Weekend Briefing No. 408
Welcome to the weekend.
First of all, I want to give big thank you to everybody that donated to our Giving Tuesday campaign with The Adventure Project. Y'all are amazing! Our goal was to raise $5,000 to support Charlot. We raised $4,856. If we hit our goal, then the donation will be matched and we'll create $10,000 of impact. There's still time to give. So, if you want to be the person that puts us over the top, click here.
Secondly, On an unrelated (and frankly way less important) note... I'm really excited about my December playlist. This month the playlist is all mellow electronic covers of famous songs like Tiny Dancer, Fly Me to the Moon, Like a Prayer, Time After Time, Electric Feel, Wonderwall, Redemption Song, Don't Speak, Rolling in the Deep, Higer Love and much more. I went a bit overboard. The playlist is 4 hours + long. I hope you dig it. Send me a note telling me what your favorite track is.
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50—Lionel Messi wins Ballon d'Or as soccer's best male player for the record 7th time.
60—Baidu and Pony AI are granted China’s first license to operate their autonomous vehicles, or robo-taxis, in a designated area of Beijing that covers 60 square kilometers.
6%—The price of batteries fell 6% in 2021 to $132 per kilowatt hour, down from $140 per kilowatt hour in 2020.
Supply Chain Issues
We’ve all heard that there are supply chain issues that are doubling shipping times. But why? Every step of the supply chain is going wrong, all at once. Take the Port of Los Angeles for instance. Here are all their pain points: (1) There are long waiting lines to get in. What started a year ago with a half-dozen container ships that dropped anchor in the bay nearby has ballooned into a maritime parking lot that currently exceeds 70 vessels waiting an average of more than 18 days. (2) Containers are stuck on the dock. Once dockworkers unload containers full of goods, the lack of yard and warehouse space to store them often results in the metal boxes having nowhere to go. (3) There is a shortage of chassis (trailers that containers sit on to be moved later) and truckers. Cargo containers need to be fit on a chassis that connects to a truck or train to get them off the yard, but tariffs have made it difficult to import new chassis to meet the demand. On top of that, the U.S. is short about 80K truck drivers. (4) Empty containers get loaded back on ships. Roughly four in five containers leaving the Port of Los Angeles are now empty, up from three in five pre-pandemic. The carriers are expediting them back to Asia so they can charge high rates for the U.S.-bound journey. (5) There are crowded warehouses. There is 70 million more square feet of warehouse space needed to meet demand, but building is slow because the supply chain issues are making it difficult to get building materials. Bloomberg (14 minutes)
Parachute and $200K
Fifty years ago this fall, a man jumped from a Northwest Airlines plane with a parachute and $200K. on November 24, 1971, a man identified as Dan Cooper (but nicknamed as D. B. Cooper by a reporter) jumped from a Northwest Orient Airlines plane with $200K. What we don’t know: what happened to him afterward. It remains the only unsolved case of air piracy in U.S. history. The FBI conducted a massive search in the rugged and thorny presumed drop zone, but neither Cooper’s body nor parachute was ever discovered. The search was so exhaustive that it even turned up two bodies the authorities weren’t looking for: a missing, murdered woman at the bottom of a cistern and an injured hunter who had died in the woods. But a pittance of Cooper’s ill-gotten fortune was found. On Sunday, February 10, 1980, more than eight years after the hijacking, a young boy named Brian Ingram and his cousins were playing in the sand on Tena Bar on the Columbia River, about nine miles downstream of Vancouver, when Brian found some $20 bills. Two hundred and ninety of them, in fact. All of the serial numbers matched Cooper’s cache. Was the money buried near there? Had it washed downstream through the vast Columbia River watershed? To date, that’s the only money that has turned up from the heist. Portland Monthly (17 minutes)
The Billionaire’s Gambit
How will the 1% prepare for market uncertainty? Trick question. They already have. Billionaires have invested in an unexpected asset to shield their wealth from volatility: contemporary art. With inflation at 6.2% and the pandemic still disrupting markets, wealthy individuals are selling their stock positions at an alarming rate. Here are the three reasons why investors are allocating to Masterworks art like never before: 1) Contemporary art prices outpaced S&P 500 by 174% from 1995-2020. 2) Deloitte predicts the global value of art held by the ultra-wealthy to grow by $1 trillion in under 5 years. 3.) Low correlation to public equities. Now, you can diversify your portfolio with the same type of paintings collected by billionaires. A new platform called Masterworks allows you to invest in multimillion-dollar paintings by artists like Banksy Picasso, and Warhol. Weekend Briefing readers can jump the waitlist and get immediate access by clicking this private Weekend Briefing link. Masterworks (Sponsored)
