 1871 to 1989, the market traded below its long-term average valuation 47% of the time, as measured by price-to-earnings ratio using 12-month trailing earnings and counted monthly. Since 1990, that percentage has dropped to 10%.

As the years go by and the market maintains its elevated valuations, it becomes easier to suspect that something has indeed changed for good. And of course, many things have. Financial markets are accessible to more people than ever before, and it’s much easier and cheaper to buy stocks today than it was three decades ago. Investors are allocating more of their savings to stocks, much of it in index funds that track the broad market, and they appear to be getting better at hanging on to them. Retirement plans also steer billions of dollars to the market every year. It’s not hard to imagine that an increased demand for stocks and a decline in the number of panicky investors has lifted the market’s average valuation.  

That doesn’t mean the market won’t crater occasionally, as it did during the financial crisis. But there’s a growing chance that the past 30 years haven’t been an anomaly and that forecasting models need to lift their valuation targets.



3. Rainfall in the desert - geoengineering to the fore

Cloud seeding has traditionally been done by releasing compounds like silver iodide into clouds. The chemicals function as a sort of scaffold that water molecules latch onto, becoming heavy enough to drop to the ground as rain. Despite its lack of naturally-occurring rain, the UAE does have plenty of clouds, which are generated by moisture and evaporation from the Gulf of Oman, the Persian Gulf, and the Arabian Sea.

Amid concern that pumping silver iodide and other chemicals into clouds could cause invisible but harmful pollution on the ground, scientists started to look for new ways to catalyze rainfall. The UAE funded research at the University of Reading in the UK, where meteorologists developed a cloud seeding technology based on electricity. They discovered that when cloud droplets have a positive or negative electrical charge, the smaller droplets will combine and form raindrops.

Custom-built drones with a six-foot wingspan fly at low altitudes, with sensors measuring temperature, charge, and humidity. Charge emitters on the drones deliver electric charges to the molecules in clouds. Videos from the last few weeks show it not only raining in Dubai and surrounding areas, but raining so much that some streets started to flood, a rare if not unheard of occurrence there.



4. Battling the obesity epidemic through the gut

The global obesity epidemic is striking for its prevalence and persistence. Despite mounting attention from the media and governments, obesity rates have risen in every region of the world in recent years. Deeply entrenched attributes of contemporary lifestyles, from the worldwide availability of unhealthy processed food to the sedentary nature of urbanised lives, are often thought responsible. That helps explain why reducing obesity has proved so difficult.

The linkages between the food we consume and the ways in which we make decisions go beyond how much we eat. An evolving body of research explores how bacteria composition and hormonal activity in the gut communicate with the brain and vice versa, possibly helping to determine our overall health and well-being.

Viewed through the gut-brain framework, food choice is less an independent calculation than the outcome of a feedback loop in which what we eat today implants, at a biological level, the seeds of future meals. On one level, this carries the discouraging implication that existing obesity sufferers – barring serious surgery – will have to battle their own biology to better their metabolic state.

In another sense, though, the gut-brain connection is rife with positive possibilities. It points to numerous areas of intervention beyond appeals to willpower. This includes synbiotics to target the gut microbiota composition or supplements that raise serotonin levels, tracking of metabolic base rates and stress levels etc. Further research and experimentation may refine these methods such that they become viable alternatives to invasive weight loss interventions such as surgery for some.



5. The business tycoons who fell foul with the law (read the linked article)

The post-global financial crisis growth in Indian economy and the rush of corporate expansion activity burned many. Companies. Promoters. Chief Executives. Bankers.

For the first time in India’s post-liberalisation economic history, many who once led storied enterprises have gone to jail for alleged improprieties.

From Avantha Group’s Gautam Thapar to the Singh brothers of Ranbaxy, Fortis and Religare fame. From Yes Bank Ltd.’s Rana Kapoor to the Wadhawans of Dewan Housing Finance Corp. and Ravi Parthasarthy of IL&FS. Each was influential. Each connected in the corridors of power. Each built business at scale but fell afoul of rules. Each now incarcerated.


Copyright © 2021 www.intelsense.in, All rights reserved.

Thursday, 29 July 2021

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

1. America's food monopolies and who actually pays the price

A handful of powerful companies control the majority market share of almost 80% of dozens of grocery items bought regularly by ordinary Americans.

