Dissecting the Markets's avatar

$97.5M follower assets

*not financial advice; all opinions
Portfolio Recap for 2022
Here's an image of how my portfolio has done compared to the market. Overall, my experience was less volatile than the market and in the end, despite enduring a decrease in portfolio value, my portfolio has outperformed the S&P 500.

There are a ton of crypto purchases throughout the first half of 2022 and then I stopped by the time I reached the middle of 2022. The main reason why I was big on crypto in 2022 was that in university, I was surrounded by friends that are into crypto, and being a part of the university's blockchain club inspired me to start buying more crypto. Besides $BTC.X, any other coins I bought were all bought mainly because they offered staking rewards.

Crypto remained a small part of my portfolio. Most of my portfolio is in $QYLD $O $STAG and $ADC. I initiated these positions during the later part of 2020 because I wanted to get away from the risky investments that I benefited from buying and move into investments that are safer and provide consistent income. At the time, I thought that the whole rebound in market performance wasn't sustainable. 2021 proved me wrong as things got even wilder and despite the FOMO I endured, I kept sticking to those dividend-paying stocks.

In a way, my crypto purchases during 2022 displayed the FOMO I had. Because I was able to control my FOMO, my crypto position remained a small portion of my portfolio.

I'm thankful that I chose to stick to the more conservative investments than chase the high-flying tech stocks. I'm thankful that I got to dip my toes in crypto. While I underperformed the market during the good times, I was able to outperform the market during the bad times. In the process, my monthly dividend income continues to grow and I continue to reinvest more dividend income into those same stocks.

As for my crypto position, I'll let my crypto portfolio remain the way it is. Since my crypto funds are either on the Coinbase exchange or Coinbase wallet and not FTX or somewhere else, I'm not stressing over crypto winter. The staking rewards will continue to be reinvested and I'm excited to see how many coins I have once crypto winter is over.

Everyone will get their time to shine. We just have to be patient and stick to our strategy.

I might be young, but I prefer consistent dividend income over the prospect of capital gains.
post media
Congrats on beating the S&P! You're in rare company with performance like that lately :)
View 4 more comments
Sneak peak of my write-up on Eventbrite $EB
If you've been following my commentary on the whole Taylor Swift and LiveNation $LYV fiasco, you know that I am hoping that Taylor Swift chooses to go DTC with her concert ticket sales in the future.

One company that I see helping Taylor Swift, along with many other artists, break free from the monopoly powers of LiveNation is Eventbrite.

While I can't say much about how fantastic this business is (other than that I'm thankful that it's trading below $10/share), I can only show you a sneak peek at how disruptive the business is:
post media
Looking forward to reading it. Curious to know what you think is one of the major obstacles with the implementation of a DTC model in this scenario?
View 2 more comments
Frontier Communications $FYBR aims to be the largest pure fiber broadband provider in the US
Remember Frontier Communications, the telecom company that was focused on providing DSL, cable, and fiber broadband to rural parts of the US? They bought Verizon Fios and other telecom broadband lines in order to grow and funded those acquisitions through debt. As interest rates grew, the company was burning cash. Meanwhile, the business continued to see customers reducing their consumption of Frontier's services and the business went bankrupt during the pandemic.

Well, that same company emerged form Ch 11 bankruptcy (similar to Hertz) and is now more focused to being the largest pure-play fiber provider in the US.

When looking at the adoption of fiber broadband throughout the world, we can see that only 16.5% of US residents have fiber broadband subscriptions. That's way lower than the average OCED nation (here's a list of OCED nations).

Regulations and legal fights that $CMCSA and $CHTR have done against pure fiber broadband proviers are a reason why many of these fiber broadband providers have struggled with building out more fiber in the country. Also, fiber broadband is more expensive than cable broadband and DSL.

Interestingly, cable cowboy John Malone, who owns a significant stake in Charter through $LBRDK, thinks that Frontier, $LUMN, and other fiber players are overbuilding fiber infrastructure. yet when considering the percentage of Americans that have access to fiber broadband in the first place, that number is very low.

