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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Emerging COVID-19 success story: Vietnam’s commitment to containment by Todd Pollack, Guy Thwaites, Maia Rabaa, Marc Choisy, Rogier van Door, Duong Huy Luong, Dang Quang Tan, Tran Dai Quang, Phung Cong Dinh, Ngu Duy Nghia, Tran Anh Tu, La Ngoc Quang, Nguyen Cong Khanh, Dang Duc Anh, Tran Nhu Duong, Sang Minh Le, and Thai Pham Quang (Our World In Data)

Aggressive quarantining, cheap and rapid testing, comprehensive contract tracing three degrees of separation out from confirmed cases, and other keys to Vietnamese victory against the COVID outbreak. [Link]

COVID Underdogs: Mongolia by Indi Samarajiva (Medium)

Mongolia has not only had no community transmission, but zero cases that were not directly (and often intentionally) imported from other countries. Here’s how the relatively poor but super-committed country managed to completely crush the virus. [Link]


Party Guests Won’t Talk After 9 Test Positive. Now They Face Subpoenas. by Ed Shanahan (NYT)

A Rockland County house party with 100 attendees turned into a COVID hotspot, but various guests refused to talk to contact tracers. In response, local health authorities are issuing subpoenas which carry $2000 per day in penalties. [Link; soft paywall]

Only 1 in 5 isolating when COVID symptoms develop, King County says (KOMO)

King County (anchored by Seattle) is expanding its contract tracing team, but the results so far suggests an utterly depressing one-in-five people are not immediately isolating when they develop symptoms, keeping transmission chains intact. [Link]

New Models

Credentials Don’t Count on the Internet. Just Ask Nathan Tankus by Peter Coy (Bloomberg)

One of the newest entrants to the world of economics commentary is Nathan Tankus, a largely self-taught expert on the architecture of payments and monetary infrastructure, self-funds via an independent newsletter. [Link; soft paywall]

How Substack has spawned a new class of newsletter entrepreneurs by Steven Perlberg (Digiday)

Creatives are focusing on relatively modest but meaningful incomes that can be generated from their expertise in niche topics that have committed followings which traditional media might not pay attention to. [Link; soft paywall]

Alt Data

Traders thought Apple had ‘the holy grail’ of oil data, but the quest continues by Laura Sanicola (Reuters)

Apple’s release of real-time mobility data had potential to be a super-accurate gauge of how much Americans were driving, but the details the data presented didn’t turn out to be well-correlated to gasoline demand. [Link]


Deconstructing Pinterest’s reverse-image-search SEO growth hack by Ryan Bednar (RankScience)

Pinterest appears to have been using Google’s reverse image search feature to scrape and populate metadata for pictures uploaded to their site, which has the side effect (or intent, possibly) of boosting Pinterest content in Google rankings. [Link]

Tech’s Embrace of Remote Work Sends San Francisco Rents Plunging by Sophie Alexander (Bloomberg)

Apartment rental costs in San Francisco are plunging as tech workers decamp and the industry starts to fully embrace remote work as a result of the COVID pandemic. [Link; soft paywall, auto-playing video]


Balanced Sheets by Alex Williams (Phenomenal World)

A comprehensive book review and expansion upon Trade Wars Are Class Wars, a recent effort root global economics in the study of balance sheets rather than the traditional units of analysis that economists have used to describe output and activity. [Link]


China cuts Uighur births with IUDs, abortion, sterilization (AP)

A comprehensive summary of the slow-moving genocide underway in Xinjiang as China seeks to eliminate its large Muslim majority. [Link]

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Have a great weekend!

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