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P.S. You Should Know... | Issue #218

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May 30 · Issue #218 · View online
P.S. You Should Know...
👋 Welcome back to P.S. You Should Know… probably the best newsletter published on Sundays between 6-7am CST, and definitely the best one published by me. Now in its fifth year!

my story 🚀
  1. Play it cool. I find myself thinking about the quote, attributed to J.P. Morgan, “Nothing so undermines your financial judgement as the sight of your neighbour getting rich.” We are, after all, a social species and the chemical reactions in our brains are influenced (if not governed) by what those around us do and say. Anecdotes I heard just this week: 1) a young professional put all his money into GameStop stock late in the summer of ‘20, cashing out recently when up 35x (and then quitting his job), and 2) a young couple moved out to Washington and bought a multi-million-dollar house two years ago (tech pays well) and is now selling it for 2x because the market is hot. I’m writing this as a reminder, mostly to myself, that there’s selection bias in these stories and playing the long game requires winning the battle inside my own head.
  2. And while we’re on the subject. Exploring a bit further into the quotes of J.P. Morgan I found this: “Any man who is bearish on the United States will go broke.” Although I’m prone to bearish sentiment more often than I’d like, I remain broadly optimistic about our nation and its people. As long as we attract and nurture the talented and the driven, we will continue to thrive. Yet, I wonder how ol’ J.P. would have viewed the current state of global and U.S. monetary policy (all fiat all the time + modern monetary theory). Another of his quotes: “Gold is money. Everything else is credit.” Holding both those thoughts in my head simultaneously is hard.
fun facts 🙌
The cardiovascular secrets of giraffes. “Because of their height, giraffes require scarily high blood pressures — yet they escape the massive health problems that plague people with hypertension. Can clinicians learn from these animals?” | learn more
What’s an appetizing store? “[T]ypically in reference to Jewish cuisine in New York City, particularly Ashkenazi Jewish cuisine, [an Appetizing store] is a store that sells "food that generally goes with bagels.” | learn more
Millennials aren’t poorer than previous generations. Of dollars and data takes up the question of my generation’s wealth. “Using the same Federal Reserve data cited in the articles above, we can see that Millennials have roughly the same inflation-adjusted financial assets per capita as prior generations did around the same age.” | learn more
oh, chicago 🏆
Illinois Supreme Court rejects bid that would’ve blown up state’s finances. Before the title leaves you with the impression that all is now well with the state’s finances, there’s still the pesky matter of pensions. “The Illinois Supreme Court on Thursday unanimously shot down a legal challenge to bonds issued by the state in 2003 and 2017, which sought to halt repayment on the bond debt — likely leading to default and fiscal chaos.” | learn more
tech, startups, internet ⚡
How Anjali Sud reinvented Vimeo. “Now, you probably think of Vimeo as a smaller competitor to YouTube — the company’s been around for 16 years, and that’s what it was for most of that time. But when Anjali took over as CEO, she stopped all that to reinvent Vimeo as a software company that serves video creators. And that market is booming: at the end of 2020, Vimeo had over 1.5 million paying customers generating $83.8 million in revenue in Q4 alone.” | learn more
Pinterest’s use of AI drives growth. “Pinterest Inc. is boosting its user and ad-revenue numbers at a much faster pace than most of its social-media peers—and it has artificial intelligence to thank for it.” | learn more
The cost of cloud, a trillion dollar paradox. “However, as industry experience with the cloud matures — and we see a more complete picture of cloud lifecycle on a company’s economics — it’s becoming evident that while cloud clearly delivers on its promise early on in a company’s journey, the pressure it puts on margins can start to outweigh the benefits, as a company scales and growth slows.” | learn more
better doing 🎯
Forget about the boss—what’s the right thing to do here? “Important lessons in your career can come from brief interactions with effective leaders. I had one of those interactions with Charlie Bell at Amazon 20 years ago, and I’ve never forgotten it.” | learn more
How to miss a deadline. “Projects are always on the frontier, combining elements and ideas and effort to do something that’s not been done before, not quite the way we’re doing it here and now. And so, bold projects sometimes fail to make their deadline. Even if we build systems and use buffers, sometimes it doesn’t work.” | learn more
retail therapy 💸
Amazon, Walmart and Chinese potting soil. In 2018, the anonymous blogger behind Deep Throat IPO wrote this incredibly long post exploring the question “What would have happened if Amazon and Walmart had never been born?” It’s a fascinating exploration of the dynamics of US retail and global trade. | learn more
under the microscope 🔬
A better way to picture atoms. Not like the cartoon diagrams we normally associate them with. | learn more
The truth about young blood. This 2017 interview with UC Berkeley researchers Mike and Irina Conboy clears up some of the popular misconceptions around young blood and aging. You may have heard of their study that stitched together and old and young rat to learn how shared blood circulation impacted aging. Related reading from the PS Archives: here and here. | learn more
big ideas 📚
Astronomy’s future waits on NASA’s next big telescope. “We’re going to be able to piece together what the universe’s story was in the first billion years after the Big Bang,” says Caitlin Casey, an astronomer at the University of Texas at Austin, who co-leads a team that received a large allocation of time with the Webb.“ | learn more
on the blockchain ⛓
Is the sell-off over or will there be more pain? Anthony Pompliano analyzes who’s buying, selling, and holding Bitcoin to inform his prediction of near-term price. It’s worth a peek if you aren’t regularly immersed in this sort of data. | learn more
A death in Cryptoland. “When reports emerged in 2019 that the CEO of Canada’s largest cryptocurrency exchange had died, it left over a quarter of a billion dollars of customers’ funds in limbo. While authorities investigated, one online sleuth decided to dig deeper to find the money.” | learn more
staying thirsty 🚰
The Senate just passed $35 billion for clean drinking water. “The legislation would fund projects that address aging infrastructure and improve water quality, remove lead pipes from schools, and update infrastructure to be more resilient to the impacts of extreme weather and climate change.” | learn more
calls to action 👇
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