Welcome to Bespoke Brunch Reads — a linkfest of the favorite things we read over the past week. The links are mostly market related, but there are some other interesting subjects covered as well. We hope you enjoy the food for thought as a supplement to the research we provide you during the week.

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mRNA

How to make a messenger RNA vaccine: inside the RNA manufacturing process (GreenLight Biosciences)

A quick read on how vaccines which rely on messenger RNA (mRNA) are manufactured. This is the core technology behind both Pfizer (PFE) and Moderna (MRNA) vaccines. [Link]

Why Moderna’s Vaccine Win Is a Giant Leap Against Pandemics by Max Nisen (Bloomberg)

New mRNA technology offers the promise for very rapid and scaled vaccine development as new pandemics emerge, and offers a series of key advantages over traditional vaccine manufacturing processes. [Link; soft paywall]

Immunity to the Coronavirus May Last Years, New Data Hint by Apoorva Mandavilli (NYT)

While there have been some isolated cases of reinfections, clinical data from blood samples of post-infection COVID patients suggests that the immune response to infection provides antibodies which are likely to last for years. [Link; soft paywall]

Social Media

Twitter rolls out Stories, aka ‘Fleets,’ to all users; will also test a Clubhouse rival by Sarah Perez (TechCrunch)

This week Twitter introduced a copycat feature that has been a part of Snapchat for years, and is considering a feature that works like audio-based social space Clubhouse. [Link]

Parler Makes Play for Conservatives Mad at Facebook, Twitter by Jeff Horwitz and Keach Hagey (WSJ)

A social media company supported by the financial backers of Breitbart News is making a play to draw disaffected conservatives from more traditional social media networks. [Link; paywall]

Thanksgiving

GasBuddy Study Finds 45% Fewer Travelers on the Road This Thanksgiving, Gas Prices Projected to Be Lowest Since 2016 (GasBuddy)

With the threat of the pandemic, many Americans are forgoing their traditional Thanksgiving gatherings, and that’s going to mean a lot less gasoline demand than normal. For those who do drive to see family, gas prices are set to come in much lower than historically normal. [Link]

38% of Americans planning a big Thanksgiving despite COVID-19: survey by Jesse O’Neil (NYP)

While there are major risks to large group gatherings amidst a global pandemic, COVID isn’t stopping about a third of the company from getting together for turkey this year. [Link]

Pressured Business Models

A Covid Baby Bust Is Bad News for These Businesses by Saabira Chaudhuri (WSJ)

The coronavirus pandemic is driving birthrates down dramatically, putting fresh pressure on demand for products designed for babies. [Link; paywall]

Retail Chains Shed Stores, but It Isn’t Good for Business by Suzanne Kapner (WSJ)

With so many stores empty, retailers are shuttering locations en masse, and as a result may have a hard time capturing demand when consumers feel safe walking the aisles again. [Link; paywall]

Rent Seeking

New York’s 4-Year-Olds Are Mastering Zoom to Get Into Elite Kindergartens by Amanda L. Gordon and Janet Lorin (Bloomberg)

The traditional interview process for elite kindergartens in New York City (yes, seriously) has moved to online meetings. Best of luck to the parents that need to keep kids under 5 focused for a Zoom call. [Link; soft paywall]

The Weekly Planet: What Donald Trump Taught the Electric-Car Industry by Robinson Meyer (The Atlantic)

With the auto industry pursuing its inevitable transition away from fossil fuels, Big Car and Big Oil are no longer playing on the same team when it comes to lobbying in Washington DC. [Link; soft paywall]

Finding Homes

Seoul converts hotels into studios to ease housing crunch by Song Jung-a (FT)

The South Korean government is purchasing 114,000 units of hotels and offices which are standing mostly empty thanks to COVID, aiming to ease a housing crunch. [Link; paywall]

Semis

Steve Jobs’s last gambit: Apple’s M1 Chip (Om)

A technical walk-through and deep dive into the implications of Apple’s new M1 chip, which packs graphics, basic processing, RAM, and other aspects of system architecture into a single, extremely efficient package. [Link]

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Have a great weekend!

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