Sunday assorted links

by on November 5, 2017 at 1:40 pm in Uncategorized | Permalink

1 Ray Lopez November 5, 2017 at 1:30 am

Good stuff here. Street food in North Korea? Dirt right?

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2 ChrisA November 5, 2017 at 2:04 am

On 4, a good example of how the Amazon branding has succeeded. People know you should get good prices on Amazon and so will buy without checking prices elsewhere. Of course if I were that guy I would be keeping pretty quiet about my business, it could be easily replicated.

The conjoined twins story in 3 is probably one of the most interesting things I have read all year. Imagine being able to control three legs, what does that feel like? Or see through 4 pair of eyes.

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3 BC November 5, 2017 at 2:40 am

#4) Shopping service, not arbitrage.

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4 clockwork_prior November 5, 2017 at 3:54 am

Number 4 proves that Keynes was right about meaningless actions generating economic activity that can then be considered contributing to growth.

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5 JWatts November 5, 2017 at 4:01 pm

The service isn’t meaningless. The company in the article is just another form of an Outlet store. Countless Outlet stores exist on the same model.

Or do you mean meaningless in the Ivory Tower sense? IE something that an intellectual fails to understand and therefore classifies as meaningless, because of a superiority complex.

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6 Tanturn November 5, 2017 at 4:13 pm

+1

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7 Careless November 5, 2017 at 4:22 pm

The interesting thing is that Walmart, which is, I believe, #2 in online sales, can’t do this itself

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8 TSB November 6, 2017 at 2:21 am

Walmart has a higher opportunity cost on management effort and floor space.

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9 Careless November 6, 2017 at 1:29 pm

But Walmart knows its own inventory. That seems like a huge advantage over having to send people out to go see what’s there then try to find what will be profitable

10 JWatts November 6, 2017 at 4:44 pm

“The interesting thing is that Walmart, which is, I believe, #2 in online sales, can’t do this itself”

Walmart hasn’t done this yet. That doesn’t mean they won’t in the future.

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11 Former Walton Drone November 6, 2017 at 6:05 pm

Enterprising Walmart return center managers have been selling stuff on EBay and Amazon quietly for years.

The trash to treasure ratio is pretty crummy though.

12 Ted Craig November 5, 2017 at 5:21 am

2. My main disagreement with this is that I think Facebook is more fragile than people believe. That doesn’t mean I see it falling somewhere south of CB radio tomorrow. But I do agree about other aspects of the piece.

When I read this a few days ago, I was reminded of Pierre Boulle’s “Planet of the Apes.” In the book, the apes take over not due to a catastrophe like nuclear war or pandemic. Rather, people just give up because “it’s easier.” The same happens with Amazon and Google.

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13 Todd K November 5, 2017 at 5:47 am

1b: It looks like Tyler forgot to link to an article next to the one on street food in North Korea called: “There is No Stagnation in Exoskeletons”.

“My rookie mistake, I realized, was not trusting the machine and trying to compensate for what I thought were its shortcomings with my own bumbling efforts to support myself and move my legs. ”

Do read the whole thing (TM):

https://www.reuters.com/investigates/special-report/health-exoskeleton/

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14 Barkley Rosser November 5, 2017 at 1:50 pm

The link on North Korea said nothing about this, but I am wondering if these street food markets exist outside of Pyongyang, which is about as far as most journalists can get there, or maybe in a few other cities/towns. When there was actual famine it was in the countryside, especially in the northeast, not in Pyongyang or particularly close to it, which is in the southwest basically.

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15 rayward November 5, 2017 at 2:04 pm

2., 3., and 4. connect but I’m not sure how 1. and 5. connect to the others. How do competitors displace Google and Facebook and their near monopoly on digital advertising? Undermine their credibility in what is not actually their businesses (i.e., search and sharing) (by, among other things, questioning the independence of the searches and the sharing). How do competitors undermine a company, Amazon, that doesn’t earn profits but whose stock is up in the stratosphere, making it possible for Amazon to grow without profits (it’s stock funds its growth)? Undermine Amazon’s stock price (by, among other things, the arbitrage described at the link). Credibility is a fragile thing. Of course, Silicon Valley is not your friend. https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2017/10/13/opinion/sunday/Silicon-Valley-Is-Not-Your-Friend.html

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16 A Truth Seeker November 5, 2017 at 2:04 pm

#2 Facebook are controlled by sociopathic bandits. In any decent country, they woukd have been shot long time ago. It is a shame that in America money can buy anything.

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17 dearieme November 5, 2017 at 2:15 pm

#5: What a number of jobs for the boys can be created by a simple gift.

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18 Careless November 5, 2017 at 3:15 pm

#2 “GOOG and FB now have direct influence over 70%+ of internet traffic.”

pornographers hardest hit

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19 Anonymous November 5, 2017 at 5:07 pm

#2 lists a lot of recent achievements, but the projection hinges on (a) a few tech titans sewing up an information monopoly and (b) at the same time avoiding regulated monopoly status.

Possible, but I don’t think it has ever happened. People fear, and regulate, great concentrations of power.

I think to get to a dark future you need to have these titans maintain a false but believable diversity. Potemkin villages as Facebook pages and YouTube channels. I would hope people don’t accept that, but who knows.

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20 Jack PQ November 5, 2017 at 5:09 pm

#4. There is no arbitrage. Entrepreneur earns $60,000 a year. That’s pretty much the opportunity cost for a smart entrepreneur. On the contrary, this item confirms markets are efficient and trying to arbitrage stuff pays off pretty much the opportunity cost.

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21 Careless November 5, 2017 at 8:53 pm

He was making much more than $60 a year and left the job while letting the rest of the unspent cash go back into the business. So not only is that not his opportunity cost, it doesn’t sound like he has an opportunity cost regarding that business at this time (he’s not directly involved)

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