across disciplines is one of the best ways to improve our investment acumen.
Here is a summary of some of the best articles I read this week.
I especially try to not post Corona related articles as that is all
one gets to read in all traditional media.
If you like the collection this consider forwarding it to someone
who you think will appreciate.
The Nespresso coffee
The idea of a
portioned coffee system had been around since the 50s, but no one had seriously
pursued it. Favre’s aim was to build a world in which espresso was available at
home. Customers would own a machine, into which they would place a sealed pod
filled with ground coffee. The pod would keep the coffee fresh. (Although roast
coffee can stay fresh for weeks, ground coffee loses its freshness after about
half an hour.) The capsule design would also ensure greater aeration, mimicking
the repeat oxidisations at the Sant’Eustachio. After the pod was inserted, a
needle-like spout would pierce one end. Hot water would be pumped through this
needle at high pressure. As the capsule became pressurised with water, the foil
would be forced against a spiked plate, bursting it inwards, and out through
the spout would run an espresso.
Today, some 14bn
Nespresso capsules are sold every year, both online and from 810 brightly lit
boutiques in 84 countries. More than 400 Nespressos are drunk every second.
Hundreds of rivals and imitators have emerged, some making capsules for
Nespresso machines, others pushing competitor systems.
One line summary of
The author has gone
through all the classic finance books and distilled the message into a single
sentence or phrase.
A short history of money (with a
In his expansive and
excellent book A History of Money, author Glyn Davies lists six functions of
- Unit of Account
- Common measure of value
- Medium of exchange
- Means of payment
- Standard for deferred
- Store of Value
currencies don’t meet the sixth function—un-invested dollars (or euros, or yen)
dwindle in value over time. The modern dollar is an abstraction, created out of
thin air. It can no longer be converted into anything at a fixed price. Yet,
for most of its history money was tied to some underlying commodity.
The origin story of the
The story of the ubiquitous plastic container is a story of innovation and reinvention: how a
new kind of plastic, made from an industrial waste material, ended up a symbol
of female empowerment. The product ushered women into the workforce,
encouraging them to make their own money, better their families, and win
accolades and prizes without fear of being branded that 1950s anathema, “the
The most amazing
thing about Tupperware wasn’t that it extended the life of leftovers and a
family’s budget, although it did both remarkably well. It was, above all, a
career maker. When women came to one of Wise’s parties, they were more than
just convinced to buy the product— Wise was such a charming host that she
persuaded many buyers to also become Tupperware salespeople. Putting people on
waiting lists, for instance, made them more eager to buy, so she signed them up
regardless of whether the product was available. She also discovered that
throwing containers full of liquid across the room made customers reach
straight for their chequebooks. Amassing more and more saleswomen, Wise
encouraged her followers to do the same. Driven by the idea of making money
simply by throwing parties for friends and neighbours, the women in Wise’s
workforce ballooned in number. Wise’s team in Detroit was selling more
Tupperware than most department stores.
The evolution of emojis
This elasticity of
meaning is a large part of the appeal and, perhaps, the genius of emoji. They
have proved to be well suited to the kind of emotional heavy lifting for which
written language is often clumsy or awkward or problematic, especially when it’s
relayed on tiny screens, tapped out in real time, using our thumbs. These
seemingly infantile cartoons are instantly recognizable, which makes them
understandable even across linguistic barriers. Decoding pictures as part of
communication has been at the root of written language since there was such a
thing as written language.
pictures of actual things, like a drawing of the sun—were the very first
elements of written communication, found in Mesopotamia, Egypt, and China. From
pictograms, which are literal representations, we moved to logograms, which are
symbols that stand-in for a word ($, for example) and ideograms, which are
pictures or symbols that represent an idea or abstract concept. Modern examples
of ideograms include the person-in-a-wheelchair symbol that universally
communicates accessibility and the red-hand symbol at a pedestrian crossing
that signals not “red hand” but “stop.”