All posts by tremendousblog

New Report: AMC Fails to Deliver Hit 4.3 Million

Fails to deliver in shares of AMC Entertainment Holdings reached extraordinary levels in November. 4.3 million shares have failed to clear by November 14th, the latest data available.


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This new report, out today from the SEC, shows the highest levels of fails to deliver in months. This is particularly striking given the much lower fails to deliver in the largest stocks.

Let’s see how many fails to deliver some of the largest stocks in the market had on November 14th:

Amazon: 253

Apple: 0

Google: 0

Microsoft: 11,553

These companies are hundreds of times larger than AMC. But somehow, a little theater chain dwarfs them all in failed stock trades.

Fails to deliver can happen for benign reasons. But a long and persistent pattern of fails to deliver, as in AMC stock, can point to something more nefarious.

Huge numbers of failed trades can indicate naked short selling. This is the illegal practice of selling short shares you never borrowed.

It’s a potent way to crush a stock’s price. After all, if you don’t have to borrow a stock, you can sell short all you want!

Increasing failed trades may be related to higher borrowing costs for AMC shares. With fees going from 20% to up to 100% a year, borrowing shares is more expensive than ever.

It’s a lot cheaper to naked short sell. Unfortunately, it’s also against the law.

I urge the SEC to investigate the long term pattern of chaos in AMC shares. Only a full investigation can restore confidence in markets.

What do you think of this huge fails to deliver number? Leave a comment at the bottom and let me know!

Today is the blog’s second birthday! Thank you guys for a great two years! 🙏

There’s a lot more to come!

More on markets:

Tiger Global Losing $185 Million a Day

Hedge Funds Lose Billions as FTX Implodes

Is SBF Headed to Prison?

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Seeing Through SBF: How One VC Found the Truth

The best venture firms in the world stand to lose billions in the FTX collapse. But one man saw through Sam Bankman-Fried.


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His name is Alexander Pack. Pack planned to invest millions in FTX, until the red flags started to mount.

Pack, managing partner of Dragonfly Capital at the time and currently of Hack.vc, was bewitched by SBF at first. From a new report in Fortune:

“He seemed like one of the smartest people I’ve ever met…He looks different from everybody else; he thinks different from them. So yeah, I was very taken with him. We all were. That’s why we spent so much time and were so interested in it.”

For all SBF’s charisma, warning signs began to appear. The profits of his trading firm, Alameda Research, were dropping bit by bit.

It turned out SBF wasn’t focused on the business he was pitching Pack. Instead, he was working on a new crypto exchange called FTX.

[Pack] was interested in SBF’s new exchange, but Bankman-Fried balked and supposedly told Pack he couldn’t invest in the separate business. Bankman-Fried, he says, haggled, telling Pack he would have to pay more if he wanted exposure. “And that was a big red flag, obviously for our investment,” Pack said.

Pack was right to take this as a huge red flag. A founder who’s distracted from day one isn’t a good bet.

SBF also became increasingly secretive:

“He wouldn’t tell us who [the investors] were because he didn’t want us to talk to them,” Pack said.

Bankman-Fried thought if the seed investors knew he was considering taking venture funding, the seed investors might redeem their money, Pack said.

Pack asked him how he would deal with the situation. “And Sam said, ‘Oh, I probably just won’t tell them at all. You know, we’ll keep it secret. We’ll figure out some way to keep it secret.’”

Pack realized that the FTX founder could easily keep valuable information from him as well. “That was definitely one of the flags,” he said.

Pack is 100% right that if SBF will deceive his existing investors, he’ll deceive Pack too.

What’s more, existing investors should be your biggest cheerleaders! You should be begging prospective investors to talk to them and find out how great you are.

And why would those early investors want to sell if the company was doing well?

In all, we have a picture of a distracted, unscrupulous founder. With hundreds of deals available at any given time, why choose this one?

Pack was considering investing just a couple of million dollars. But he appears to have done more diligence than the giant firms that put in hundreds of millions!

Those big firms have huge teams to diligence a company backward and forward. But they were outmaneuvered by little old Pack.

