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The Sunday Drive - 08/20/2023

👋🏼 Hello friends,

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

🎶 Vibin'

Summer is winding down according to the calendar, but in my home state of Texas, summer doesn’t actually end until…. oh, who am I kidding? Summer never really ends in Texas. 🥵

In honor of my kinfolks roasting away in the Lone Star State, this week I’m vibin’ to Smooth by Santana and featuring Rob Thomas.


💭  Quote of the Week‌

"The man who doesn’t read good books has no advantage over the man who can’t read them." – Mark Twain


📈  Chart of the Week

Add this to the things we have to worry about…

Since the Great Financial Crisis, “Shadow Banks” (insurance companies, pension funds, hedge funds, etc.) have more than doubled in size and now eclipse the size of the regulated banking sector.

As the financial industry continues to push regulators to allow retail investors more access to alternative investments, one wonders if this is where many of the assets of these shadow banks ends up landing in the end. As with the financial crisis of 2008-2009, perhaps Main Street ultimately bears the brunt of the damage wrought by Wall Street.

I hope my worries are misplaced.

🚙 Interesting Drive-By's

This week we have articles on Plaid, Taylor Swift, the internet, and the electrical grid:

🤔 Plaid: Finance’s Next Great Network - from The Generalist

“First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.” That quote, usually misattributed to Mahatma Gandhi, is an apt summation of Plaid’s journey. From the perspective of the financial world’s big players, the startup has evolved from an irrelevance to a pest to an existential threat to a pivotal partner. [link]

📈 Disney’s Taylor Swift Era - from Ben Thompson

I have never seen anything like the phenomenon around this concert tour, and I have been alive for all the concert tours since the mid-70s…from a cultural standpoint, from a multi-generation standpoint: fathers and daughters, daughters and moms, multiple generations. You have people like my daughter who is 18, who has not even known life without a Taylor Swift song, and then you have people in their 30s who grew up with her, and then you have the moms who are used to listening with the daughters, and then the show itself: I had friends who went to the first show, and I think she played 45 songs — it was 3+ hours. This is like Michael Jordan shit, whatever is happening with her…

She’s sold out 6 straight shows here in Los Angeles; I’ve been here for 21 years I can’t remember anything as important as these Taylor Swift tickets, just being in the building for that. People coming from all parts of California to go, it’s really something. This is the summer of Taylor. [link]

🛜 The Internet is Still Early - from Evan Armstrong

  1. The internet is still underrated and only has <70% global usage

  2. The internet is mature enough, however, that we can begin to see its long-term impact

  3. The most important thing to know is that the internet is far weirder and more bizarre than we could’ve predicted

  4. Companies can take on much more ambitious missions while collapsing jobs, hiring one person where they would have hired two, and departments merging in ways totally impossible ten years ago

  5. Industries that many expected to wither at the advent of  the internet, like books and bookstores, are thriving

  6. AI is the culmination of thirty years of the commercial internet

  7. All of this change is terrifying and exciting. Founders and operators have the latitude to wildly experiment and reinvent in ways that were never before possible. [link]

💡 America’s Electrical Grid is an Incredible Feat of Engineering - from Anna-Sofia Lesiv

Three straight weeks of 110-degree temperatures in Phoenix. Deep freeze in Texas. A sweltering heat wave across nearly a third of the country. America’s power grid is under unprecedented strain from extreme weather caused by climate change—and it desperately needs modernizing. 

But it’s not so simple. The electric grid is a mosaic of incredible feats of engineering—an elaborate web weaving together power from nuclear reactors, massive hydroelectric dams, and even solar farms into a network capable of powering our homes and charging our cars instantly and reliably. [link]


👋🏼 Parting Thought

You may think you’re cool, but are you this dude, surfing a log with a big stick wearing long pants and a hat cool? 😎 (be sure to unmute).


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,