On scarcity, ubiquity, and value; or, what is an NFT?

The last few weeks, “NFTs” have been all the rage. So far, the US National Basketball Association Top Shot product from Dapper Labs has had over $230US million in sales. And there’s purportedly another $150 million in NFT art. Some of these things may be bubbles, but I do think there’s something real going on […]

Australian news war escalation

It looks like Australia is going forward with their ridiculous news law (“If Australia doesn’t get their act together, they may lose all news”, newsletter #44). It passed their House of Representatives this week, and looks set to pass the Senate. It’s perfectly reasonable to have a discussion around how to save news; and it’s perfectly reasonable […]

Warner’s zero-day theatrical window

Last month I took note of Warner’s experiment to remove the theatrical window for all movies coming out in 2021 (“Are we witnessing the death of the cinema,” newsletter #58). A few weeks ago the first movie in this experiment, The Little Things, came out — and I think Warner is going to view it is a […]

Is it a robot, a vehicle, or a drone?

There’s been a lot happening in the autonomous vehicle space (including a fresh $2 billion round into Cruise, which included Microsoft). But one interesting question is, where do we draw the line between a vehicle and a robot? Or, put another way, when we think of the autonomous-vehicle market, what counts as a vehicle? A few […]

The on-going game with China

Perhaps the biggest thing to happen last month was that the US declared China’s treatment of the Uighurs as genocide. To be honest, I don’t know how much freedom the US State Department has in making this sort of declaration. Was it something the State Department did independently? Or was it a last-minute poke at […]

What’s a monopoly?

It used to be the case that it was pretty easy to spot a monopoly; it also used to be pretty easy to spot anti-competitive practices; but neither of these things is necessarily so easy in the age of the Internet. When we start looking at the large Internet companies, which certainly we will be […]

Of GameStop, Robinhood, Reddit, and Citadel

Total trading volume on the NYSE doubled from the year before. Annual turnover, a measure of how fast stocks trade, set a record of 319%. The year was 1901, and small investors with new access to the telephone and telegraph made gambles on directional bets at thousands of bucket shops across the country. That doesn’t feel a […]

What to make of the Parler shutdown

In the wake of the “assault” on the US Capitol (in quotation marks, because if you look at the video footage, it really seems a lot more like LARPing than an actual attempt at insurrection), everyone was all abuzz about how the social-media giants were handling Trump’s accounts (Twitter gave him a “permanent suspension” (I […]

The ongoing takeover by the plants

The start-up world continues to do interesting things in the world of lab-grown food. Meat (“Fake meat is all the rage”, newsletter #14) and dairy, including the seemingly insoluble problem of vegan cheese (see, “More on animal-replacement startups”, newsletter #38), have come a long way — but they’re still just the tip of the iceberg. Last week, […]

China and the opportunity for Britain

This week saw more anti-democracy arrests in Hong Kong, Trump signing an executive order banning Ali pay (the Chinese PayPal) and seven other apps, and another executive order “blacklisting” 35 Chinese companies, which caused the SEC to flip-flop, but ultimately ended with the NYSE deciding to delist three Chinese telecoms. On the other side of the Atlantic, after 35 […]

The Apple car in the news (again)

An Apple car has been in the works, at least in fits and spurts, since 2015. The big question for most people remains … WTF is Apple going to build a car? It’s not at all clear what value they add. To quote Hal Eddins, chief economist at Apple shareholder Capital Investment Counsel, “My initial reaction […]

China is also a market

I wrote a lot in 2020 about China’s geopolitical aspirations, and the impact of Covid on the global supply chain, but it’s also important to remember that those geopolitical aspirations also impact how the rest of the world deals with China as a market. In the tech field, it’s always been tricky: Google doesn’t play […]