The lessons for founders and investors are clear.

Founders must be focused and keep their financials tight. And investors should be wary of distracted, secretive, and unscrupulous entrepreneurs.

What do you think of the FTX collapse? Leave a comment below and let me know!

More on tech:

Is SBF Headed to Prison?

Tiger Global Losing $185 Million a Day

Where Did Sequoia Go Wrong on FTX?

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Photo: FTX CEO Sam Bankman-Fried

Tiger Global Losing $185 Million a Day

One of the world’s largest hedge funds is fighting for survival. Tiger Global Management has lost $42 billion this year — $185 million for every trading day.


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The fund has been stung by bad bets in public tech stocks and startups. From a report in the trade journal PYMNTS:

Tech investor Tiger Global Management has reportedly slashed the value of its private funds by nearly 25% this year, leading to one of the industry’s largest-ever declines in assets at $42 billion.

Meanwhile, some of the companies held by Tiger Global’s venture unit that had been private but have since gone public lost value, sources told Bloomberg.

The unit oversaw around $43 billion as of the end of September, falling from $65 billion at year-end. Assets in the firm’s public investment operation shrank from $35 billion to $15 billion the sources said. Tiger Global was not immediately available for comment.

The real losses may be even bigger. The NASDAQ is down 30% this year, significantly worse than the markdown Tiger has taken on its startup portfolio.

To add insult to injury, Tiger was burned in the bankruptcy of FTX. The fund’s $38 million investment is now worth zero.

For Tiger’s public stock portfolio, the picture is especially bleak. The portfolio is down 57% this year.

This means Tiger’s public stocks would have to more than double just to get back to even. With a weak world economy, this seems unlikely.

I think Tiger’s shutdown is imminent.

The firm cannot charge performance fees until it makes back its losses. That could be years from now, if ever.

That juicy 20% performance fee is the lifeblood of hedge funds. Without it, there are no big year end bonuses.

Let’s face it: people don’t join hedge funds to save the world. They sign up to make money, and lots of it.

With Tiger’s future in doubt, employees are likely to jump ship.

But if the managers create a new fund, they start with a clean slate. They can start charging performance fees again on day one.

Nice for them. Not so nice for their investors.

What do you think the future holds for Tiger? Leave a comment at the bottom and let me know!

More on markets:

Is SBF Headed to Prison?

How SBF’s Hedge Fund Imploded

Hedge Funds Lose Billions as FTX Implodes

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Fundrise

This platform lets me diversify my real estate investments so I’m not too exposed to any one market. I’ve invested since 2018 with great returns.

More on Fundrise in this post.

If you decide to invest in Fundrise, you can use this link to get $100 in free bonus shares!

Misfits Market

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Photo: Tiger Global CEO Chase Coleman

Where Did Sequoia Go Wrong on FTX?

Sequoia Capital is the greatest venture capital firm of all time. So how did it lose $214 million on FTX?


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Sequoia made two large investments in the crypto exchange, which went bankrupt earlier this month. Sequoia has since marked down those investments to zero.

The firm’s top leaders apologized to investors on a call yesterday. From Bloomberg:

Top partners at the powerful venture capital firm Sequoia Capital apologized to their investors in a conference call Tuesday for backing FTX, a pair of bankrupt cryptocurrency exchanges that had allegedly been mismanaged by Sam Bankman-Fried, according to people familiar with the meeting.

Despite the mea culpa, Sequoia defended its process:

Although partners on the call were conciliatory, they also defended the due diligence they conducted on the deal. They said staff reviewed financial statements and asked on multiple occasions about the relationship between FTX and Alameda Research, a trading firm that Bankman-Fried also founded and which reportedly borrowed and lost FTX customers’ money.

Sequoia is wrong to defend this investment.

FTX had no board. This despite being valued at over $30 billion and entrusted with hundreds of millions of investor’s money.

Seed stage companies I invest in routinely form a board when the round closes! This is in line with the best practice recommended by attorneys.

