Thinks 239

Seth Moskowitz: “Today, the mob acts primarily through social media, meaning that the pile-on can come for anybody, at any time, with little to no warning. The critics humiliate their victim until the accused issues an apology to end the nightmare. And then the mob either doubles down, or it moves on to its next subject. In the long run, obsequious apologies for imagined crimes pave the way for a destructive cycle of inquisition. Unless brave people stand up and say, “Enough,” the mob will continue steamrolling victims, leaving behind a trail of careers, reputations, and a culture of conformity. So, if the mob comes for you and you don’t believe you have done anything wrong, I have a modest proposal: Don’t apologize.”

Luck Kellaway on the pain and pleasure of starting a new career in her 50s: “Starting again turns out to be much easier, less stressful and less scary than starting out the first time. I often compare myself with my young teacher colleagues. It has occurred to me that I like my job more than they do, and I’m much less dragged down by it all. The reason is obvious: they need to climb the ladder, to make more money and to impress their managers. I don’t need to do any of these things.”

Arnold Kling on pent-up inflation (US context): “The government has showered the economy with paper wealth, raising the ratio of dollar wealth to wages and prices. The way this will resolve itself is for wages and prices to rise. Firms are in denial about this for now. So inflation remains pent up. I think that prices will rise first, as firms realize that they can make price increases stick and in fact they have to raise prices to ration demand, because they cannot hire enough workers to meet demand at current price levels. Then wages will rise as workers realize they have to seek higher pay in order to keep up with the cost of living. Workers are certainly in a frisky mood, with many quitting and others contemplating doing so.”

Thinks 238

Hussein Kanji, founding partner at Hoxton Ventures: “There are three ingredients to building a company: a good idea, capital and people. Often all the problems of not scaling comes not from the idea or the capital, but from people. It’s usually not the founders but their inability to build and scale organisations. In this bull market, raising capital is easy. Building great teams is hard…Chapter one is around getting the product right and achieving product market fit. Chapter 2 is around selling and this chapter is four times longer than the first. Chapter three involves diversifying and building a platform to really scale the company.”

Ajay Shah: “Getting back to high growth in India requires freedom and state capacity. The regulators of today have power, bureaucracies, and intricate control that was unthinkable in 1991. Regulators in India achieve extreme power by combining legislative, executive and judicial powers. A substantial literature has demonstrated the failures of the work taking place in these organisations. Under conditions of low state capacity, regulation in India has often veered into central planning and control, enforcement has been selective and weak, and the actions of regulators raise concerns about the rule of law. An emerging Indian jurisprudence has started questioning the working of regulators and the checks and balances surrounding the powers of officials in regulatory agencies.”

James Madison in 1788: “Wherever the real power in a Government lies, there is the danger of oppression. In our Governments the real power lies in the majority of the Community, and the invasion of private rights is cheifly to be apprehended, not from acts of Government contrary to the sense of its constituents, but from acts in which the Government is the mere instrument of the major number of the constituents. This is a truth of great importance, but not yet sufficiently attended to….” [via CafeHayek]

Thinks 237

Metrics That Will Matter in Email Beyond 2021: by Tom Wozniak. “Click rate, conversion rate, revenue per email sent.”

The Beginning of Indefinite Economic Growth: by Atanu Dey. “Growth is just transformation of matter. And for our purposes — now and for billions of years hence — there is more matter in the universe than you can shake a stick at. The transformation of matter requires energy. There’s also more energy in the universe than you can sasa. What’s the secret ingredient for indefinite growth, you ask? Ideas!…For indefinite growth we need unlimited amounts of matter and energy. Which, as it happens, the universe supplies for free. And we need brains that have ideas. We have lots of brains, around 8 billion and growing. Not just growing in numbers, they are getting smarter as well. Which are also free.”

David Perell: “Your favorite writers don’t walk around with perfect ideas in their heads. Their minds are as messy as yours. But by writing, they separate good ideas from bad ones and clarify the best ones.”

