What We’re Reading

A few good pieces the Collab team came across this week …


An industry I didn’t know existed: Rent a family:

Nishida placed an order for a wife and a daughter to join him for dinner. On the order form, he noted his daughter’s age, and his wife’s physique: five feet tall and a little plump. The cost was forty thousand yen, about three hundred and seventy dollars. The first meeting took place at a café. The rental daughter was more fashionable than Nishida’s real daughter—he used the English word “sharp”—but the wife immediately impressed him as “an ordinary, generic middle-aged woman.” He added, “Unlike, for example, Ms. Matsumoto”—he nodded toward my interpreter, Chie Matsumoto—“who might look like a career woman.”


This is staggering:

Fewer Republican senators are women than men named John — despite the fact that Johns represent 3.3 percent of the male population, while women represent 50.8 percent of the total population. Fewer Democratic governors are women than men named John. And fewer women directed the top-grossing 100 films last year than men named Michael and James combined.


Controversial but interesting argument to get rid of medical and law licensing:

Why would consumers be better off without regulation, even if it meant they were more likely to hire a charlatan? “The fundamental point we’ve all missed is that markets adjust to the presence of risk,” Berk says. “When there are charlatans in the market, the price declines to reflect that fact. But imposing standards to force them out reduces competition and raises prices.”

Powering the powerful

Apple’s power is now 100% green:

Apple says it now has 25 operational renewable energy projects–with 15 more now in construction–in 11 countries. Just eight years ago, only 16% of its facilities were powered by renewable energy. By 2015 that number had increased to 93%, then to 96% in 2016.

Apple says it’s finished getting the rest of its facilities running on 100% green power–from its new Apple Park headquarters, which has one of the largest solar roofs on the planet, to its distribution centers and retail stores around the world.


This is great:

The definition of “rich” is passive income that’s greater than your burn. My dad and his wife receive about $50K/year from dividends, pension, and Social Security, and spend $40K/year. They are rich. I have a number of friends who earn between $1M and $3M, and with several children in Manhattan private schools, an ex-wife, a home in the Hamptons, and lifestyle fitting of a Master of the Universe, they spend most, if not all of it. They are poor. By the time you’re 30, you should have a feel for what your burn is. Young people are 100% focused on their earnings. Adults also focus on their burn.


Ray Dalio:

Everything I’ve done with a singular focus on economics has fallen short. Everything I’ve pursued because I believed in the intrinsic value has exceeded expectations. Assessing a business based on unit economics is especially popular today. But a durable competitive advantage comes from the value it creates for its stakeholders. If you get that right, the unit economics will follow. Economics is not always an accurate reflection of intrinsic value. The same can be said of a career.

Have a good weekend.