Benchmark General Partner Bill Gurley said it best:

Benchmark avoided the crypto FOMO. The partners stuck to their knitting and kept backing real startups.

Sequoia was not so lucky.

Indeed, its diligence in other crypto deals appears questionable. From The Wall Street Journal:

When FTX declared bankruptcy earlier this month, Sequoia also edited another post for a crypto investment called LayerZero. An earlier version said the Sequoia partnership approved the investment just 48 hours after an investment memo was completed. The newer version removed references to the fast decision-making.

In yesterday’s call, Sequoia said it was considering making startups use Big Four accounting firms in the future. Especially for a huge company like FTX, that’s a no-brainer.

Like most angels and VC’s, I idolize Sequoia. They’re the best of the best.

I hope to see them get back to their roots. And if other VC’s want to chase crypto dreams, let them.

In the words of Sequoia founder Don Valentine:

“What is important is to have the ability and willingness to be different.”

Don Valentine


What do you think of Sequoia’s FTX losses? Leave a comment at the bottom and let me know!

This is the last blog for this week. See you on Monday!

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

More on tech:

Hedge Funds Lose Billions as FTX Implodes

Talking FTX, Twitter and Startups at Starta VC

Getting to $10 Million ARR Without a Series A

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Fundrise

This platform lets me diversify my real estate investments so I’m not too exposed to any one market. I’ve invested since 2018 with great returns.

More on Fundrise in this post.

If you decide to invest in Fundrise, you can use this link to get $100 in free bonus shares!

Misfits Market

I’ve used Misfits for years, and it never disappoints! Every fruit and vegetable is organic, super fresh, and packed with flavor!

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Photo: FTX CEO Sam Bankman-Fried

Hedge Funds Lose Billions as FTX Implodes

Hedge funds trusted crypto exchange FTX with billions of dollars. Now, they stand to lose it all.


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Some funds have lost most of their assets and may cease to exist. From a report out overnight in the Financial Times:

Hedge funds have billions of dollars stuck on failed cryptocurrency exchange FTX and could face years of waiting to recover anything at all from a marketplace they once believed to be one of the industry’s most reliable bets.

“I lost my investors’ money after they put faith in me to manage risk and I am truly sorry for that,” tweeted Travis Kling, founder of Ikigai Asset Management, which has a “large majority” of its hedge fund’s assets stuck on FTX. “I have publicly endorsed FTX many times,” he added. “I was wrong.”

Other funds, such as Galois Capital, had half or more of their assets on FTX. It could take years to recover those assets, if they’re recoverable at all.

Crypto exchanges typically hold customers’ money longer than stock brokers. This leaves customers more exposed to problems at the exchange.

To add insult to injury, hackers may be looting what little money FTX has left. A series of abnormal transactions have vacuumed hundreds of millions out of the bankrupt exchange.

Rather than place their trust in FTX, hedge funds should’ve used a service like Coinbase Custody.

Coinbase Custody puts customer assets in segregated cold storage. Its parent company is US-based.

As a public company, Coinbase has to make disclosures FTX would never dream of. And it even has SOC 2 security certification.

An exchange like Coinbase is a real, grown-up company. FTX was an amphetamine-fueled commune in a questionable jurisdiction.

But hey, why not trust them with billions in your investors’ money?

I expect to see a lot of the funds that did business with FTX shut down. It’s hard to trade when all your money’s gone.

Investors big and small should be careful about who they do business with. Stick to companies in reputable jurisdictions with the right controls in place.

It turns out the brave new world of crypto is a lot like the old world: full of scammers. Buyer beware.

After the implosion of FTX, who do you think is next? Leave a comment at the bottom and let me know!

More on tech:

How SBF’s Hedge Fund Imploded

Is SBF Headed to Prison?

FTX Blows A Massive Hole in Tiger’s Portfolio

Note: I have no affiliation with Coinbase.

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Fundrise

This platform lets me diversify my real estate investments so I’m not too exposed to any one market. I’ve invested since 2018 with great returns.

More on Fundrise in this post.

