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.

Real Estate

Why the Great Divide Is Growing Between Affordable and Expensive U.S. Cities (WSJ Real Time Economics)

Zoning regulations and available land are two of the key drivers that decided whether a city remains affordable and grows or gets expensive and doesn’t. [Link]

Developers Are Turning Rust Belt Hulks Into Luxury Hotels by Patrick Clark (Bloomberg)

Rust-belt architecture is being converted by hoteliers into youth-friendly attractions. [Link]


A Congress of Robert Reichs by Rob Reich (Medium)

Put this in the “LOL” file, with little intellectual content.  However, any time there are three notable people all with the same name at a single event, people tend to notice. [Link]

Celebrating 25 years: FRED birthday fun facts (The FRED Blog)

We use the Federal Reserve Economic Data service (FRED) daily to retrieve information about financial markets and the US economy, so we were thrilled to see the service note that it’s been around for 25 whole years with a list of “fun facts”. [Link]

Tech Origin Stories

The Real Story of How Amazon Built the Echo by Joshua Brustein (Bloomberg)

The inside story on one of the most unusually loved tech devices to be released in recent years. [Link]

The Untold Story of Magic Leap, the World’s Most Secretive Startup by Kevin Kelly (Wired)

Another development story, this time taking place in unlikely Southern Florida. Magic Leap is a start-up focused on creating lenses which can augment reality and be used to turn every situation into a way to interact with machines in a new and innovative way. [Link]

I Have No Idea What This Startup Does and Nobody Will Tell Me by Sam Biddle (Gawker)

Helena appears to be some kind of foundation…or is it a company?  Are the celebrities and high-profile “influencers” it claims really associated with it? Read on, this was a fascinating story. [Link]

Millennial Demographics

Shut Up About Harvard by Ben Casselman (538)

Most US students do not go to hyper-competitive undergraduate schools.  While the media focuses on a narrative that obsesses over admittance rates at a few elite colleges, less than 4% of US undergrads attend schools that accept 25% or fewer of their applicants. [Link]

Americans are becoming more socially liberal — except when it comes to divorce by Catherine Rampell (Washington Post)

In an era when only men were socially permitted to earn income outside the home and retirement income was most likely to come from children, marriage was probably best described as a mutual investment.  Now, it’s probably best described as consumption. [Link]

The Average 29-Year-Old by Derek Thompson (The Atlantic)

We love this piece, which knocks down a series of absurd assumptions made by the media and the culture at large about who Millennials are. [Link]

Office Perks Are Dumb by Rebecca Greenfield (Bloomberg)

Are free beer, snacks, and ping pong a way to attract the best workers or just a strategy to pay them much less? [Link]

Emerging Markets

Mr. Erdogan Will See You Now: Welcome to Banking’s Toughest Job by Onur Ant (Bloomberg)

The Central Bank of Turkey governor has gotten increasingly creative trying to keep the currency and rest of the macroeconomic landscape stable. So of course he has been fired. [Link]

Goldman Sachs: Firming Fundamentals for Emerging Markets Will Prove Fleeting by Luke Kawa (Bloomberg)

Emerging markets equities have had a fantastic run, but Goldman Sachs’ research suggest a short-term bounce has been driven by macro factors. [Link]

Big Profiles

The $2 Trillion Project to Get Saudi Arabia’s Economy Off Oil by Peter Waldman (Bloomberg)

A fantastic interview covering the man responsible for a historic economic and social shift, one of the largest in the world. [Link]

The Secret History of Tiger Woods by Wright Thompson (ESPN)

Deep inside the rise and fall of Tiger’s game and the unique twists and turns he has experienced in the rise to greatness and commensurate fall. [Link]

Big Ideas

Musk’s Secret Plan to Curb City Traffic With Self-Driving ‘Bus’ by Marie Mawad (Bloomberg)

After dreaming up the Hyperloop and continuing to roll out electric cars at present, the Tesla founder isn’t satisfied. We can’t say we’re surprised. [Link]

Can Sean Parker Hack Cancer? by Clifton Leaf (Fortune)

The Napster founder and early VC for Facebook is trying to fund and organize a revolutionary effortto reduce death from cancer. [Link; autoplays video]

Turning Cycles

On the Road to Recap: Why The Unicorn Financing Market Just Became Dangerous…For All Involved by Bill Gurley (Above the Crowd)

A summary of the general conditions and general outlook in tech VC at the moment. [Link]

This Short Seller Has Raised $100 Million to Bet Against a Single Stock (Reuters for Fortune)

Kerrisdale Capital, a small hedge fund based out of New York, is short $100mm worth of a single stock.  We can’t blame him for being secretive about it. [Link]


A Wine Mogul Says Fidelity Cheated Him Out of Millions by Neil Weinberg (Bloomberg)

Conflicts of interest, Chinese companies, and 9 figure law suits abound in this tick-tock covering the painful blow up between Fidelity and Peter Deutsch. [Link]

Amazon Doesn’t Consider the Race of Its Customers. Should It? By David Ingold and Spencer Soper (Bloomberg)

Rapid delivery via Amazon Prime Now is widely available in American cities…but often not in areas that have mostly minority residents. [Link]

Start a 14-day no obligation free trial to sample Bespoke’s premium research.  Our Bespoke Report newsletter sent to paid members every Friday is a great read if you’re looking for additional weekend reading.

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