Edition #14

October 11th, 2019


Three big things: the most important forces shaping the world (Morgan Housel)
+ Morgan Housel's latest piece is a tour de force of the biggest trends that are shaping our world today. Here are our thoughts in a nutshell:

1. Demographics and the connection with small private business.
Every day, roughly 10,000 people retire in the US. Many of these represent small business owners who are ready to step back from day-to-day operations. This is one of the key points in our thesis on why partnering with retiring executives in family-run businesses can be a win-win for everyone. We are striving to be an integral part of this demographic wave for years to come.

2. Wealth inequality and political change to tax and business policies.
There is no doubt that growing inequality between the top 1% and the bottom 99% is spurring political angst on both the left and right. If the current trend continues unabated, there is a high risk of backlash against business owners and high earners. Current business tax rates in the US are as low as they've been since the early 1940's, but the political atmosphere is darkening on such business-friendly policies.

3. Information flows, industries, and the way we work.
Last, and potentially most important, the internet. It is changing the face of nearly every industry today, from retail to media to real estate. The internet is even changing the way younger generations work (remotely). Small businesses have never been easier to start with the technology available today. Indeed, the team has connected with many of its closest contacts due to the vast reach of the internet. This trend will only accelerate in the years to come in new and profound ways.


How remote work is quietly changing our lives (Recode)
+ "
After years of growth following the recession, America’s three biggest metro areas are now shrinking. Part of the reason is that Americans, particularly millennials, are “moving toward sun and some semblance of affordability,” Derek Thompson wrote in the Atlantic. Those areas include smaller, secondary cities, as well as rural areas."

It dominates everything it touches, but can it compete against Walmart? (Institutional Investor)
Amazon's operational strategy for last-mile dominance will have a massive impact on many small businesses in numerous industries: "For investors, Amazon’s last-mile strategy is also having a wide impact on a range of collateral businesses, from transportation services to industrial real estate to financial services." *Bonus: we've written extensively about Amazon on our site.

The map and the terrain (Andreessen Horowitz)
+ This piece by Ben Horowitz underscores the importance of a CEO/CFO relationship and how both must possess a strategic vision for the company and a path to sustainability as a business.


US cities are working to curb the rise of Dollar Stores (The Hustle)
+ "There are about 30k dollar stores in the US today. Per Axios, that’s more than the total number of Walmarts and McDonald’s combined. And discount juggernauts like Dollar Tree and Dollar General — which became the fastest growing retailer in the US in 2018 — have no plans to stop."


Control or be controlled: sales forecasting done right (Andreessen Horowitz)
+ "...“control” means putting in place a strong sales, forecasting, and deal qualification process. This is not some nice-to-have operational exercise — it’s a must-have for successfully scaling your company."

For sale at YouTube: political ad space in 2020 (Wall Street Journal $)
+ Get ready for the 2020 elections to ramp up - and the surge of political YouTube ads. The increased demand for 2020 election ads will mean more expensive ad placement for businesses universally.


Why reverse mentoring works and how to do it right (Harvard Business Review)
+ "Reverse mentoring pairs younger employees with executive team members to mentor them on various topics of strategic and cultural relevance. This approach has precedent: in the late 1990s, GE's Jack Welsh used reverse mentoring to teach senior executives about the internet. But modern reverse mentoring extends far beyond just sharing knowledge about technology; today’s programs focus on how senior executives think about strategic issues, leadership, and the mindset with which they approach their work."

GE freezes 20,000 pensions (The Hustle)
+ Pensions are nearly extinct, and GE's slow move into the 21st century with new benefit plans illustrates where company and retirement benefits are heading in the future. Going forward, companies will be transferring more of the investment risk to employees rather than keeping it on their balance sheets.


Mapping the world's growing plastic mountain, one bottle at a time (Reuters)
+ Ever wondered how much plastic our world produces and throws away? Look no further - it may make you think about drinking that next bottled water.

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