If you decide to invest in Fundrise, you can use this link to get $100 in free bonus shares!

Misfits Market

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Photo: FTX CEO Sam Bankman-Fried

Korean Noodle Heaven at Food Gallery 32

I stepped off the ice cold street into a place I’d never been. This was going to be an amazing meal.


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Food Gallery 32 sits in the heart of Manhattan’s Koreatown. As you wind through the stalls serving everything from taiyaki to bulgogi, you’d swear you were in a market in Asia.

My friend and I were pulled toward a noodle stand in the back as if by gravity. The plastic model of a spicy seafood noodle stew looked so good I almost took a bite.

We both ordered it, and I took a black hockey puck that promised to light up when our noodles were ready. I looked at it expectantly, willing it to erupt in vibration and flashing lights.

Food Gallery seems small, but seating is actually plentiful if you head upstairs. We found a cozy spot on the second floor and settled in, tense with anticipation.

Buzz…buzz! The noodles were ready!

I slowly navigated the stairs with our trays, careful not to spill our noodles. Friendships have ended over less.

As I began to slurp down the steaming noodles, a grin spread across my face. The piping hot, spicy broth warmed me from the inside.

I picked shrimp, mussels, and octopus from the bowl as if it were a treasure hunt. The shellfish was fresh, supple, delicious.

No matter how much I ate, there always seemed to be more! And all for just $13 plus tax.

Take that, inflation!

Stuffed, we sat for hours in Food Gallery’s toasty cocoon, chatting and laughing. You can’t help but be merry in a place like this.

Food Gallery has something for everyone, from pork buns to bubble tea, even karaoke! Stop in for a taste of what’s best about New York.

What’s your favorite spot for Korean food? Leave a comment at the bottom and let me know!

More on food:

The Best Mexican Food Is In…New Jersey?

New Jersey’s Jelly Donut Heaven

Move Over, Cake Boss: There’s a New Sheriff in Town

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Fundrise

This platform lets me diversify my real estate investments so I’m not too exposed to any one market. I’ve invested since 2018 with great returns.

More on Fundrise in this post.

If you decide to invest in Fundrise, you can use this link to get $100 in free bonus shares!

Misfits Market

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I wrote a detailed review of Misfits here.

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How SBF’s Hedge Fund Imploded

Let’s say I create $1 million worth of Frankcoin. Will you loan me $1 million with my Frankcoin as collateral? 


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Not if you’re in your right mind, you won’t. But that’s exactly what lenders did for Sam Bankman-Fried’s crypto hedge fund, Alameda Research. 

From a report out this morning in The New York Times:

 …Alameda, which held a large stake in the token, began using its FTT holdings as collateral for more loans to facilitate its trading activities. 

Like Frankcoin, FTT had no real value. It was created out of thin air by SBF.

This didn’t stop Alameda from making bold claims in a presentation to lenders:

…it could offer lenders “high returns with no risk” and “no downside.”

At this point, lenders should’ve known this was BS. There are no returns without risk. 

Anyone guaranteeing you a return is a fraud. Con artists, Bernie Madoff among them, love to promise you a sure thing. 

Perhaps these lenders were blinded by the big returns Alameda promised. 

For years, this house of cards stood. But as crypto came under pressure this year, Alameda’s fraud became harder to conceal:

With crypto prices falling, more lenders wanted their money back. The falling prices also reduced the value of FTT, which Alameda had used as collateral for some loans. As the firm struggled to pay lenders back, FTX resorted to using funds that customers had deposited with the exchange for ease of trading to pay Alameda’s lenders back.

What can we learn from this, as investors? 

Never believe anyone who says they can guarantee you a return. There are no guarantees. 

Don’t call something someone invented an asset. It’s funny money. 

And never let the promise of riches blind you to reality. 

What do you think of FTX and Alameda’s collapse? Leave a comment at the bottom and let me know! 

Have a great weekend everyone! 

More on tech:

Talking FTX, Twitter and Startups at Starta VC

Is SBF Headed to Prison?