Comcast is adapting to the growing threat of fiber broadband by upgrading their existing cable infrastructure, which cost 80% less than building a new fiber network. I wouldn't be surprised if Charter does the same and they both penny pinch their way in pleasing their customers before Frontier or anyone else comes in and offers fiber broadband.

With WFH and WFA remaining a major pandemic theme that continues to thrive in post-pandemic times, we need better internet more than ever. Without fiber broadband, we won't be able to adopt better WFH and WFA technologies that help us perform our work better. Software programs are going to start requiring more bandwidth. And cable transmission lines have their limits on bandwidth capacity.

Satellite internet isn't a threat to fiber broadband providers because the bandwidth that comes from satellites are a lot lower. The growth in 5G only creates more demand for optical fiber products and makes it more expensive for Frontier, Lumen, and other firms trying to build out more fiber broadband infrastructure because 5G towers need to be hooked onto fiber optic cables to transmit information.

Frontier is in a unique position to lead the growing adoption of fiber broadband in the US. Many telecom companies want to get in on the fiber broadband business and are looking for a build out partner. AT&T is one example, and they're working with Morgan Stanley to find that build out partner. T-Mobile is using Citi's help to find a partner for a fiber broadband joint venture. Both firms want someone to help them build out fiber broadband infrastructure and even to manage the infrastructure. Frontier is, in my view, best positioned to help these telecom companies with that. Plus, these telecom companies prefer to lease the fiber infrastructure than owning it since that's what they've been doing with cell towers for a long time. And these joint venture opportunities help Frontier expand into more populous areas, which brings more profits to the both of them.

Interestingly, according to AT&T, it's easier to sell wireless broadband to customers after they've been hooked onto fiber broadband services. AT&T has been busy ramping up its own fiber broadband business and the results are promising. While I haven't read much about T Mobiel or Verizon trying to expand into fiber broadband, all I know is that they're both busy with 5G and as mentioned before, T-Mobile is looking to get into the fiber broadband business.

$GOOGL is the only Big Tech firm that's getting in on the fiber game. Not many people talk about that business. Though its small compared to Google's other businesses, the large financial resources of Alphabet makes it a viable fiber broadband player and a player that has the best chances of dominating the industry, if it allocates more resources and attention to it.

And when considering the chart below, it helps to understand why Alphabet would also want to get in on the fiber broadband business.

And if you're wondering about the difference between 5G and fiber broadband the economics of it, here's a handy chart:

Frontier Communications is in the business of having to deal with high installation costs, which makes growth very expensive, but once installed, Frontier enjoys the low operational costs. Meanwhile, telecoms have to deal with lower installation costs because they just need to install one tower per area than place various wires through each home and then have to deal with high operational costs. This is what investors should keep in mind.

I'm not sure if the operational costs come from the leases of the cell towers or that cell towers are generally costlier to maintain, but if you have more knowledge about it, please let us know in the comments section.

As the fiber broadband buildout accelerates, Corning $GLW is seeing its fiber optic product sales surge. After seeing this CNBC documentary, I learned that fiber optic cables last a lot longer than copper wires and are more flexible and there has been a boom and bust cycle in the fiber optic business. After the dotcom bubble burst, when demand for fiber optic cable use plunged, fiber optic cables were on fire sale. There was too much "glass" in the ground compared to the demand for transmitting data through that glass. And in 2012, we saw fiber optic cables enter another boom. That boom then entered a new level once the pandemic came and faster internet was more important than ever as people were working from home.

I believe that with our policymakers' seriousness on improving internet connectivity in America, that this fiber optic boom will persist. Fiber broadband will help position America to capitalize on more phases of innovation and boost productivity at the same time. Hopefully people can see their disposable incomes grow so they can afford the fiber broadband subscriptions that will one day be offered to them in the future.

And I believe that Frontier will lead the fiber broadband boom.
post mediapost media
China equities bulls should get out while Chinese equities barely react to the Zero COVID lockdown protests
$PDD is up 12% today. $BABA is barely up by 0.5%. $BIDU is up 1.37%.

All on news of civil unrest rising throughout China? By the way, the civil unrest activities by anti-lockdown protestors throughout China are at an unprecedented level and these protests have the potential to reach the level that Mahsa Amini protestors in Iran currently have.

