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.

Active Management

The Money Management Gospel of Yale’s Endowment Guru by Geraldine Fabrikant (NYT)

A view inside the adversarial yet collegial world of Yale’s $25 billion dollar endowment, captained by multi-decade veteran David F. Swensen. [Link; paywall]

DAN LOEB: We used to pick stocks in a ‘virtual bubble,’ but now the investing game has changed by Rachael Levy (Business Insider)

Third Point’s Loeb argues that while the firm still focuses closely on single-stock picking, adapting to the increasingly macro-driven nature of equity markets involves significant use of data and risk management. [Link]

Day Traders Confuse Retiring Baseball Player for Bank of Japan’s Governor by Lorcan Roche Kelly, Gearoid Reidy, and Sid Verma (Bloomberg)

Following vaguely worded tweet by a Japanese day trader with a significant following online, there was a brief panic that the BoJ’s Governor Kuroda was headed for a resignation. [Link]

Big Hit on Drug Stocks Caps $26 Billion Decline for John Paulson by Gregory Zuckerman (WSJ)

One of the “heroes” (in terms of returns, anyways) of the subprime crisis is suffering through an epically bad run of things in 2016 as pharma has crushed returns. [Link; paywall]


The ‘Ice Cream’ That Helps You Slim Down or Swole Up by Carrie Battan (Bloomberg)

Ice cream is in many ways the epitome of “junk” food but a new offering that clocks in at a scant 240 calories per pint promises the same indulgence with none of the guilt. [Link]

Hatched From Peanuts, the South’s Hot New Oil by Kim Severson (NYT)

The origin story and appeal of a new spin on a cheap and classic staple of the American obsession with fried foods. [Link; paywall]


The Finance Sector Is Feeling the Robot Burn by Richard Partington (Bloomberg)

A rundown on how technological advances (including digital check handling, a rare area where US payments tech is ahead of the UK) are impacting the British financial system. [Link]

Here’s why financial firms’ fintech strategies are failing (BI Intelligence)

Even if new technologies can help improve efficiency, they aren’t always effective in doing so. Business Insider’s Intelligence briefing provides some explanation around what’s getting in the way. [Link]

Venture Capitalists Get Radical and Invest in a…Bank by Telis Demos (WSJ)

The combination of fixed infrastructure costs and regulatory requirements are increasingly forcing financial technology platforms to work as a part of chartered banks; hence the interest in New Jersey’s Cross River Bank. [Link; paywall]


Australian impostors play official golf tournament in North Korea (BBC)

The only golf course in North Korea played host to a pair of Aussies masquerading as professional golfers, who were able to compete in a tournament and return from the authoritarian country without incident. Our favorite quote: “I hit 120 and my caddy told me I had bought great shame to my family.” [Link]

How Podesta’s Gmail Account Was Breached by William Bastone (The Smoking Gun)

Another example of how modern electronic communication systems are not invulnerable to human error, even if they’re very secure without mistakes from users. [Link]

Real Estate

Tesla unveils its solar roof and Powerwall 2 by Roberto Baldwin (Engadget)

Updates to the residential offering from Tesla’s Solar City subsidiary caused a stir given how little they stand out; the new tiles look exactly like traditional roof tiles. [Link]

America Is Building More Three-Car Garages Than One-Bedroom Apartments by Patrick Clark (Bloomberg)

While it’s still possible to build large houses in outlying areas at a combination of price point and builder margin that works, doing so with small residences inside urban areas is a much tougher proposition. [Link]


ESPN Loses 621,000 Subscribers; Worst Month In Company History by Clay Travis (Outkick The Coverage)

Amidst an all-out assault on the historically dominant bundle model of cable TV, ESPN is losing subscribers at an alarming rate per Nielsen figures; though the company disputes those figures. [Link]

Fox Business Network Sees First Monthly Win Over CNBC by Chris Ariens (TVNewser)

CNBC viewership has been falling for years, but it retains its top spot amongst business channels in the coveted 25-54 demo. Fox Business has been gathering steam, logging its first ever monthly viewership win over CNBC in October. [Link]


A Little-Noticed Fact About Trade: It’s No Longer Rising by Binyamin Appelbaum (NYT)

We would contest the notion that declining trade intensity of GDP is going “little-noticed”, but Appelbaum does a good job summarizing the odd fact that trade is not rising faster than the growth of output around the world. [Link; paywall]

Why does the BEA think American media are in a golden age? by Matthew Klein (FTAV)

A dive deep into the NIPA tables for an analysis of why the Bureau of Economic Analysis’ “newspaper and periodicals” series is not even close to accurate. [Link; registration required]

The Tradeoffs in Leaning Against the Wind by Francois Gourio, Anil K Kashyap, and Jae Sim (IMF Conference Papers)

New research from a trio of Federal Reserve economists argues that restraining excess credit growth at the cost of lower output and inflation. [Link; 48 page PDF]


Instagram Wants to Ease Its Users into Shopping by Sarah Frier (Bloomberg)

As Instagram matures, the company (a unit of Facebook) is searching for ways to monetize users not by raw display advertising, but via actual purchases through the app. [Link]

Socially Influenced Preferences by Chris Dillow (Stumbling and Mumbling)

Are our choices natural or nurtured? This isn’t just an age-old philosophical question but is also a key for economists who depend so much on modeled assumptions about preferences of consumers and other kinds of agents. [Link]

Modern Politics

White House Announces Plans for Transition of Twitter Handles by Derek Wallbank (Bloomberg)

When the election is all wrapped up, one of two possible teams will have to take over the bevy of Executive Branch Twitter accounts. Such is life in our era of social media. [Link]

Fantasy Sports

Daily Fantasy Sports Firms Said to Unite Under DraftKings CEO by Eben Novy-Williams, Alex Sherman, and Scott Soshnick (Bloomberg)

After facing bans, fighting tooth and nail for customers, and trying to reinvent how we gamble on sports, daily fantasy leagues are starting to consolidate. [Link]

Frontline Reporting

28 hours: Leading the Mosul attack, under fire then trapped by Arwa Damon (CNN)

In an astounding feat of embedded reporting, a CNN crew moved into the teeth of the fighting around Mosul with a convoy of Iraqi special forces. [Link]

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