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#83:

🤫This week's subject line is from Jack Ma's comments advising couples on their lovemaking – it's the 5th story down if that's what you're here for! 
One of the most bizarre stories I've come across recently. A ring of people have been running this (to be honest, GENIUS) scam in Haryana:

  • They find terminally-ill people and buy them accident insurance policy.
  • When the person dies from the illness, they take the body and make it look like an accidental death – by running it over with a car, dropping it from a building, (insert other horror scene from Final Destination), etc..
The scam was only discovered because the insurance companies suddenly had to deal with so many accidents in the same area.

🦹‍♂️Morbid, but genius.

I sent the article to an insurance-tech startup founder, who wrote back to assure me that their technology would have detected strange behaviour earlier!

🦸🏽‍♂️The hustle is all around us.
Speaking of hustle, WeWork is a really fun company to follow.

🙇‍♂️CEO, Adam Neumann has a way of bringing spirituality and higher purpose into everything:.
  • Neumann told a reporter in 2017 that WeWork’s 11-figure valuation had less to do with its revenue than its “energy and spirituality.”
They're now creating an investment fund to buy companies where WeWork will be a major tenant. The fund is called ARK. From CEO Adam Neumann:
  • Why the name ARK? “There are a lot of explanations,” he says later. “Adam, Rebekah, and Kids—that’s one.” His wife, Rebekah, is a WeWork co-founder; they have five children. He doesn’t contest a more Biblical origin, noting that “Noah’s Ark represents a covenant between God and the people to never destroy the world.”
  • The following day, a spokesman stresses that Neumann’s first answer was a joke, and offers a third option: “Asset, return, kicker.”

My snarky commentary can't beat these original quotes:
  • It’s just past 11:30 a.m. when a male assistant in a black baseball cap delivers a shallow gray ceramic bowl with brown grains and a spoon. “I haven’t broken my fast yet,” the 40-year-old CEO says apologetically, instead of using the word “breakfast.”
  • While he’s known as a fierce and unpredictable negotiator whose bargaining tactics include tequila shots, he’s also always ready with a pep talk about finding your purpose, doing what you love, and making people feel less alone.
🤯Go read it.
Paid fun here
Back to stories re: the thriving enterprising spirit in India, here is a fun story about how on Instagram in India, it's paid sex for sale.

And here I was thinking it's just TikTok that's mucking about.

There's a whole subculture, complete with norms and methods (PayTM is essential) – the article really reads like a cheat sheet to some…

😉Elsewhere: Tearing down P*rnhub's Pricing

ज्ञान
👀I guess every generation does the same dance – just in different ways. It's interesting to see how these experiments are working though.
🤔According to Ma, couples should treat "669" as their "marriage KPI": having sex 6 times over 6 days in a week. In Mandarin, the number "9" also means "long-lasting" or "long duration".

I thought I was a pain about setting OKRs and KPIs but this guy seems to know how to make it fun. Make of that what you will…

Worth a read. Michael Milken is best known for inventing the junk bond while still in his 20s. This changed finance forever, but ultimately put him in prison.

🙌This is the story of his second coming. And how he has successfully created a new legacy for himself in a whole different industry.
The WhatsApp Economy
Enterprising housewives in apartment buildings are making money in their kitchens. Building residents use WhatsApp groups to order food, and it arrives home-cooked and still hot.

I'm intrigued to see how tech startups try to get their tentacles into this.
This story is pretty representative of how we do things in India. We're betting big on investing on the theme of enabling middlemen/traders/brokers/re-sellers, etc. as I have talk about out all the damn time. 🙊

🎯BUT the corollary I am getting to is this: SO much "economic activity" in India is informal and we tend to make little of it. We make little of it because we don't have the right lenses to understand it, e.g. "GDP" is an unfair metric for so many reasons.

🤯Long read, thought-provoking. 

Hat tip to reader Puneet Kaura for sharing this original piece on how the shift from information scarcity to information abundance is transforming commerce, education, and politics

Intuition is "the ability to understand something instinctively, without the need for conscious reasoning."

😳Gut decisions are behind a lot of we get right. We look back, but we can never quite put our finger on why we felt an inkling.

This article demonstrates how ML will enable us to understand how we make these kinds of decisions.

😕tl;dr: "Muslims, like other socio-religious communities, are more concerned about poverty, employment and education than a threat to religious identity"
Climate change denial as a case study
I binge-listened this podcast recently. It explains how energy companies successfully waged a campaign against the idea of global warming.
It's a beautiful case study on how to sustain a marketing messaging campaign.
Tl;dr:
  • Back in the 1980s, the story was totally different – Exxon were the good guys leading massive R&D initiatives aiming to innovate out of the climate change problem.
  • But then oil prices fell, margins were squeezed and business regulations started closing in. So the energy companies created a lobby and decided to go on a multi-pronged offensive to protect their businesses. This included campaigning with these strategies:
    • Spread mixed messages to create confusion
    • Make people on the other side appear "out of touch" (e.g. tree-huggers, hippies, etc.)
    • Move the debate away from rational debate towards core fundamental beliefs and theology ("being American means being pro-business")
    • Divert budgets to academic research at top universities; sit on the committees which approve the initiatives which will get funded
    • Put the blame on individual bad habits ("use plastic bags") to shift the narrative away from business interests.
I was blown away by the extent to which these firms went to hide the problem.

💡I also came across an important term: "false equivalism" that affects good, ethical journalists in particular.
These journalists are wary of not being objective or biased so they always want to present a balanced argument.

🤢False equivalism means "giving equal converage to both sides even when they are not equally valid".

For example, in the climate change "debate", deniers are often given an equal voice even though their beliefs are shaped by non-scientific reasons. This can serve to legitimise their arguments.
Make Your Career Great Again
Hit that reply button if you want a… job…  nay – a whole new way of life.

Love you.

😏"They're very nice people"

– Adam Neumann (CEO, WeWork) about Softbank, after they cut down their proposed investment from $16bn to $2bn.

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