After surveying 1,250 nonprofit professionals in North America and Europe, Salesforce.org just launched the 4th Edition of the Nonprofit Trends Report. It covers how nonprofits around the world have been performing in an increasingly virtual workspace, with a focus on how they are traversing the shifts in the workforce; trends in diversity, equity and inclusion; and the biggest challenges that nonprofits face today and in the future. Some key insights include: (1) 78% of respondents said in the next three years, it was likely that they would only operate/exist virtually. (2) 49% of nonprofits said that over the past 12 months, their organization has changed its approach to diversity, equity and inclusion. (3) During the past 12 months, 36% of respondents report they invested in new technology such as a customer relationship management (CRM), collaboration/productivity tools, analytics, artificial intelligence and automation, with 87% (who invested in new tech) reported it as impactful. Salesforce (6 minutes)
Despite drawing more than 14 million people a year—higher attendance than all NYC-area sporting teams combined—Broadway shows rarely have happy endings in the financial sense. On Broadway, approximately 80% of producers and investors struggle to recoup their investments, a number that has stayed consistent since at least the 1960s. The upfront cost, known on Broadway as capitalization, is usually $3 million to $5 million for plays and $10 million to $20 million for musicals. Operating costs, ranging from marketing to equipment rentals, easily total $200K a week and often more than $500K. Then there’s the theater owners who charge the producers a weekly flat fee—usually $10K to $20K—that covers the owners’ entire costs, including property taxes, the mortgage, staff wages and all the way down to toilet paper. On top of the fees, they take 5%-7% of the weekly box office gross. This money is pure profit and can easily top $100K for a hit show and $25K for a struggling show. When shows do make money, the operating profits get funneled into a “royalty pool” to be divided among the creative team and investors, who usually get 65%. When enough profit has been made to surpass the original production budget, the lead producers, who at first make just a small, fixed fee and a slice of the creative team’s portion of the royalty pool, start receiving as much as 50% of the investors’ portion of the royalty pool. The Hustle (13 minutes)
Normie’s Guide to Crypto
This is one best introduction articles to crypto I’ve ever seen. That’s probably because it’s less of an article and more of a jumping off point to a bunch of great content. If you’re skeptical of the whole crypto scene (who can really blame you), but you’ve concluded that this thing isn’t going away, you’ll want to at least get the basics. This is a perfect starting point. Plus you can learn a little cryptospeak along the way. For instance: (1) FUD: “Fear, uncertainty, doubt” is a catchall phrase for any kind of negativity, criticism or bad news about a crypto-currency (even if it happens to be true). (2) WAGMI: “We’re all gonna make it” is a rallying cry, an expression of camaraderie and optimism. (3) MOON: If a coin is mooning, that means its price is soaring. New York Magazine (21 minutes)
Back in September, El Salvador became the first in the world to accept bitcoin as legal tender. But that’s not enough for 40-year-old tech bro President Nayib Bukele. Bukele recently announced plans to build a new Bitcoin City at the base of the Conchagua volcano in El Salvador’s southeastern La Unión region. Yep, no income or capital gains tax in Bitcoin City; only a form of Value Added Tax (VAT). In place of tax revenue, the city will draw on geothermal energy from Conchagua to power bitcoin mining and funnel profits back into infrastructure and services. And Bukele wants to kickstart construction with a $1 billion bitcoin bond, which the country will issue in 2022. New World Same Human (5 minutes)
Washington by Ron Chernow. Celebrated biographer Ron Chernow provides a richly nuanced portrait of the father of our nation. The book follows Washington through his troubled boyhood, his precocious feats in the French and Indian War, his creation of Mount Vernon, his heroic exploits with the Continental Army, his presiding over the Constitutional Convention, and his magnificent performance as America's first president. Despite the reverence his name inspires, Washington remains a lifeless waxwork for many Americans, worthy but dull. He is an iconic man of granite self-control. He often arouses more respect than affection. In this groundbreaking work, based on massive research, Chernow dashes the stereotype of a stolid, unemotional man. A strapping six feet, Washington was a celebrated horseman, elegant dancer and tireless hunter, with a fiercely guarded emotional life. Chernow brings to vivid life a dashing, passionate man of fiery opinions and many moods. Probing his private life, he explores his fraught relationship with his crusty mother, his youthful infatuation with the married Sally Fairfax, and his often-conflicted feelings toward his adopted children and grandchildren. He also provides a lavishly detailed portrait of his marriage to Martha and his complex behavior as a slave master. Buy
Most Read Last Week
The Adventure Project—Support female entrepreneurship in Kenya.
Innovation—TIME magazine just released “The Best Innovations of 2021” list.
Grief and Art—This is an interview with Andrew Garfield on The Late Show. Stephen Colbert asked him how performing and art helps him deal with grief.
About the Weekend Briefing
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If the freedom of speech is taken away, then dumb and silent we may be led, like sheep to the slaughter. –George Washington
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