Meanwhile, China is looking to drastically expand its medical infrastructure. Most likely along the coast because of population density.

Chinese equity bulls now have two new bearish realities to deal with:

  1. China could undergo a civil war as the momentum of the Zero COVID protests grows. Factory workers are less willing to work in bad conditions and people are less willing to comply when the lockdowns have cost them their jobs and businesses. With a high risk of eviction among a huge subset of the population, people are reaching their breaking point.
  2. A drastic expansion of medical infrastructure would set alarm bells in the international community

Besides the hoarding of resources and talks with banks on protecting assets from sanctions, talks of a drastic expansion of medical infrastructure in China should also raise alarm bells among the international community. But because the context of the expansion is COVID, the international community isn't being critical about it.

Looking back at Russia's preparations for the invasion of Ukraine, throughout 2021, we originally saw the transportation of armor along the Ukrainian border to be a warning sign that Russia could invade Ukraine. But after we saw field hospitals being built along the Ukrainian border, we knew then and there that Russia will invade Ukraine. The field hospitals signaled seriousness in a country's invasion plans because no one would build field hospitals during a military exercise.

Now imagine if China didn't have a COVID issue and randomly started building tons of hospitals along the coastal cities. That would raise alarm bells that China is preparing for war with Taiwan (already, there are many signs that China has intent on invading Taiwan but without the medical infrastructure aspect, the media isn't taking the signs seriously). It wouldn't make sense that a country with no internal health issues would randomly focus on expanding its medical infrastructure.

And consider the scenario of Russia drastically expanding its medical infrastructure in the Western portion of its country. Rather than build field hospitals, it just built many more hospitals in the Western portion of its land. No COVID or other epidemic issues.

In that scenario, the entire Europe would be worried and think that Russia is preparing for a massive war with Eastern Europe. No field hospitals along the Ukrainian border. Just simply a drastic expansion of medical infrastructure in the Western areas of its territory. Already it raises alarm bells among the international community.

Thanks to Zero COVID, the world continues to think that China has a severe COVID issue and chooses to focus on that issue rather than the numerous activities happening under Zero COVID (like the massive buildup along the Fujian Province, hoarding of resources, and government officials demanding businesses to produce items for the PLA). Since Taiwan and China are separated by water and not land, China can't simply set up field hospitals because (1) it would look obvious that they're preparing for war and (2) there's a body of water separating the two.

As for the concern about the protests intensifying, my question to Chinese equity bulls would be: "let's say you held investments in Iran before the Mahsa Amini protests, would you still hold onto those investments throughout the protests knowing that these protests could turn into a civil war at any time?"

And I have another question for Chinese equity bulls: "if you held onto Russian equities before Russia started sending troops along the Ukrainian border, as you witnessed the continuous buildup of Russian forces and field hospitals along the Ukrainian border, would you have sold your Russian equities or kept holding them knowing that Russia is serious about invading Ukraine?"

These two questions relate to the two new bear cases being present on Chinese equities. If you're a Chinese equities bull, let me know your answers.

Meanwhile, I still think that China is "the big short" of this century and I don't trust anything that authoritarians say about how they want to improve their economy. Better to avoid investing in authoritarian-run nations knowing that they will endure the same fate as Russia than risk investing in them while carrying the false sense that China is different from Russia.
post mediapost media
Theatrical releases, Streaming Economics, Moving the Needle
$AMZN plans to spend $1 billion annually on the creation of movies that will be released in movie theaters. That's 12-15 movies a year.

Jeff Bezos, the former CEO of Amazon, wanted to use Prime Video as a way to boost Prime subscriptions and even boost the platform's e-commerce sales. While I think that the market for Prime subscriptions has saturated, Prime Video can surely help drive e-commerce sales by introducing products and services within their shows and movies that can inspire people to buy certain things (like how Netflix's The Queen's Gambit helped drive a surge in chess sets).

The great thing about these streaming companies releasing movies in theaters is that the huge profits that come from theatrical releases help these firms remain profitable despite the cash burn that comes with being a streaming provider. $PARA is one example where the profits from theatrical releases have helped the company maintain profitability despite the cash burn that came with Paramount+.