The size, power and profits of these mega companies have expanded thanks to political lobbying and weak regulation which enabled a wave of unchecked mergers and acquisitions. This matters because the size and influence of these mega-companies enables them to largely dictate what America’s 2 million farmers grow and how much they are paid, as well as what consumers eat and how much our groceries cost.

It also means those who harvest, pack and sell us our food have the least power: at least half of the 10 lowest-paid jobs are in the food industry. Farms and meat processing plants are among the most dangerous and exploitative workplaces in the country.

Overall, only 15 cents of every dollar we spend in the supermarket goes to farmers. The rest goes to processing and marketing our food.


2. Swim your way to better brain health

A growing body of research suggests that swimming might provide a unique boost to brain health. Regular swimming has been shown to improve memory, cognitive function, immune response and mood. Swimming may also help repair damage from stress and forge new neural connections in the brain.

Now, there is clear evidence that aerobic exercise can contribute to neurogenesis and play a key role in helping to reverse or repair damage to neurons and their connections in both mammals and fish.

In one study in rats, swimming was shown to stimulate brain pathways that suppress inflammation in the hippocampus and inhibit apoptosis, or cell death. The study also showed that swimming can help support neuron survival and reduce the cognitive impacts of aging. 


3. The world seen through the eyes of Olympic Games

Another point that leaps out is the remarkable consistency of the U.S. compared with other leading nations. The U.S. routinely won 15% to 20% of the medals awarded during most of the 20th century. That figure has been edging down over the past few decades, a reflection that the Games have gone from a Western-dominated event to a more globalized competition featuring the rise of many developing nations. In other words, a lot like world politics and the global economy in general.

China began opening to the world around 1980 and took part in its first Summer Olympics in 1984, where it made a strong initial impression. China's performance has continued to surge dramatically, and it now takes home close to 10% of the medals. When Beijing hosted the Games in 2008, China won more golds than any other country (48), though not as many total medals as the U.S. (100 for China, compared with 112 for the U.S.).

Starting from zero three decades ago, China now has the second-strongest Olympic team — and the world's second-biggest economy — trailing only the U.S. on both counts.

The Soviets invested enormous resources in Olympic sports and quickly surpassed the U.S., winning the most medals at every Summer Games from 1956 to 1992, except for 1968, when the Americans edged them.

Five of the world's most populous countries (India, Indonesia, Pakistan, Nigeria and Bangladesh) have more than 2.1 billion people — almost 30% of the world's total — and won just six medals combined in Rio.


4. Can you survive the next heat wave? Depends on the humidity.

In reasonable heat, the human body is very good at maintaining a constant internal temperature of 97 to 99 degrees. When it gets hot outside, our bodies produce sweat; when the sweat evaporates, its transformation from liquid water on your skin to water vapor in the air requires energy. That energy comes from your body’s heat, so as the sweat evaporates, your body cools down.

A dry heat feels comfortable because the evaporation happens so fast that you don’t even notice the sweat on your skin. 

Now suppose you’re in the same amount of heat, but in Palm Beach, where the air is incredibly humid. The air is already holding all the water vapor it can hold. So your sweat stays on your skin, and the heat that the sweat is supposed to remove from your body … stays in your body, and accumulates.

Your body has lost its ability to shed heat, and so your core temperature starts creeping up to approach the temperature of the air around you. Let the process go on long enough, and body temperature rises from comfortable 98 to deadly 108.


5. How would we invest if we knew precisely what would happen in the future?

Suppose that our crystal ball had told us on December 31, 1999 that, for the next 11 1/2 years through July of 2011, the US Consumer Price Index (CPI) would rise at an average annual rate of 2.5%. Would we have expected the price of gold to rise by 465% while the inflation-adjusted S&P 500 fell by almost 32% over the same period?

Market veterans remember the 1973-1974 bear market when the DJIA's earnings rose 50% while the Dow dropped almost 50% in price, or the '87 crash during which stocks plunged 43% even when earnings hadn't missed a beat. In 1999, when the stocks of companies that actually made money declined 2%, profitless tech startups soared 82%.

In 2016, Brazil's senior leadership has been embroiled in a vast corruption scandal, President Dilma Rousseff's powers have been suspended due to impeachment proceedings, Finance Minister Joaquim Levy has been forced to resign, and inflation is in double digits. Brazil suffered its worst GDP contraction since 1990. Who would have predicted that EWZ, the Brazil iShares ETF, would be up nearly 60% year to date?

Even if we had a crystal ball, the investment implications of future events and conditions are unknowable. That is why we must diversify.


