Money Quote Tuesday Nov. 28 2017
Forget Bitcoin. Sam Altman asks: Why not share the entire US economy equally with all citizens?
There is So. Much. To. Read! So here are some of the more noteworthy stories I’ve been reading these past two days:
Sam Altman explores an idea with historical roots but radical implications. Money quote: “Countries that concentrate wealth in a small number of families do worse over the long term — if we don’t take a radical step toward a fair, inclusive system, we will not be the leading country in the world for much longer. This would harm all Americans more than most realize.”
I wrote extensively on this today here. Money quote: “Despite their enormous size and influence, the biggest privately held technology companies eschew some basic corporate governance standards, blocking outside voices, limiting decision making to small groups of mostly white men and holding back on public disclosures.”
I own a small number of bitcoins and other crypto currencies. I bought them to understand them. Now I am flummoxed by what to do with them. Hold? Sell? Cover? Ignore? I honestly have no idea. Does anyone? Money quote: “But current investors see that after all the previous popped bubbles — and there have been several — the price eventually returned to its old high and then vaulted past it. The price of a Bitcoin is now more than seven times the high it reached in 2013.”
About time the voice of the consumer, and transparency in labeling, started to impact behemoth lobbying vehicles. Money quote: “When the Food and Drug Administration unveiled its update for the Nutrition Facts label in 2014 with a new requirement to list “added sugars” for the first time, plenty of food companies were furious, arguing that it wasn’t based in science and would confuse consumers. But others, including Nestlé and Mars, accepted the idea, concluding it was what consumers wanted or would be good for their business, or both…GMA’s members were so divided over the policy that the association submitted split comments to the regulator, with minority and majority opinions that argued the pros and cons of added sugars labeling, a public division that no one could recall happening in the past.”
Short answer (according to VF): Yes. Money quote: “The shift is being driven, in part, by a newfound focus on revenue over scale. For years, the private market shielded tech companies from painful reckonings with the deficiencies in their business models. The venture-capital boom and the optimism of the early and mid 2010s led to the creation of more than 100 privately held tech companies valued at $1 billion or more. Now some of the biggest, like Uber, are facing questions not only about their business models but also about their company culture.”
Good “out of the bubble” read on the “rest of the world” as it relates to issues we often obsess over. Money quote: “Emerging markets also offer a cautionary tale concerning the downside of the on-demand economy. They have some of the highest levels of inequality in the world. The world’s 50 most unequal economies are in Sub-Saharan Africa and Latin America, with South Africa taking the prize for the highest income inequality.”
A very old, but very telling, smoking gun. Money quote: “When it seemed to be pointing to the fact that sucrose consumption could be linked to heart disease and bladder cancer, the SRF (which had changed its name in 1968 to the International Sugar Research Foundation, or ISRF) ended the project and didn’t publish the results.”
The Missouri AG is making a national name for himself. Money quote: “It is our firm belief and, I think, Google’s too, that no company in the history of the world has collected more personal information about its users than Google has, so beginning there, I think, makes a good deal of sense. That said, I do hope that one of the effects of our effort will be to spark a broad conversation about just how much personal data a consumer is expected to trade in order to interact with these internet-based platforms.”
This case is seminal. Or could be, anyway. Money quote: “The harder question is: What rules should govern the relationship between law enforcement and the public, and who should write them? Even if the Supreme Court decides, as it ought to, that the police needed a warrant to vacuum up four months of Mr. Carpenter’s whereabouts, it can’t resolve more fine-grained questions about how to balance personal privacy against public safety…That’s a job for lawmakers.”
My take? Because WeWork’s way better than Facebook as a home for MeetUp. Just my take. Money quote: “Inadvertently, Meetup’s contrarian approach to melding the physical and the digital may house the solution to this problem of emotional and intellectual disconnect that everyone is racing to solve.”
“Try” is the operative word here. Money quote: “Several investors have said privately that they would be unlikely to sell at such a rate.” But then again, $48 billion is nothing to sniff at.