Ads are the key to profitability for streaming platforms. Without ads, it will be very difficult for streaming companies to break even on all the content spending as well as spending that comes with operating a streaming service. Look at Youtube, it's a video streaming service that is entirely reliant on ads. They've been able to become insanely profitable thanks to ads. Their revenues correlate with content consumption by users. Streaming companies that only provide a monthly fee and unlimited access to their platform are only making money from the monthly fee and don't receive more money whether the user binge-watches shows or not.

They're missing out on a massive profit opportunity.

While the move in implementing ads onto streaming services will take time, Prime Video is resorting to theatrical releases to generate profits.

Maybe the move to theatrical releases will help Amazon move the needle.

Simon Property Group is a mall REIT that does more than own malls
During the last few years of the pre-COVID times, many of us thought that JC Penny would follow the same fate as Sears: bankruptcy. But, JC Penny endured a different fate. A fate that Sears and other brick-and-mortar retailers that went bankrupt in the Age of Amazon envy: recovery.

When the COVID lockdowns came, many thought that it would be the final nail in the coffin for JC Penny. To many people's surprise, it wasn't. Thanks to a partnership between Simon Property Group and Brookfield Asset Management, JC Penny was able to escape Ch 11 bankruptcy. With the help of their landlord and an alternative investment management firm, JC Penny was able to avoid bankruptcy and received a $1.5 billion loan from Wells Fargo.
JC Penny wasn't the only retailer/tenant that Simon Property Group decided to help. Simon also helped out Brooks Brothers, Lucky Brand Jeans, and Forever 21 (which Simon also partnered with Brookfield on). Simon even partnered with Authentic Brands Group to acquire Eddie Bauer. Simon also owns Aéropostale in one of its earliest retail deals.

The big question that this article is answering is: why would a mall REIT want to get into the retail business?

The answer is complicated. On the surface, this move is an unusual move by mall landlords to save their businesses. How they conduct such endeavors without creating conflicts of interest is interesting.

Conflicts of Interest

According to Retail Dive, Simon Property Group has a joint venture with Authentic Brands Group to create a private equity entity called SPARC Group, which hopes to become an operating partner for struggling retailers. By leveraging each others' strengths, a mall landlord and a retail mogul are able to help struggling brands thrive once again.

Retailers do have an issue with Simon Property Group getting in on the retail business via their connection to SPARC Group. Rather than see their landlord, Simon Property Group, as just their landlord, they now see Simon Property Group as their competitor.

Also, the retailers that SPARC Group is acquiring also have leases with other mall REITs. Would a mall REIT be comfortable negotiating lease rates with a retailer that has a competing mall REIT as one of the tenant's shareholders?

And there are issues regarding whether Simon Property Group has shareholders' best interests by getting into the retail business as well as concerns about taxes and regulations and what rules the mall REIT should follow.

Inspiration Behind This Move

Simon's earliest retail deal was with Aeropostale. That deal has been a major success.
In 2016, Simon Property Group, GGP (now owned by Brookfield), and Authentic Brands came together to outbid Sycamore Partners with an acquisition of Aeropostale for $243 million.
The fact that two mall landlords and a retail brand management company chose to outbid a private equity firm does raise eyebrows because private equity firms are known for sticking to strict budgets and doing their best to avoid overbidding for deals. As history has shown, when private equity firms do overbid for deals, those deals don't go as well.

As for the inspiration behind acquiring Aeropostale, Simon Property Group saw that as mall owners tried various things to adapt to the changing retail environment, many have failed. Repurposing malls to boost consistent foot traffic failed. Meanwhile, retailers are either downsizing their mall footprint or are choosing to cancel leases within malls and move to suburban strip malls. Acquiring retailers and fixing them was a strategy that no other mall landlord has tried, yet.

With the "Amazon retail apocalypse" fears accelerating throughout the retail industry, many retail industry experts, who thought that their expertise could save some brands, ended up failing on those deals. As for the mall REITs, since they've been dedicated to being experts on real estate, the odds of them succeeding in trying to enter the retail industry are against them. Private equity firms meanwhile have had mixed success.