Tuesday, 27 July 2021

Discounting DCF - Why DCF fails most of the time in valuing companies

This post was triggered by a valuation of Zomato. It came as a WhatsApp forward and I laughed out loud when I saw it. I have been a skeptic of DCF (discounted cash flow) and a lot of simultaneous thoughts ran through my mind.

The obvious problems of DCF are many. I will list a few of my pet peeves here:

1) Most of the present value is derived from the terminal value - Terminal value assumes that a firm will be in business forever. May not happen in real life. Secondly the growth assumptions of close to GDP growth rate is also fallacious. Who can determine what the GDP growth rate will be in 2040? India's GDP before 1991 was an average of 4% and that of the last 30 years post-liberalisation at about 6%. Excluding the Covid period, it has varied from about 4% to 11%. So, what value should we take for terminal growth. Try changing it from 4% to 11% and see what a difference it makes to the valuation.

2) Arbitrary discount rate and cost of capital - The discount rate applied varies vastly over time and has a large effect on the DFC calculation. People use basic approximations like 10 or 30 year US treasury rates or some such risk-free rate. Again a few percent difference can make a huge difference in the final value, so much so that the entire valuation becomes redundant.

3) False precision bias - The entire process is full of assumptions. And it has to be because it deals with the future and as such cannot deal with any levels of certainty. But a DCF done in an excel gives a double digit precise value. People misunderstand accuracy for precision.

4) World is dynamic and things change - The world is changing all the time. I don't think we need to remind ourselves of that in pandemic times. Like I keep saying no annual report had pandemic as a risk before 2019. So, making revenue, cash flow projections for the next 10 years is not only extremely difficult but, in my mind,foolhardy. People who were valuing Amazon had no clue that AWS would turn out and be as profitable as it has become. Similarly, glance back at DCF valuations done of Nokia in 2005-06 period. You will know what I am saying.

5) Gives a false sense of security - Because you think you have done a valuation, you believe you know what the business is worth. But that does not help you in real life. What do you do if the stock price falls below your calculated value? You buy more? Or sell? What if you buy more and it keeps falling? How long do you buy? What happens if the price goes up 2x-3x-5x from the calculated value? Do you sell because it's overvalued? Do you hold on for more gains? So, you see valuation is just one small part of the whole.

6) It ignores market sentiments - Valuation depends on the sum of all future cash flows and also the "prevalent market sentiment". The second part is actually equally important. The same company will be valued differently in a bear and bull market even if their underlying business performance is not impacted. Case in point is say Infosys in 2000 and 2001. Same company, doing the same thing, but market value is a fraction of the past.

Every asset value can be broken up into two parts—i) intrinsic value, which is derived from its tentative future cash flows and ii) transaction value, which is derived from what value someone else will pay for it in a transaction. For example, a painting or a flower vase has no intrinsic value because there is no cashflow, but it has a transaction value based on what another person is willing to pay for it. This transaction value keeps changing from time to time based on many other factors like liquidity, political and social situation etc.

Now having said so many negative things about DCF, it leaves us with two practical questions. Firstly, does it mean that we should completely ignore that process and secondly, if not DCF, then what?

Let's try to answer them one by one.

The process of doing a valuation, especially one as rigorous as DCF, is very useful. It helps you walk through many aspects of the business and make your assumptions explicitly. Like what could be the revenue growth over time, what would be its components, at what margins etc. This helps in the understanding of the business in a much better manner.

And for the next question, I will let the great masters speak.

Munger: “Warren often talks about these discounted cash flows, but I’ve never seen him do one. If it isn’t perfectly obvious that it’s going to work out well if you do the calculation, then he tends to go on to the next idea.”

Buffett: “It’s true. If it doesn’t just scream out at you, it’s too close."

To summarize, you need to focus on understanding the business and its various levers well enough to figure out it is screaming at you to buy or sell. If you need excel for it, you don't know the business well enough.

This article first appeared in: https://www.cnbctv18.com/market/stocks/zomato-valuation-why-one-should-discount-dcf-method-of-valuing-stocks-10089761.htm

Friday, 23 July 2021

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

1. The bold new next step on human advancement
Proteins are the minions of life. They form our bodies, fuel our metabolism, and are the target of most of today’s medicine. They start out as a simple ribbon, translated from DNA, and subsequently fold into intricate three-dimensional architectures. Similar to Transformers, many protein units further assemble into massive, moving complexes that change their structure depending on their functional needs at the moment.