Thinks 236

Amit Tandon on a future without promoters: “As family ownership gives way to institutionally- owned and -controlled companies, there are many questions that need to be asked, including what the implications on investment and growth are? Will businesses become more short-term and less long-term in outlook? Will these businesses re-invest in India over five or 10 years? Will managements have the same risk appetite? Will they be imbued with animal spirits in the same measure as the crop of Indian families? Will the institutions prefer to take money out and chase the next growth opportunity outside India? If India suddenly becomes a less attractive investment destination, where will risk capital come from? As business families have a charitable streak, how will philanthropy change? How will the changed ownership impact our society and polity and policy-making?”

Post-Covid, India’s Weakest Link May Be Its Informal Sector: from BloombergQuint. “Close to 80% of India’s workers are employed in the informal sector, which accounts for nearly 50% of the India’s GDP. Few high frequency economic indicators capture the health of this segment of the economy.”But a lot is at stake. Ignoring the informal sector can hurt jobs, wages, and even macro stability,” wrote Pranjul Bhandari, chief India economist at HSBC.The 20% of workers in India’s formal sector doing relatively well. But the fortunes of the remaining 80% are split in two halves, with those working in agriculture better off than those working outside of the agrarian economy, Bhandari wrote.”

Eamonn Butler: “The inability (or unwillingness) of business people to explain the public benefits of entrepreneurship and free markets is surely a huge weakness of capitalism, and a huge threat to it. By muddling capitalism with cronyism, such supposed champions do the cause no favours. The idea of capitalism is hard enough to understand already: the immediate benefits of interventions are easy to grasp, but not the long-term advantages of leaving markets and competition to work; and few people realise how delicate the market order is, and how wildly it can be thrown out of gear by even small political interventions.” [via CafeHayek]

Thinks 235

Oscar Cerezales on marketing: “My advice would be to stop thinking in ROI, return on investment, and start thinking in ROE, return on engagement. While ROI works well for some channels, such as email marketing or social media, the activation and study are complex in others, such as events. A well-designed ROE system should collect information from your virtual, in-person and hybrid activations in parallel, not in isolation, offering information on three dimensions: Involvement… reach, attention and attraction, Engagement… cognition, affection and relation, and Impact… interest, preference and advocacy.”

A WSJ investigation: How TikTok’s Algorithm Figures Out Your Deepest Desires

Why “Good” People Enable Totalitarians: by Barry Brownstein. “In the searing Soviet-era novel Life and Fate, Vasily Grossman reveals the mindset that supports totalitarianism, sparing neither fascism nor communism…Grossman explains how Stalin’s previous use of hatred assisted Germans: “At an earlier date, in the same regions, Stalin himself had mobilized the fury of the masses, whipping it up to the point of frenzy during the campaigns to liquidate the kulaks as a class and during the extermination of Trotskyist–Bukharinite degenerates and saboteurs.” The result of such campaigns is that “the majority of the population obey every order of the authorities as though hypnotized.” Yet, more is needed. In such a totalitarian atmosphere, Grossman writes, “There is a particular minority which actively helps to create the atmosphere of these campaigns: ideological fanatics; people who take a bloodthirsty delight in the misfortunes of others; and people who want to settle personal scores, to steal a man’s belongings or take over his flat or job.””


Thinks 234

Permission-Based Advertising Is The New Click-And-Collect: by Bryan Pearson. “Asking permission is akin to asking for trust, after all. It’s an act of transparency. In advertising, it means explaining clearly to customers why their data is collected, what specific information is gathered, how it is used and – importantly – the value of their information. This value recognition, even the willingness to pay for it, could become necessary if retailers want to be trusted.”