Besides the thought of not having the expertise to save the retailers, there's also the concern that if they don't attempt to save the retailers, then they'll be stuck with empty spaces for a longer time. Times are changing and Simon Property Group knows that waiting for another tenant isn't a viable strategy.

After a few years of being under the control of Simon Property Group, Brookfield, and Authentic Brands, Aeropostale became a trending Tik Tok brand. To understand how impactful the change has been, read this:

"According to Natalie Levy, president and chief merchandise officer at Aeropostale’s parent company SPARC, denim was just a small part of the business when she joined the company in 2017. The sales ratio for tops-to-bottoms was three-to-one, with graphic tees being the biggest selling item. Now, denim is the brand’s No. 1 category, with current sales 50% higher than in 2019.

The focus on denim was a strategic decsion, after several years of market research, said Levy. Aeropostale has been tracking Gen Z’s growing disinterest in skinny jeans, which were incredibly popular with millennials. Mom jeans, baggy jeans and “skater jeans” — all looser fits — make up 40% of Aero’s jeans sales for women, while jeggings largely account for the rest."

The focus on becoming a Gen Z brand was what greatly helped Aeropostale turn around its business. And thanks to the help of Brookfield, Simon, and Authentic Brands, they were able to have the resources to conduct that transition.

As for the other retail investments that Simon Property Group and Authentic Brands did during the pandemic (Forever 21, Brooks Brothers, Lucky Brand Jeans, and JC Penney), those retailers made $260 million in revenue within their brick-and-mortar locations and $3.5 billion in e-commerce revenue, all within their first year under management. For context, those four brands received $330 million in investment capital. That's a massive return on investment for both partners.

Here are more details on Forever 21's success:

"Forever 21 alone, which was acquired in February 2020, pre-pandemic, generated $75 million in EBITDA within the year. Simon’s total investment in the company was $67 million."

While those four companies got more than $300 million in rent deferrals and signed 1,400 leases, Simon Property Group did see its lease income decrease as more tenants were vacating. But thanks to the huge success of those retailers, Simon Property Group was able to see a lower hit financially from the decline in lease income.

Despite the major successes that these firms got from e-commerce sales, Simon Property Group still believes that retailers should focus on both their brick-and-mortar sales along with their digital sales. At the end of the day, there's an important experience aspect as well as a legitimacy aspect that comes with having a brick-and-mortar store. People have more trust in brands that lease storefronts than brands that are purely online. Amazon may be fully online but it took a long time for Amazon to gain the public's trust.

Present Day

As of lately, with all the impacts of inflation hurting consumers, Simon Property Group is concerned about the decline in discretionary spending and its impacts on the retailers it owns. At least the company's malls have an occupancy rate of around 93%.

Outside of retail, Simon Property Group is looking to create "a cutting edge flea market" model to reduce its dependence on anchor tenants. Also, Simon acquired a 50% stake in Jamestown, a mixed-use property developer.

In sum, Simon's methods of saving its business from the "Amazon apocalypse" has not only saved the business but have given the business huge returns on its investments. The conflicts of interest issue will continue to haunt Simon however, if Simon hadn't undertaken these bold endeavors, it would've seen its business decline alongside its peers.
Sounds like, at least in some areas of the market, reports of brick-and-mortar retail's death have been greatly exaggerated. 😊
Add a comment…
Why is Foxconn investing $170 million in Lordstown? $RIDE
Earlier this month, CNBC reported that Foxconn is investing $170 million into Lordstown, an electric truck startup struggling for a long time.

Lordstown's management team notes that they're still on track to deliver their first Endurance truck by the end of the year. So far, they've only built 12 trucks and hope to build 50 in total by December 31. Since the firm finally started production of the trucks in the end of September, investors are hoping that the company can start recognizing revenue in Q4 2022.

Under the terms of the investment deal, Foxconn will distribute the $170 million in three phases. The first phase will give the company $52.7 million and this will give the company an 18% stake in the business and allows Foxconn to designate two members on the board. This capital injection is what Lordstown badly needs as the business is barely surviving with a low amount of cash. At the same time, Foxconn becomes the largest shareholder of Lordstown.

