- Author Brandon Sanderson has a fun FAQ on the book business, especially on the contrast between selling traditionally and using crowdfunding. One notable point: as in many other markets, the intrinsically high margins for digital goods get eaten over time by the rising cost of distribution.
- Rohit at Strange Loop Canon has a great piece on "Idle Kantians". It's much easier to critique an existing institution than to build a new one, although building something as a sort of performance art critique of what it's trying to replace can actually work pretty well.
- Alex Sherman at CNBC has coverage of the internal politics of Disney's succession. Clean successions are extremely difficult, and the better a CEO is (or is perceived to be) the harder it is for a successor, all things being equal. It's not enough to match the last CEO's abilities; it's also necessary to carve out a narrative that's different enough that it avoids constant comparisons, but that also doesn't repudiate the prior CEO's record. (And this applies to domains other than business, of course.)
- Richard Craib of Numerai analogizes the Kardashev Scale of civilizations to hedge funds: at the peak, "A Type IV hedge fund has a signal which is so good that no other signal can be used to make profitable alterations to it." This is very hard to achieve, but one model of systematic funds is that they're in the business of acquiring talent that could otherwise start independent funds, and getting more value out of that talent. So implicitly the entire systematic trading industry is a quest to build a Type IV fund, even though that's hard enough to be effectively impossible.
- Doug/mule at Fabricated Knowledge offers a history of the 1980s semiconductor boom/bust cycle. Chip industry history is underrated—as it turns out, the history of companies with a big fixed cost paid for an uncertain shot at high-margin growth did not begin with software!
- Beef, Bible and Bullets: Brazil in the age of Bolsonaro: less a biography of Bolsonaro (though there's a bit of that) and more an analysis of what was going on in Brazil that made his election possible. That's useful context—calling him "Trump of the tropics" is not entirely inaccurate, but omits a lot of context. Even though populism seems to come in and out of fashion globally, individual populist leaders are a very local phenomenon.
- Drop in any links or comments of general interest to Diff readers.
- Let this be the periodic open call for interesting and under-covered companies—the ones that have elements of their model analogous to tech companies but that are not themselves classified as "tech" are always fun.
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