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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Entrepreneurship Ups & Downs

Inside the $400 Million Family-Run Supermarket That Helped Launch Martha Stewart and Paul Newman by Leigh Buchanan (Inc.)

A profile of a grocery store beloved in the Bespoke offices, which has managed to gain serious ground in a very competitive market in the Tristate area. [Link]

“Everyone’s For Sale”: A Generation Of Digital-Media Darlings Prepares For A Frigid Winter by Joe Pompeo (Vanity Fair)

An overview of profitability pressures, revenue growth slowdowns, and liquidity pressures that have digital media start-ups seeking sales at 95% discounts and cutting staff. [Link]

American Entrepreneurs Who Flocked to China Are Heading Home, Disillusioned by James T. Areddy (WSJ)

American entrepreneurs and investors who flocked to China are starting to come back, grappling with worsening conditions for foreigners driven by Chinese politics and grand strategy. [Link; paywall]

Miscellaneous Stories

How missing Dubai princess practised her escape by Sanya Burgess (Sky News)

The story of Sheikha Latifa bint Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the daughter of Dubai’s ruler. After a failed escape attempt involving scuba-diving with an underwater scooter and an abduction via helicopter from India where she was seeking asylum. [Link]

The Oral History of ‘San Junipero’ by Charlie Brooker, Annabel Jones, and Jason Arnopp (Vulture)

Black Mirror is known for its dystopian, horrifying vision of the future, but the episode entitled San Junipero offered an optimistic view of human connection and the technology that can make it easier. [Link]


Gross capital flows by banks, corporates and sovereigns by Stefan Avdjiev, Bryan Hardy, Sebnem Kalemli-Ozcan and Luis Servén (BIS Working Papers)

This new paper attempts to disaggregate gross capital flows (that is, inflows and outflows, rather than the net numbers which tend to get more attention) by sector, with important empirical findings. [Link]

Japan’s age wave: Challenges and solutions by David Bloom, Paige Kirby, JP Sevilla, and Andrew Stawasz (VOX EU)

A review of the challenges and possible solutions related to aging populations, using Japan as an example for both. [Link]


Iowa Democrats Say They Want Generational Change by Reid J. Epstein and Janet Hook (WSJ)

An interesting straw poll of Iowa’s Democratic leadership suggesting that many Presidential front-runners face a significant headwind in their bids for early delegates: their age. [Link; paywall]


Titans of Junk: Behind the Debt Binge That Now Threatens Markets by Shannon D. Harrington, Sally Bakewell, Christopher Cannon and Mathieu Benhamou (Bloomberg)

Data and analysis on the massive junk bond market, which has grown dramatically in size over the last decade as global bond buyers have bid up the asset class. [Link; soft paywall]

The U.S. Housing Boom Is Coming to an End, Starting in Dallas by Laura Kusisto (WSJ)

Part of the ongoing series of worries about the US housing market, featuring unsold houses in the booming Dallas economy and price cuts on new builds. [Link; paywall]

So Far, the Corporate Tax Changes Have Been a Bust by Matthew C. Klein (Barron’s)

Benefits promised by lawmakers related to corporate tax cuts passed at the end of last year seem to be making little difference across a variety of metrics: corporate investment, dividends and buybacks, and repatriation. [Link; paywall]


Microsoft Pushes Urgency of Regulating Facial-Recognition Technology by Jay Greene and Douglas MacMillan (WSJ)

Competition in facial recognition technology has led to some unlikely outcomes, including some of the companies involved calling for regulation in the space. [Link; paywall]

The Friendship That Made Google Huge by James Somers (WSJ)

Everyone knows Larry and Sergey but another less-heralded duo also made the world’s link to information via search what it is today. [Link]

Tesla drove 7 miles using Autopilot as driver allegedly slept drunk behind the wheel by Rob Thubron (Techspot)

Don’t drink and Autopilot. A California man turned on the Tesla feature and then fell asleep as his car continued to drive, making it 7 miles before police officers intervened. [Link]

Financial Industry

The Amazing Madoff Clawback by Tunku Varadarajan (WSJ)

Bernie Madoff’s Ponzi scheme was the largest ever, and trustees trying to return investors’ money expected to get back only 5-10% of what investors had put in. At this point, claims have seen recovery rates of almost 75%, a remarkable figure all things considered. [Link; paywall]

Nasdaq moves into ‘alternative data’ with Quandl acquisition by Robing Wigglesworth (FT)

Desktop data provider Quandl proved an inviting target for the exchange company, which has started moving into non-traditional data sources. [Link; paywall]

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Have a good Sunday!

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