FTX Blows A Massive Hole in Tiger’s Portfolio

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Fundrise

This platform lets me diversify my real estate investments so I’m not too exposed to any one market. I’ve invested since 2018 with great returns.

More on Fundrise in this post.

If you decide to invest in Fundrise, you can use this link to get $100 in free bonus shares!

Misfits Market

I’ve used Misfits for years, and it never disappoints! Every fruit and vegetable is organic, super fresh, and packed with flavor!

I wrote a detailed review of Misfits here.

Use this link to sign up and you’ll save $15 on your first order. 

Photo: FTX CEO Sam Bankman-Fried

Getting to $10 Million ARR Without a Series A

Christina Cacioppo built Vanta into a $10 million a year business in just 4 years. Even more impressive, she did it without raising a Series A. But how?


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In an excellent talk at LAUNCH’s Founder University, Christina shares the secrets of capital efficient growth.

Vanta is a SaaS company that helps startups with security audits. These audits, like SOC2 and HIPAA, are a must to land big customers.

Vanta had an unbeatable value proposition. Instead of taking months or even a year for SOC2 certification, Vanta could do it in weeks.

Word spread quickly among startup founders. This was fortunate — Christina didn’t have any money for marketing anyway!

Soon, customers were almost ripping the product out of Christina’s hands.

Another advantage of having such an in-demand product was that Vanta could charge annually, upfront. This meant predictable revenue and let Vanta avoid a sudden cash crunch that could force it to raise capital.

Vanta stayed frugal. Coffee came from Costco, not an in-house barista.

What little money Christina had, she spent on great employees.

She spent most of her time on recruiting. Christina knew that the right people would make or break Vanta.

By early 2021, Christina finally started raising that Series A. By then, she was clear on what the money could do and what it couldn’t.

Money alone couldn’t build a product customers wanted. Nor could it find Vanta’s ideal customer.

That’s why Christina and her team did that before they raised!

When the Series A came, it was a doozy. Vanta pulled in $50 million at a $500 million valuation, led by Sequoia.

Earlier this year, Vanta became a unicorn, raising at a $1.6 billion valuation.

Vanta’s strategy makes a ton of sense. Every day, I see founders beating their heads against the wall trying to raise money.

But they fail because they have few , if any, customers. Some don’t even have a product.

These founders are putting the cart before the horse. Build something awesome and cold e-mail some prospects.

Once you have a few paying customers, fundraising will get 10 times easier.

What do you think of Christina’s experience with Vanta? Leave a comment at the bottom and let me know!

More on tech:

Why I Love B2B Startups

Talking FTX, Twitter and Startups at Starta VC

Is SBF Headed to Prison?

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Save Money on Stuff I Use:

Fundrise

This platform lets me diversify my real estate investments so I’m not too exposed to any one market. I’ve invested since 2018 with great returns.

More on Fundrise in this post.

If you decide to invest in Fundrise, you can use this link to get $100 in free bonus shares!

Misfits Market

I’ve used Misfits for years, and it never disappoints! Every fruit and vegetable is organic, super fresh, and packed with flavor!

I wrote a detailed review of Misfits here.

Use this link to sign up and you’ll save $15 on your first order. 

Photo: Vanta Founder & CEO Christina Cacioppo

Why I Love B2B Startups

Last year, most of my investments were consumer startups. But in 2022, I’ve done a 180.


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Of the 11 investments I’ve made so far this year, all but 2 are selling software to businesses. So why the about face?

Over the last year, I’ve noticed that many of my best performing investments sell Business to Business Software as a Service (B2B SaaS or just SaaS). Meanwhile, some of my consumer investments have struggled.

Here are some of the unique advantages of SaaS:

1) Less churn.

Consumers are fickle. We try a service for a while, say “meh,” and cancel.

But businesses don’t sign up for new software without thinking it through. And once they start using it, they’re much less likely to cancel.

Changing software tools disrupts their business. So if you’re product is solid, you’ll probably have a customer long term.

A good Enterprise SaaS company might have churn of 1-2% a month. But even a strong consumer company is likely to see 3-5% churn.