At the time of writing, Lordstown has a $288 million market cap, giving Foxconn a 59% stake (assuming that the market cap remains the same throughout the three phases of capital injection).

Ohio Factory

When Lordstown Motors hit hard times, the company thought about renting space within their factory to generate revenue. But they didn't do it. Instead, they sold the Ohio factory to Foxconn for $230 million in May 2022. In that factory, it was reported that Foxconn will build electric tractors that also have autonomous features for a firm named Monarch Tractor. At the same time, Fisker $FSR is looking to have Foxconn produce their PEAR vehicle at that same exact plant.

And don't worry, Lordstown is producing their Endurance trucks at the Ohio factory too.

The Bigger Picture

Why is Foxconn interested in making a deal with Lordstown, a struggling electric vehicle manufacturer? Is Foxconn a vulture capitalist, one that buys shares of struggling companies at rock-bottom prices and then does anything to create a short turnaround for the business and take profits during the quick recovery?

The answer is: no. Foxconn is taking advantage of this opportunity to expand its manufacturing business into electric vehicles. The manufacturer produces our iPhones and other Apple gadgets. And while Apple's revenues continue to grow, its sales volume is probably declining. Foxconn wants to diversify away from Apple, away from producing consumer electronics and wants to get into the business of producing electric vehicles.

There are many startups that would prefer to outsource manufacturing of electric vehicles than try and create their own manufacturing capabilities in-house. Tesla tried to do it and because of it, they were burning huge sums of cash for many years and had issues with product quality.

Foxconn made a deal with Saudi Arabia's sovereign wealth fund to produce electric vehicles in Saudi Arabia. That same sovereign wealth fund has a 63% stake in Lucid Motors. With the Saudi government serious about becoming a major producer of electric vehicles, I wouldn't be surprised to see Foxconn see its fortunes swell as it helps Saudi Arabia become a major producer of electric vehicles.

And to show the seriousness of Foxconn's electric vehicle manufacturing ambitions, the CEO of Foxconn said last month that he wishes to one day produce electric vehicles for Tesla. So far, neither Tesla nor Elon Musk hasn't responded to Foxconn about possible business opportunities.

Foxconn has the potential to take over Lordstown and make it its own electric vehicle brand. I wouldn't be surprised if they do decide to take over Lordstown one day. It would be more profitable for them to do so if Lordstown demonstrates profitability in the production and sale of electric trucks. At the same time, Foxconn has its joint venture with the Saudi sovereign wealth fund and in this joint venture, Foxconn will be co-owning an electric vehicle brand with the Saudis. This would look something like Polestar, which is a joint venture between Volvo and Geely.

And while we're talking about Foxconn's EV ambitions, let's talk about Indonesia.

Another cool thing to note, Foxconn is looking to invest $8 billion in Indonesia's electric vehicle sector. The money will be split among many five firms, like state-owned Indonesia Battery Corporation, energy firm PT Indika Energy, and Gogoro (a Taiwanese electric scooter company known for its battery swap technology).

To sum it up, Foxconn's investment in Lordstown is the biggest positive development that has happened to Lordstown since its fall from SPAC glory. I am confident that Foxconn will help Lordstown get back on its feet and position it for long-term success. This investment will help Lordstown ride the massive adoption wave of electric vehicles.

This investment in Lordstown is one of Foxconn's many steps toward becoming a major producer of electric vehicles. It's currently the largest producer of consumer electronics and it hopes to replicate this level of success with electric vehicles.

As for the fraud aspect, all I have to say is that the management team that did the fraud left and I believe they're currently being prosecuted by the SEC. The new management team has worked hard to root out any fraud and has run the business with integrity. The Lordstown Motors of the past isn't the Lordstown Motors of today.
The value of Truth Social remains preserved
It doesn't matter to Truth Social that Trump got his account back on Twitter. That's because Trump made a deal with Truth Social where he has to make posts on Truth Social and he can't make the same post on another platform until the 6-hour time limit has passed.

