What We’re Reading

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

Brands and moats

This is excellent:

Something people have gotten confused about is the sustainable competitive advantage and the moat. Durable competitive advantage and moats are not the same thing as brands. People sometimes use these terms interchangeably. I have also seen people ascribe competitive advantages to brands that don’t have them. For example, retailers — retailers have brands. We all know what Macy’s (M) is, but retailing is fundamentally a bad business. While there are moats that include brands, a brand is not a moat. The moat is whatever qualities are innate to the business that make it difficult to compete with.


A beautiful piece on horse betting:

In pursuit of mathematical perfection, he became convinced that horses raced differently according to temperature, and when he learned that British meteorologists kept an archive of Hong Kong weather data in southwest England, he traveled there by plane and rail. A bemused archivist led him to a dusty library basement, where Benter copied years of figures into his notebook. When he got back to Hong Kong, he entered the data into his computers—and found it had no effect whatsoever on race outcomes. Such was the scientific process.



Between 2012 and 2017, video games expanded faster than any other major content sector: music, film, newspapers, magazines, books, and pay-TV. The sector is projected to grow 28 percent between 2018 and 2022.



On Tuesday, the billionaire Microsoft cofounder and philanthropist said he’ll pick up the tab for all US college graduates to download a copy of Hans Rosling’s book, “Factfulness: Ten Reasons We’re Wrong About the World–and Why Things Are Better Than You Think.”

The book, released in April and currently listed at** **$14.99 as an e-download on various sites, offers advice on how to think about the world and how personal instincts can impact our interpretation of information.


Didn’t realize this:

What remains is the university. A university is now the largest employer in two-thirds of America’s 100 largest cities (and a handful of states as well). Even in New York City, home to 45 Fortune 500companies and a global capital of finance, media, and fashion, five of the top 10 private employers are anchor institutions like universities and academic medical centers.



When you understand that nobody wants to read your shit, your mind becomes powerfully concentrated. You begin to understand that writing/reading is, above all, a transaction. The reader donates his time and attention, which are supremely valuable commodities. In return, you the writer must give him something worthy of his gift to you.

Have a nice weekend.