If your customers churn at 5% a month, you have to rebuild your company from scratch every 2 years. A SaaS company doesn’t have to do that.

This is a huge advantage.

2) Land and expand. SaaS companies have a unique ability to grow…even without signing new customers!

How the heck do they do that? By doing more business with the customers they have!

Let’s take Density as an example. Density is an awesome startup that sells sensors to measure how people use physical spaces.

Let’s say LinkedIn buys Density to track how its headquarters is used. It’s so helpful that they expand it to their New York office, paying Density even more!

That’s land and expand.

The best SaaS companies can grow at 50% a year without signing a single new customer. And that’s after accounting for their churn.

This rarely happens in consumer. I’m only going to buy one Paramount Plus subscription, no matter how much I love Beavis and Butthead!

3) You can afford a sales team.

I pay $5/month for Paramount Plus. My value as a customer is way too low for Paramount to have a sales team contact me.

They just have to hope I show up.

But SaaS subscriptions cost a lot more. This means they can afford a sales team to go find customers.

That makes bringing in new business a lot easier!

This is especially important now that online ads, the most likely alternative, aren’t working well. Apple’s removal of ad tracking made targeting difficult, drastically reducing their effectiveness.

So does this mean I’m only doing SaaS from here on out? Absolutely not.

But I’m focusing on consumer companies with a clear value proposition. An example would be a marketplace like Gauge, which makes it way easier to sell your car for a great price.

I’m avoiding social media startups. The sector is more hit driven and the value prop for customers is a lot less clear.

Do you prefer SaaS or consumer? And why?

Leave a comment at the bottom and let me know!

More on tech:

Talking FTX, Twitter and Startups at Starta VC

Is SBF Headed to Prison?

Bridge Rounds: The Path to Riches?

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Fundrise

This platform lets me diversify my real estate investments so I’m not too exposed to any one market. I’ve invested since 2018 with great returns.

More on Fundrise in this post.

If you decide to invest in Fundrise, you can use this link to get $100 in free bonus shares!

Misfits Market

I’ve used Misfits for years, and it never disappoints! Every fruit and vegetable is organic, super fresh, and packed with flavor!

I wrote a detailed review of Misfits here.

Use this link to sign up and you’ll save $15 on your first order. 

Photo: “candy hearts” by jamz196 is licensed under CC BY 2.0.

Talking FTX, Twitter and Startups at Starta VC

Last week, I had a chance to do one of my favorite things: chat with awesome entrepreneurs!


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The venue was Starta VC, an early-stage venture firm based in New York City. Their accelerator brings great entrepreneurs from abroad to the US for an intensive program on building startups, American-style.

These young founders asked some great questions. Some interesting moments:

1:25: Sector-specific investors vs. generalists

2:14: FTX collapse

5:24: How angel syndicates work.

7:13: A trick I stole from Benchmark.

7:53: How I choose startups.

12:41: What’s going on in today’s market.

16:40: The one thing founders should never do.

24:33: Big Tech layoffs.

30:09: How to write cold emails that actually get a response.

33:41: Why AR will beat the metaverse.

42:17: Elon and the Twitter deal.

Thanks to Starta for the invite!

What part did you like most? What did I get wrong?

Leave a comment at the bottom and let me know!

There will be no blog tomorrow. I have an acting gig.

See you on Wednesday!

More on tech:

Is SBF Headed to Prison?

FTX Blows A Massive Hole in Tiger’s Portfolio

Is It Time for a Startup Hiring Spree?

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Save Money on Stuff I Use:

Fundrise

This platform lets me diversify my real estate investments so I’m not too exposed to any one market. I’ve invested since 2018 with great returns.

More on Fundrise in this post.

If you decide to invest in Fundrise, you can use this link to get $100 in free bonus shares!

Misfits Market

I’ve used Misfits for years, and it never disappoints! Every fruit and vegetable is organic, super fresh, and packed with flavor!

I wrote a detailed review of Misfits here.

Use this link to sign up and you’ll save $15 on your first order.