With his upcoming election campaigns in 2024, anyone that wants the latest content from Trump will have to go on Truth Social. Those that don't care about getting the latest content from him and prefer to view their content on Twitter will have to wait for a while.

post media
A look at Tesla's BoD + a look at Tesla's legal department
In the wake of the FTX scandal, many are looking at the firm's board of directors and executive team and found the organization to be filled with people who have a history of cheating at poker tournaments and had other criminal records. Many on the board lack experience with running exchanges and handling securities.

A company that I have avoided and remain suspicious of is $TSLA. I followed TSLAQ for years and even though the stock has surged immensely since the days of "production hell," the fake buyout, and the executive exodus, I remain suspicious of the business and its financial results.

I saw this tweet screenshot in my camera roll. The significance of this tweet was that it confirmed that I'm not alone in questioning the competency of Tesla's BoD.

And after going through all the board members, I've verified his claims and concerns.

  • Robyn M. Denholm, chairwoman of the board, is a VC.
  • Ira Ehrenpreis is a VC.
  • Hiro Mizuno was a UN Special Envoy on Innovative Finance and Sustainable Investments
  • James Murdoch was once big in the media industry
  • Kathleen Wilson-Thompson was once an executive at Walgreens and Kellogg's
  • Joe Gebbia co-founded $ABNB

Where are the manufacturing specialists? Where are the automotive specialists? Where are the solar and battery specialists? And no, being a special envoy at the UN for sustainable investments doesn't count as being a specialist in batteries and solar energy, in my view.

When you look at board members of other companies like Apple and Target, you'll find people that are experts in the industries that those big companies are in. In Target's BoD, you'll find many folks that are actual specialists in the retail space. In Apple's board of directors, you'll find people that are specialists in advanced technology. In both companies' board of directors, you'll find people that know how to manage and navigate through supply chains and manufacturing issues.

Besides board incompetency, the executive exodus at Tesla is unprecedented. This type of behavior is something you normally find in companies that have serious issues internally. Look at this chart from 2019:

From following the company's executive departures for years, I noted that after many of the experts left the company, Tesla replaced them with people from within the company. It's fair to say that the company is run by Elon Musk loyalists.

From December 2018 to December 2019, Tesla lost three general counsels. What type of company loses three general counsels in a single year? In August, a legal blog named Above The Law noted that many are confused on who exactly is the General Counsel of Tesla as well as whether the legal department at Tesla is functioning or not.

Are investors comfortable investing with a company that has a legal department running on autopilot? Are investors comfortable investing in a company whose board is filled with VCs and not experts of the auto industry, manufacturing, supply chains, etc.?
post mediapost media
Thanks for sharing your thoughts. I have a position and I see no red flags. All of this seems more like speculation.

While I do agree, the board lacks specific experience, are there any actual red flags?
View 4 more comments
Will Taylor Swift go DTC with her concert ticket sales?

Taylor Swift has finally came out and voiced her frustration with the Ticketmaster fiasco. Here's what she said in their Instagram Story:

Taylor Swift said that she wants to provide more opportunities to fans eager to go to her concerts. In my memo from yesterday, I had a prediction that Taylor Swift will make her own concert ticket platform and go direct-to-consumer with her concert tickets. I hope I'm right because that looks to be the best solution to this problem.

Some talk about reselling bots being an issue but I choose to set those issues aside because the bot issue relates to the platform itself. LiveNation allows reselling bots to buy and sell tickets from the platform. It doesn't violate LiveNation's terms and conditions. As for Taylor Swift, she can make it illegal for anyone to use bots to buy her tickets.

Others have considered using the metaverse as a way for Taylor Swift to scale her concerts. During the pandemic, The Weeknd hosted a virtual concert on Tik Tok and the digital experience felt like being in the metaverse as a ghost. There are artists that have performed concerts on Roblox. Some artists have streamed concerts for Oculus VR headset users.

If we want to take the metaverse thing a step further, if hologram technology takes off, we can see artists perform in one area and a hologram of the artist will appear in other venues for people to watch (inspired by Black Mirror S5 E3).

After considering the technology we have, the actions that Taylor Swift has been doing to make herself less dependent on intermediaries (link), and the strong reactions from the Taylor Swift community, I have a question for you:
Will Taylor Swift go DTC with her ticket sales?
14 VotesPoll ended on: 11/19/2022