Misfolded proteins can be devastating, causing health problems from sickle cell anemia to cancer and Alzheimer’s disease. One of biology’s grandest challenges for the past 50 years has been deciphering how a simple one-dimensional ribbon-like structure turns into 3D shapes, equipped with canyons, ridges, valleys, and caves. It’s as if an alien is reading the coordinates of hundreds of locations on a map of the Grand Canyon on a notebook, and reconstructing it into a 3D hologram of the actual thing—without ever laying eyes on it or knowing what it should look like.

Deciphering protein folding is bound to illuminate an entire new landscape of biology we haven’t been able to study or manipulate. The fast and furious development of Covid-19 vaccines relied on scientists parsing multiple protein targets on the virus, including the spike proteins that vaccines target. Many proteins that lead to cancer have so far been out of the reach of drugs because their structure is hard to pin down.

With these new AI tools, scientists could solve haunting medical mysteries while preparing to tackle those yet unknown. It sets the stage for better understanding our biology, informing new medicines, and even inspiring synthetic biology down the line.

2. Rajiv Bajaj talks about why we are failing to compete with the Chinese businesses
Indian businessmen are characterized by a myopic vison—it’s both short term as well as geographically limited. Of course, the government also does not help. So, who is responsible for the Chinese dominance—the government, the people or the Corporates?

I think it's all the three.

When even ITI trained turners and fitters refuse to work in a shop floor, when a Stock Broker is paid more than an Engineer, when typing code is mistaken for technology, when governments refuse to amend antique labor and land laws when corporates think local and not global and finally when you, yes you, will not send your son to work on the shop floor, each one of this factor is as responsible for the Chinese dominance as much as their “Ethical Corruption” We have been looted because we left our doors and windows open.

No, this article is not supporting the Chinese. How dare they work so hard? And how dare they obey a communist government? We should stop buying all their goods and we will make everything in our country. But we will work nine to five with a three- day weekend. 

3. The highest form of wealth is controlling your time
There’s a difference between working hard because you want to and working hard because someone else told you you had to, and how to do it, and when to do it. Even if you’re doing the same work, the independence of doing it on your own terms changes everything in the same way that sleeping in a tent is fun when you’re camping but miserable when you’re homeless.

Wealth can lead to time independence, but it’s never assured. It can be the opposite, as whatever created the wealth – whether a company or an inheritance – creates a claim on your time in equal proportion to its financial reward. A great number of CEOs fall into this category: They have an abundance of wealth and not a moment of free time or scheduling control even when it’s desired, which is its own form of poverty.

Charlie Munger summed it up: “I did not intend to get rich. I just wanted to get independent.” It’s a wonderful goal, and harder to measure than net worth.

4. The Amazonification of space
The Amazonification of space has begun in earnest. What was once largely the domain of big government is now increasingly the realm of Big Tech. The people who sold you the internet will now sell you the moon and the stars. 

Bezos, the founder of Amazon and still its largest shareholder, made clear at the news conference after Tuesday’s flight that Blue Origin was open for business. Even though tickets were not generally available, sales for flights were already approaching $100 million. Bezos didn’t say what the price for each was but added, “The demand is very very high.” 

All of this space activity is the start of something new but also a replay of the 1990s. At the beginning of that decade, the internet was government property devoted to research and communication for a few. By the end, thanks to Bezos more than anyone, it was a place for everyone to buy things. Over the next 20 years, tech grew up and became Big Tech, provoking bipartisan fears that Amazon, Facebook, Google and Apple are now too powerful. 
Outer space might now be embarked on a similar journey from frontier to big business. 

5. The progress on mobile tech
Your cell phone is a result of over a hundred years of commercial and government investment in research and development in all of its components and related technologies. A significant portion of the cutting-edge development has been funded by the military. 

The story of military investment in technology becoming game-changing commercial products and services has been repeated again and again. Famously, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency developed the technologies behind the internet and speech recognition. But DARPA also made enabling investments in advanced communications algorithms, processor technology, electronics miniaturization, and many other aspects of your phone.

The first mobile phone service, for 80-pound telephones installed in cars, was demonstrated on June 17, 1946, 75 years ago. The service was only available in major cities and highway corridors and was aimed at companies rather than individuals. The equipment filled much of a car’s trunk, and subscribers made calls by picking up the handset and speaking to a switchboard operator. By 1948, the service had 5,000 customers.