What to Read
February 6, 2013
Called the Slingshot… this 300 pound, dorm fridge-sized box can take any kind of sewage or even salt water and create 200 to 250 gallons a day of clean water. Kamen once demonstrated the Slingshot by turning his urine into clean water and drinking a glass of it.
Andrew and Peggy Cherng, now 65 and 62, respectively, opened their first Chinese restaurant in 1973 with $60,000 from savings and a Small Business Administration loan, plus relatives who worked for free. Today Panda Restaurant Group is the nation’s leader in Asian fast-casual eateries, exceeding $1.7 billion in revenue in 2012.
Citysearch, once synonymous with local reviews in the ’90s, is battling back against the upstarts with its refreshed iPhone app. The app is chock full of quality recommendations for restaurants, shopping, spas, and what’s hot in big cities. Citysearch, now part of CityGrid Media, started out as an online city guide written by professional editorial staff. Its modern, mobile incarnation still emphasizes tips from its expert “scouts” rather than crowdsourced recommendations from customers, like you’d find on Yelp or Foursquare, though those are also present.
The New York Times is opening up its office space and expertise to media startups through timeSpace. The scheme is opening up office space at the newspaper’s headquarters at 620 8th Avenue, New York City, to provide fledgling businesses with a four-month program. The company is looking for entrepreneurs or startups within the journalism or digital media industry and with these fledgling enterprises it hopes to work on refining their ideas and to open up opportunities to meet with relevant staff members. timeSpace will be home to three to five companies during the four-month period, who will be able to collaborate with, learn and teach each other. The New York Times will also benefit from gaining access to the innovative minds of new businesses entering the media sphere today.
With so much riding on returns, Harris has created an investment operation that looks and feels more like a hedge fund than a government agency. The office lobby buzzes with a flat-screen television that hangs next to photos of school children. Two of the fund’s traders work into the night from a windowless room, following the markets in Asia and Europe. Staff—including secretaries—can score annual bonuses provided the pension beats its peers by just a small fraction.
The bets are zero sum. In order for you to beat me in the game, it’s like poker, it’s a zero sum game. We have 1,500 people that work at Bridgewater, we spend hundreds of millions of dollars on research, and so on. We’ve been doing this for 37 years and we don’t know that we’re going to win. We have to have diversified bets. So it’s very important for most people to know when not to make a bet. Because if you’re going to come to the poker table, you’re going to have to beat me, and you’re going to have to beat those who take money. So the nature of investing is that a very small percentage of the people take money essentially in that poker game away from other people who don’t know when prices go up whether that means it’s a good investment or if it’s a more expensive investment.
Bank of Italy Governor Ignazio Visco, Deutsche Bank’s Anshu Jain, French Minister of Finance Pierre Moscovici, Bank of America CEO Brian Moynihan, China Investment Corp.’s Jin Liqun and Bridgewater Associates Founder Ray Dalio debate the future of the global economy.
According to Maples, thunder lizards reflect how the success of startups generally follows a power law distribution. Maples discussed how in a YCombinator cohort, the best company is worth more than all of the others combined. Similarly for most VC portfolios, the best company’s returns will exceed all of the other companies invested. The second best company’s value will also surpass the value of all other companies in the portfolio, excluding of course the most valuable one. Maples mentioned that the power law also applies to the movie industry (box office revenues) and web sites (page views).