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The Sunday Drive - 07/23/2023

👋🏼 Hello friends,

Greetings from Saratoga Springs, NY! Let's take it easy and enjoy a leisurely Sunday Drive around the internet.  

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🎶 Vibin'


The world lost a(nother) legend this week. The incomparable Tony Bennett passed away at the age of 96. The marker of a full and beautiful life is the positive impact one has on the lives of others. Through his lifetime of musical contribution, in particular the countless duets he performed with a myriad of fellow artists, I think we can consider Mr. Bennett’s life both full and beautiful.

I listened to many, many of his duets, looking for just the one to share this week. This one stood out. So, this week, I’m vibin’ to Stranger in Paradise performed by Tony Bennett and Andrea Bocelli.

RIP, Mr. Bennett. The world is a much poorer place without you in it.

💭  Quote of the Week‌


"You have to do your job. It has to be like the first time you've ever done it, and it has to feel inspired." – Tony Bennett

📈  Chart of the Week


The Chart of the Week shows the recent dramatic drawdown rate of consumer bank balances. Some would argue that the long awaited recession that so many prognosticators have been predicting since the Fed started raising interest rates early last year has merely been delayed due to all the pandemic related stimulus in 2020 and 2021.

While I am a wee bit sympathetic to that argument, I view it as incomplete, if not circular. After all, where was the recession in 2019 before COVID and all the resulting fiscal and monetary stimulus? While it may seem like ancient history after what the world has lived through the last 3 1/2 years, but I recall the economy being fairly robust back in 2019.

Another point I’d make in relation to this week’s Chart is that we’ve heard ad nauseam about how people have been moving money out of low yielding bank checking and savings accounts and into CD’s, money market funds, and in many cases a healthy dose of T-bill and Chill.

So in my view, I think the economy has remained fairly solid partly because, perhaps, not that much money has left the system. That, coupled with a still strong labor market, in part due to demographically-driven supply constraints, has proven thus far enough to stave off the much anticipated recession.

🚙 Interesting Drive-By's


This week we have articles on labor shortages, older workers, and AI

📉 The Worker Shortage Will Get Worse Not Better - from Patrick Watson

Wishful thinking is a powerful force. We all want to believe good things are coming.

But here’s the rub: Your brain’s happy thoughts are separate from real-world events. A positive attitude, while good, won’t necessarily solve your problem.

We see this in employers struggling with the labor shortage. They kept finding reasons it was just temporary.

Initially they said the extra COVID unemployment benefits were keeping people at home. Then the benefits ended, and workers were still scarce.

Next it was going to be a recession that would force all the lazy bums back to work. That didn’t happen either (at least not yet).

While the labor market is indeed losing some momentum, employers are still listing far more open positions than we have warm bodies available.

All this is happening for specific, long-term reasons. Some folks keep thinking those reasons will change. They won’t.

📈 Data and Compute are the Ultimate Flywheel - from Abraham Thomas

The 2010s was the decade of data explosion. The world began to create, log, and use more data than ever before, and the big winners in the tech industry—whether social media companies like Meta or e-commerce giants like Amazon—made the most of it. 

But the dawning AI era is changing the playing field. Data and compute have created a flywheel—driven by language models—that generates more digital information than ever before. This shifts where value sits in software ecosystems, and presents key opportunities for large incumbents and new startups.

🤔 What are the 5 Pieces of Wisdom You’d Offer Someone Younger? - from Chip Conley

One of the beauties of getting older is making sense of our experiences. Our painful lessons of the past become the raw material for our future wisdom. And not just our wisdom but the insight we pass on to those in our lives. After all, wisdom is not taught, it’s shared. So, how might you package up your metabolized experience and deliver it as distilled compassion to someone younger than you?

💡 The Value of Older Adults in the Workplace - from McKinsey & Company

Around the world, a meaningful share of adults aged 55 and older—about 20 to 25 percent—say they want to work but aren’t doing so, according to a recent survey by the McKinsey Health Institute (MHI). Respondents cited difficulty landing a job and a lack of attractive opportunities as the greatest barriers to employment.

Recent AARP research also notes the desire of many older adults to stay in the workforce—and not just for the paycheck, says Jo Ann Jenkins, chief executive officer of AARP.

“Perhaps even more important than pay, people of all ages want flexibility” from their employers, Jenkins says. That includes older workers who still have a lot to contribute to the bottom line as companies seek to address gap shortages in the labor force in the United States and globally.

🤓 How Builders Think - from Gena Gorlin

Here’s a pattern you might recognize:

You have some goals you care about—for instance, you want to develop a personal exercise routine, or make your tech startup profitable.

You know these goals will take a lot of discipline to achieve, and perhaps you’ve even tried and failed at them multiple times before. You decide it’s time to “get serious” and “lay down the law.” You try to channel the spirit of Michael Jordan or some other hard-driving athlete you admire. So you sign up for a rigorous and competitive training program, and you come down hard on yourself any time you start falling behind—first by chastising yourself to try harder, or compelling yourself to step up, and eventually calling yourself a “loser” and “lazy.” Likewise, maybe you try to channel Steve Jobs’s famously demanding leadership style at work, both modeling and expecting long, grueling hours in pursuit of the ambitious growth targets you’ve set for your team.

👋🏼 Parting Thought


“It can't destroy a hotel room, it can't throw a TV off the fifth floor into the pool and get it right in the middle. When AI knows how to destroy a hotel room, I'll pay attention to it." - Joe Walsh of The Eagles

If you have any cool articles or ideas that might be interesting for future Sunday Drive-by's, please send them along or tweet 'em at me.

Please note that the content in The Sunday Drive is intended for informational purposes only, and is in no way intended to be financial, legal, tax, marital, or even cooking advice. Consult your own professionals as needed.

‌I hope you have a relaxing weekend and a great week ahead. See you next Sunday...

Your faithful financial provocateur,