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Americana: A 400 Year History of American Capitalism

Economic history books tend to be dry. Not so with Americana: A 400 Year History of American Capitalism. The author does a very good job of weaving threads of stories together to keep the narrative fast paced and interesting. The story spans from the Mayflower in the 1600s through the iPhone in 2007. I previously posted the Mayflower story, as I hadn’t before seen details on how the oft...

One step ahead of the Pandemic

When the world gives you a pandemic, make lemonade??? Maybe, if what your city needs most of all is lemonade. Most likely it is something else. But what? Well… unless you live in China, the good news is that some country is ahead of yours in terms of dealing with the pandemic, and thus you can look to see how they dealt with their epidemic to better guess how your customers will deal with...

The Pandemic-induced Economic Crisis

I’ve been writing about how the pandemic is a causing hunger crisis in the poorer countries. The Los Angeles Times published an article predicting that the pandemic-induced economic crisis in these countries could cause more loss of life than the virus. My fear is that the big institutions that have the means to mitigate these issues won’t do so until the death toll gets large. My...

Coronavirus = Hunger in Africa

Over a month ago I warned that the coronavirus pandemic is more than a health crisis in Africa (and the rest of the emerging market countries). Last week I posted the first signs of that coming crisis. It’s here. WATCH: Thousands of people in South Africa stand in a line over two miles long to receive food amid the coronavirus crisis. pic.twitter.com/2rzl2SLHV8— CBS News (@CBSNews)...

Sharing Equity with Employees

There are a few aspects of venture capital whose origins are lost to history. One of these is the 20% stock option pool. Or more simply, the idea that everyone in the startup should own (at least a small amount of) the equity. Does this idea date all the way back to Rock and Davis, or did it come later? Why 20%? Why not 10% or 33% or 50%? Was this idea ever debated, or did one VC decades ago tout...

America Started with Capitalism

The story of the Pilgrims and the Mayflower taught to every American child in every American school is less than half of the actual story. Obviously there are a lot of day to day details left out, but the most striking of the omissions is the fact that the endeavor was a for-profit business. The corporate side of this story is told in the first chapter of Americana: A 400-Year History of American...

The Coronavirus Hunger Crisis

If 200,000 (on the way to 400,000) deaths from Covid-19 were not enough to worry about, there is the coming hunger crisis across at least half of the world caused by the lockdowns and economic collapse. I predicted this a month ago and have been talking almost daily with entrepreneurs in Africa with actual stories of the food system collapsing. The New York Times wrote about this crisis a few...

Pandemic Response per GDP

McKinsey latest report on the pandemic response in Africa includes this very interesting chart of the size of the government responses to the pandemic as a percentage of GDP: It is interesting as South Korea and Italy both spent very little, with vastly different outcomes. It is interesting as if there is any correlation here, it is that the smaller the outbreak, the less spent on stimulus. Thus...

Impermanence (Goodbye Hub Seattle)

Nothing lasts forever is misleading. It implies that some things last for long periods of time. Western philosophy craves stability, predictability and tradition.  We want today to be a lot like yesterday.  We get upset when it isn’t. Buddhism has a different view.  Buddha taught that the only constant is change.  That nothing ever stays the same.  That everything is...

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