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 […]

Are we witnessing the death of the cinema?

WarnerMedia shocked the industry and has been getting severe pushback since it announced its plan to remove the “theatrical window” in 2021. In industry speak, the window is the period in which theaters can show a movie before it becomes available for broadcast or streaming. Over the last few decades, there have been several changes […]

Keep your eye on Chinese tech

Over the last several months there’s been a lot of meaningful news on China from both an economic and political front, but it’s also worth paying attention to them on the technological front. While they may be best known for different values around intellectual property than we’re used to in the West, the reality is, […]

“Afghan lives matter!”

Make no mistake, the Chinese government does not do things by mistake. Trade tensions between the US and China have grown substantially during the Trump administration, but China has also been engaging in a bit of a trade war with Australia, with the latest move being a tariff imposed on Australia’s wine — for which China is the […]

AlphaFold and the state of AI in biotech

AlphaFold was all over the news this week. What it’s done is hugely important, but also nowhere near enough. In case you’ve forgotten your high-school biology, proteins are complex molecules made up of amino acids. They can be extremely complicated molecules, but one of the more interesting things about them is that their function can […]

The future of free trade

For all that Donald Trump is a buffoon, he had some big successes (from a U.S. point of view), particularly with regard to international trade. His renegotiation of NAFTA is almost certainly an improvement, and his hard stance on trade with China was a long time coming. That said, he made a number of strategic […]