What We’re Reading

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


Coming down:

According to a new report from the Japanese government, Japanese women had 921,000 babies in 2018. That’s the fewest births since comparable records began in 1899 — when the country’s population was a third its current size.

Meanwhile, deaths in Japan hit their highest level in nearly a century. Put together, that means the country’s population is shrinking rapidly, experiencing its largest natural decline on record.

Why does this matter? Well, it’s hard for an economy to grow with fewer workers. And as more people age out of the workforce, a swelling number of retirees must depend on a shrinking number of working people to power the economy. The tax base required to fund public services for those retirees — including health care and elder care — also shrinks.



People with only a high school degree or less have a 350% higher annual rate of death than others.


Fred Wilson:

So all of that is a pessimistic take on the broader macro environment in 2019. How will all of this impact the startup/tech economy?

The startup/tech economy is somewhat immune to macro trends. Many startups and big tech companies were able to grow and expand their businesses during the last financial downturn in 2008 and 2009. Some very important tech companies were even started in those years.

The tech/startup economy is driven first and foremost by technical and creative (ie business model) innovation. And that is not impacted by the macro environment.

For sale

What money can and can’t buy:


Insider trading economics:

In a new analysis by Kenneth R. Ahern of the University of Southern California School of Business, the median investor bets $200,000 on the basis of an illegal tip, and reaps $72,000 on that trade, a healthy gain of about 35%. Not bad, when you consider the average holding period is just 21 days.


Marc Andreessen thought he missed the tech boom in 1994:

I just went to college. I did my thing. I came out here in ‘94, and Silicon Valley was in hibernation. In high school, I actually thought I was going to have to learn Japanese to work in technology. My big feeling was I just missed it, I missed the whole thing. It had happened in the ’80s, and I got here too late. But then, I’m maybe the most optimistic person I know. I mean, I’m incredibly optimistic. I’m optimistic arguably to a fault, especially in terms of new ideas.

Have a good weekend.