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Month: April 2021

Business 0

This Is How Vlad Tenev Built Robinhood

“You can break down Robinhood into a series of small steps, the first one being start Robinhood, and every subsequent one being some variant of don’t stop and keep going, right, and you end up where we are today. “ In his mid-20’s, Vladimir Tenev lived in New York City. His apartment was tiny and spare. All his time went […]

Business 0

Palantir Is Growing at a Snail’s Pace

Despite its lofty valuation, Palantir Technologies Inc. is barely growing: In the fourth quarter, he points out, Palantir signed 21 deals worth more than $5 million, and 12 of more than $10 million. But he adds that it isn’t clear how many of those are actually new customers, as opposed to new projects with existing customers. He notes that given […]

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Jocko on Leadership: “Ownership Is the Most Valuable Compensation”

What motivates subordinates? A fat paycheck, stock options, maybe a free trip to Hawaii? Perhaps. But on Monday’s Debrief podcast, Navy SEAL Commander and author Jocko Willink named another, more powerful inducement: “Ownership is the most powerful compensation you can give a human being.” People want control over their lives, including at work. So, rather than have subordinates execute your […]

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In GameStop, An Unlikely Community

I spent some time browsing the GME sub* on Reddit yesterday, curious what some of the stock’s most fervent supporters are saying. What I found surprised me. The most striking discussions were intensely personal. One poster described saving up his GameStop winnings for sex reassignment surgery, a lifelong dream (usernames redacted): Other posters, who call themselves “apes” in a reference […]

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NBA Top Shot: An Overnight Succcess 8 Years in the Making

NBA Top Shot’s popularity is exploding. Users pay to own an iconic basketball image or video clip, such as Lebron James dunking on someone (plenty of those choose from!). Their ownership is recorded on the blockchain in what’s called a Non-Fungible Token (NFT). NBA Top Shot is a creation of Dapper Labs, a Canadian blockchain company. It started selling NFTs […]

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Restaurants’ Newest Struggle: Finding Workers

Reopened restaurants are finding it increasingly difficult to find workers: Capacity restrictions and distancing requirements have drastically cut wages for workers like servers, who rely on tips to make up for an hourly wage at or near the federal tipped minimum of $2.13 in many parts of the country, prompting them to find better-paying work. Others shifted to better-paying jobs […]

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Bullish Investors Pile Into Palantir Options

Investors are piling into call options on Palantir Technologies, Inc. this week, expecting the stock to head upward: “Palantir saw above-average call activity [Monday], about 90,000 contracts more than it trades on average, and the most action was seen in the 24-, 25- and 26-strike calls that expire this coming Friday. The 24-strike calls, for example, traded about 45,000 contracts. […]

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Hedge Fund Loses Half Its Value on GameStop Trades

Melvin Capital, the hedge fund that dug itself into a hole during the GameStop saga, extended its first-quarter losses to 49%. The firm, founded by portfolio manager Gabe Plotkin, saw a 53% decline in January, reversed some of that loss by gaining 22% in February, but slid another 7% in March, Insider’s Bradley Saacks reported on Friday. More here. The […]

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GameStop To Dump CEO

GameStop plans to fire its CEO, Reuters reports: GameStop Corp is looking for a new chief executive to replace George Sherman as it pivots from a brick-and-mortar video game retailer to an e-commerce firm, three people familiar with the matter said on Monday. It would be the biggest shakeup at GameStop since Ryan Cohen, the co-founder and former chief executive […]

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Reddit Up, Michael Jordan Down as GameStop Soars

Social-media trading star Keith Gill, known by his social-media nickname Roaring Kitty posted what is believed to be a screenshot of his trading portfolio to Reddit Wednesday afternoon that may show a massive position in videogame retailer GameStop Inc. made up of almost $19 million in equity and $8.9 million in options. If Gill’s screenshots can be taken at face […]

Politics 0

We Need Science Funding More Than Road Repairs

As the Biden administration pushes for a $2 trillion infrastructure bill, I dug into some numbers on federal research funding today. Most basic scientific research is funded by the federal government, including the critical advances in mRNA technologies that laid the groundwork for COVID vaccines. But this funding has fallen by more than 1/3 since the 1970’s, measured as a […]


This Tiny Country Beat COVID

On the southern tip of Spain, the tiny UK territory of Gibraltar has vaccinated almost its entire population. COVID deaths have dropped to zero: Life is beginning to get back to normal. Masks are no longer required outside, curfews are gone, and bars and restaurants are full. Even sporting events have resumed: Events have also returned to the Rock as […]

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Beware the SPAC Cliff

Special Purpose Acquisition Companies, or SPACs, have become all the rage in the last year. These “blank check” companies raise money from investors and then look for a company to acquire. They’re multiplying like rabbits: More than 300 such blind pools have come public so far this year according to SPACInsider, raising an aggregate $99 billion. That blows past the […]