More on animal-replacement start-ups

Last Autumn, fake meat was all the rage (Newsletter #14). Companies in the space continue to get traction, and retailers are figuring out how to retail it. Kroger, the US’s largest grocery store* by revenue, and second largest general retailer, experimented with placement of plant-based alternatives to meat — moving them from the vegetarian section […]

US Senate discusses “digital dollar”

Last November, Beijing went “all in” on blockchain (Newsletter #14), saying they were going to move forward with a state-backed crypto currency. Unsurprisingly, when Xi Jinping made that announcement, things were already well underway. They launched a pilot of the digital currency the next month, and announced just last Wednesday that they were expanding the trial to include […]

Ad-tech regulation

The UK’s Competition and Markets Authority has released its final report on online platforms and digital advertising. This started as a preliminary look at possibly monopolistic practices by Google and Facebook, who collectively earn about 80% of UK digital-marketing spend. Parts of the UK press are already saying the report doesn’t go far enough, and that […]

The ongoing evolution of Asia

China continues to pursue its ambition of being not just one of the world’s largest economies, but one of its largest powers. The passing of the new Hong Kong security law — which happened in secret, bypassing Hong Kong’s own legislature, and the content of which was only revealed one day before it went into effect (absolutely […]

WWDC and privacy

Apple’s World Wide Developer Conference was last week. As expected, one of the biggest announcements was that they’re moving away from Intel and to their own chips. And, although it wasn’t front and center, it was mentioned enough that I’m sticking with my prediction that this is all about “AI”, and we’re going to see […]

Mixer -> Facebook gaming

Perhaps you haven’t heard, but e-gaming is big business ($68 billion in 2018, growing by various estimates from 10% to 20% CAGR). Alongside e-gaming has come video-game streaming. The numbers have spiked somewhat during the global lockdown, but they were big even before — in 2019 there are about 12.5 billion hours watched across the four biggest […]

Internet legislation in the US

Two significant bills were put forth in the US this week, both of which are sure to have global consequences if passed. Let’s start with the bad. The Senate has put forth what they’re calling the LAED bill, which is an even worse version of their previous EARN IT bill. It would effectively kill privacy […]

Democracy Is Going to Be The Death of Democracy

The Founding Fathers of the United States were by no means perfect. Equally, the U.S. Constitution is filled with compromises that were at best distasteful to many at the time, and remain so. That said, smart men, living at the height of the Age of Enlightenment, who were not distracted by a constant barrage of […]

14-day rolling average of U.S. daily COVID-19 deaths

Is the US in trouble from COVID? A thread.

I originally published this on Facebook, but threading is terrible, so I’m putting it here to preserve some coherence. Also, slightly edited for this format. Here is the original. TL;DR — I don’t know but it doesn’t look good. The 14-day average number of daily deaths is well off its peak in the US, even […]

The real proxy war coming from the trade war

It’s easy to forget (global pandemic, George Floyd protests and riots, upcoming US election, new Bolton book, SCOTUS landmark anti-discrimination ruling, etc…), but the US is involved in a trade war with China. But actually, it’s much bigger than a trade war; it’s a war over global influence. This week, there was a minor border […]

WhatsApp payments isn’t about WhatsApp, it’s about Visa

If e-commerce is all about buying physical goods online, e-payment is all about paying for such goods online, even if you’re buying at a physical location. Think Apple Pay or Google Wallet meet PayPal. That’s what WhatsApp is rolling out in Brazil this week — the ability to send money directly from within WhatsApp, either […]