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.

Corporate News

Amazon.com Takes Aim at Victoria’s Secret With Its Own $10 Bras by Khadeeja Safdar and Laura Stevens (WSJ)

The latest market eyed by Amazon is one we wouldn’t have predicted: intimate apparel for women, a space that seems much less amenable to ruthless logistics than other areas the company has focused on. [Link; paywall]

Samsung battery factory bursts into flame in touching Note 7 tribute by Shaun Nichols (The Register)

Not content to be declared a civil aviation hazard, Samsung’s now setting fires at the recycling facility that is processing the batteries after they’ve been turned in. [Link]

Channeling Steve Jobs, Apple seeks design perfection at new ‘spaceship’ campus by Julia Love (Yahoo!/Reuters)

A look inside the giant corporate headquarters Apple has built itself in Silicon Valley, complete with seamless door frames and the feel of a landed alien spacecraft. [Link]

Economic Whimsy

Economics: An Illustrated Timeline by Heske van Doornen (The Minskys)

A one-stop shop for quick summaries of economic thinkers over time. [Link]

Karthik Sankaran’s guide to macroeconomics, in verse by Karthik Sankaran (FTAV)

Eurasia Group’s director of global strategy rolls out his hilarious version of economic thinking, properly metered. If you can’t get through this without at least one snort of amusement, you’re probably not an economics nerd! [Link; registration required]


Here’s why golf balls have dimples by Mike Nudelman and Elena Holodny (Business Insider)

This may be common knowledge for those who avidly roam the links but we hadn’t heard it before: dimples are key to stabilizing the spinning white balls and reducing drag. [Link]

Injection could permanently lower cholesterol by changing DNA by Michael Le Page (New Scientist)

This therapy is probably years from widespread adoption but it’s a good example of the rapid progress being made in gene editing and just a hint of what may be to come in the space. [Link]

Economic Updates

Lawler on Household Projections by Tom Lawler (Calculated Risk)

Recent changes to estimates of net migration by the US Census which have nothing to do with recent political events (though could be exacerbated by them) suggest that current estimates for households occupied in the United States are much too high. [Link]

U.S. Firms Slash Interest Tab in $100 Billion Refinancing Blitz by Matt Wirz (WSJ)

In the month of January alone, firms refinanced an astound 12 figures worth of debt, reducing coupon payments in enormous chunks. [Link; paywall]

Here Comes the Economic Growth That Confidence Data’s Predicting by Luke Kawa (Bloomberg)

A round-up of “hard” economic data that’s starting to put some backbone in the “soft” survey improvements seen since the election. [Link]


Local voting figures shed new light on EU referendum by Martin Rosenblaum (BBC)

A summary of new data which reveals key drivers of voting decisions to remain or leave in last summer’s referendum on the EU. [Link]

Money Managers

Hedge Fund Investor Letters Show Managers Are Stumped by Trump by Simone Foxman (Bloomberg)

A nice round up of the diverse perspectives held by hedge fund managers with respect to the new administration and what it means. [Link; auto-playing video]

A Quiet Giant of Investing Weighs In on Trump by Andrew Ross Sorkin (NYT)

This piece was probably the one we saw shared the most this week in our Twitter feeds; some perspective on what the new President means for his portfolio from Seth Klarman. [Link; soft paywall]

Tiger Hedge Funds Become Wall Street Prey by Juliet Chung (WSJ)

Stock pickers in general had a tough showing in 2016 but some of the hardest hit may have been the investors who trace their “family” tree back to the legendary Julian Robertson. [Link; paywall]


They Came to Ski Idaho Slopes. Now They’re Saving the Ski Resort. by Conor Dougherty (NYT)

An oral history of a community effort to make the first new US ski hill in a generation work. The best anecdote involves repo men in helicopters. [Link; soft paywall]

NLRB rules football players at private FBS schools are employees by Lester Munson (ESPN)

Big-time college football may be poised to change significantly as the National Labor Relations Board has ruled that private schools must treat their football players as employees. [Link]

Patriots Love ‘Heads’ in Coin Toss; Super Bowl Bettors Bank On It by Victor Mather (WSJ)

A European bookmaker is a taking a bath after taking prop bets without doing its due diligence. [Link; paywall]

Long Reads

Serial Killers Should Fear This Algorithm by Robert Kolker (Bloomberg)

A deep dive on murder data, clearance rates, and the uses of big data sets in helping police identify serial killers (as well as other murderers). [Link]

The New Face of American Unemployment by Jeanna Smialek and Patricia Laya (Bloomberg)

A portrait of Americans who are not employed and can’t find work, despite tighter labor markets and an expanded economy. [Link]


China’s Middle Class Anger at its Education System Is Growing by Lauren Teixeira (Foreign Policy)

Admissions quotas, regional rivalries, and parents desperate to make sure their children are given the opportunity to succeed. Welcome to China’s educational system. [Link]

Millennials across the rich world are failing to vote (The Economist)

A summary of voter turnout trends and their implications as the old start to outnumber the young significantly for the first time ever. [Link]


One Tiny Widget’s Dizzying Journey Shows Just How Critical Nafta Has Become by Thomas Black, Jeremy Scott Diamond and Dave Merrill (Bloomberg)

An illustrated example of how complex modern supply chains are; efforts to erect protectionist schemes around the world are playing with a very delicate system. [Link]


As Trump Vows Building Splurge, Famed Traffic Choke Point Offers Warning by Charlie Savage (NYT)

An admittedly extreme but nonetheless informative study of behavior organizing itself around fixed assets, and the resulting creation of interest groups that can get in the way of broader efficiency. [Link; soft paywall]

Have a great Sunday!

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