Taste, Alpha, and Talent

Aug 14, 2022 11:36 am

Hi everyone,

Thanks for joining me today. I've had a good rest the past few weeks, and I hope everyone's having fun in the summer as well.

Let's get into it.

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Interesting Articles I Found This Week

The Premium Mediocre Life of Maya Millennial: "Premium mediocrity is a pattern of consumption that publicly signals upward mobile aspirations, with consciously insincere pretensions to refined taste, while navigating the realities of inexorable downward mobility with sincere anxiety. There are more important things to think about than actually learning to appreciate wine and cheese, such as making rent. But at least pretending to appreciate wine and cheese is necessary to not fall through the cracks in the API."

You Don't Need Alpha: "Knife skills only matter if you have to use your knife a lot. [...] The professionals need proper technique to be efficient because their jobs depend on it, but the amateurs can get by with far less sophistication."

A timely reminder we don't have to be better than others at most things.

The Parable of the Talents: "Ozy once told me that the law of comparative advantage was one of the most inspirational things they had ever read. This was sufficiently strange that I demanded an explanation.

Ozy said that it proves everyone can contribute. Even if you are worse than everyone else at everything, you can still participate in global trade and other people will pay you money. It may not be very much money, but it will be some, and it will be a measure of how your actions are making other people better off and they are grateful for your existence."

ShopBack: Smarter Buying, Smarter Selling: I wrote this last week, and it's a piece on a company that gives you cash rebates every single time you make a purchase, on top of your credit card rewards. It's one of the most interesting and impactful companies in Southeast Asia, and what a business that creates value for everyone looks like. Check it out.


As usual, let me know what you think.

Talk soon,