James Otteson: “Thus, if we have any natural rights at all, one of them – perhaps the first of them – is the right to say “no”: no to any offer, suggestion, command, edict, or mandate; no to any question, inquiry, or demand for information; no to any person, however high, noble, authoritative, or rich. The right to say no is so intimately connected with every aspect of human moral agency, so foundational to what makes us human, and so crucial for the construction of a life of meaning and purpose that it should be considered sacrosanct. We relinquish it at the risk of losing what makes us unique and valuable creatures, and when we take it from others we compromise their humanity.” [via CafeHayek]

Making Meetings better: NYT and Fortune. [via McKinsey OnPoint]

Thinks 233

WSJ on Gallium: “…Once an industrial-waste product, [it] is transforming our increasingly electrified world…A byproduct of extracting aluminum from rock, gallium has such a low melting temperature that it turns into a runny, silvery-white liquid when you hold it in your hand. On its own, it isn’t terribly useful. Combine it with nitrogen, to make gallium nitride, and it becomes a hard crystal with valuable properties. It shows up in laser sensors used in many self-driving cars, antennas that enable today’s fast cellular wireless networks, and, increasingly, in electronics critical to making renewable-energy harvesting more efficient.”

Some India social media numbers. Business Standard: “416 million users in India access Facebook every month, out of which 234 million access it every day.” As quoted by the Indian govt a few months ago: “WhatsApp has 530 million users in India followed by YouTube with 448 million users. Facebook, Instagram and Twitter have 410 million, 210 million and 17.5 million users, respectively.”

Etienne de la Boétie in 1552-3: [I]t has always happened that tyrants, in order to strengthen their power, have made every effort to train their people not only in obedience and servility toward themselves, but also in adoration.” [via CafeHayek]

Thinks 232

David Perell (quoting an author): “If you want to write a good book, write about the things you don’t want others to know about you. If you want to write a great book, write about the things you don’t want to know about yourself.”

Hayek: “The whole history of the development of popular institutions is a history of the continuous struggle to prevent particular groups from abusing the governmental apparatus for the benefit of the collective interest of these groups.” [via CafeHayek]

John Adams, writing in 1815: “What do We mean by the Revolution? The War? That was no part of the Revolution. It was only an Effect and Consequence of it. The Revolution was in the Minds of the People, and this was effected, from 1760 to 1775, in the course of fifteen Years before a drop of blood was drawn at Lexington.” (via CafeHayek)

Thinks 231

Anthony Gill: “Governance does not mean government. For every problem that arises in society, we do not have to run to the polling booth to cast a ballot for a new initiative or for some politician who promises to take care of the problem for us. We often can allocate resources and solve societal problems without resorting to formal government. Markets and private organizations are wonderful mechanisms for undertaking such tasks and have served humanity well throughout history when they are allowed to operate freely.  Having students understand that markets – voluntary agreements between individuals with complementary preferences – are an extremely effective way of allocating resources is a crucial first step. Markets are a form of governance, something that most people do not realize. We must communicate this effectively, both in the schools and in the general media.”

How Economics Drives News Media: by Arnold Kling. “Andrey Mir’s Postjournalism offers a powerful, sweeping narrative of how news media have evolved over the centuries. Mir’s framework is that media technology determines how journalism is supported financially, and those who finance news media in turn shape its contents.”

A Declaration of Independence for 2021: via CafeHayek. “My friend Jim Clancy updated for 2021 Thomas Jefferson’s soaring document of 1776.” Richard Ebeling offers: “A Declaration of Independence from Big Government.”

Thinks 230

Molly Fischer on Email Newsletters: “The financial promise of email newsletters has launched countless micropublications — and created a new literary genre…Newsletters can be like newspaper columns, cut loose from institutional authority. They can be like podcasts that you cannot absorb while running errands, like zines without the photocopy static, like Instagram with the lifestyle recommendations rendered as text instead of subtext. Many newsletters partake in the limitlessly available navel-gazing of online media commentary.”

Vishnu Agnihotri: “Questions are more important than answers…any question that has only one answer is not the question you should be asking. If it has only one answer, it is redundant to ask it, because the answer has already been found. To try and find another answer, we must ask a question to which not all answers have been found.”

On Regret: from Washington Post. “A prominent feature of regret, especially the kind that sticks around, is rumination about all the different ways you could have made a better decision or action. This obsessing can turn guilt (an emotion that stems from believing you did something wrong) into shame (the belief that you are wrong or defective). Although guilt can motivate rectifying action, shame invites wallowing in self-reproach and self-criticism. “Unfortunately, many believe that punishing yourself will lead to positive change. But nothing can be further from the truth,” said Germer.”