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You never really taste it…

I’ve never been able to explain why I have so hard of a time believing consultants. What is it about their role that make their conclusions so often so wrong? None other than Steve Jobs explains… in less than two minutes.

“I don’t think there is anything inherently evil in consulting” … but “You never really taste it.” – Steve Jobs

Double Entry: Gleeson-White

Who invented double entry accounting? The ubiquitous system of general ledgers, income statements, balance sheets, and cashflow statements found throughout businesses and quite a lot of households? This is yet-another of those concept so taken for granted that they seem to have been around “forever”, but thanks to Double Entry: How the Merchants of Venice Created Modern Finance by...

Four minutes one second less than five hours…

Many of the everyday details in The Work of the Stock Market told in between the history facts are often just as interesting as the history itself. Case in point, if you read the history of time zones, it seemed like the standardization was complete in the U.S. and Europe by the end of the 1800s. Yet in 1922… The difference in time between London and New York is four minutes and one second...

The Origins of Carried Interest

The standard structure for private equity funds (and venture capital funds) is “2&20”, as in a 2% management fee (±1%) and 20% (±10%) of the profits, a.k.a. “carried interest“. Why 20% of the profits?

Henry Kravis of KKR explains below, starting at 6:00. TL;DR: Necessity, as he and his partners had no capital to put at risk.

My new refrigerator

My refrigerator died last week, and with that, my family and I lived with an “ice box” in its place, using frozen bottles of water as the source of cooling until today, when the new refrigerator was installed. Refrigeration is a service billions of us take for granted. Living without it for a week helps one ungrant that taking (or however that is supposed to be phrased). All of this...

The Work of the Stock Exchange (J.E. Meeker)

Despite the fact that stock markets have been operating for over 400 years, how exactly they work at the level of individual participate and individual role is rarely documented. Here in the 21st Century most of the accounts are how to make money as an investor, two or three steps away from the actual transactions taking place within the exchange. Which is why it was so fascinating to find and...

Visiting three African SMEs in Tanzania

Last month I was in Tanzania visiting three Africa Eats‘ investees: Swahili Honey, Goldenpot, and Rogathe Dairy. Below are three short videos showing off their factories. All of these companies have grown more than 10x since I first met them, some of them growing that fast in two years. See the post on fast-growing SMEs to see each of their growth stories, and click on the other companies...

Transmogrify

I came across the word “transmogrify” today and wondered if the author first learned it reading Calvin & Hobbes, as I don’t recall ever seeing the word before that. Luckily for us denizens of the 21st Century, we can ask Google’s Ngrams the popularity of a word back a few centuries: Turns out no, the word isn’t new to Calvin & Hobbes. It was used to describe...

Africa’s population patterns

1.4 billion people live in Africa. But that population is far from evenly distributed. The southern edge of the Sahara is clearly visible in West Africa, as is the enormous population in Nigeria. Then over in East Africa it is even denser in Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, and over into Rwanda around Lake Victoria and Lake Kivu, and yet denser still down in Malawi. See the original post on www...

The Snowball, another Buffett biography

If you want to understand the history of Berkshire Hathaway there are two good books to choose from. Buffett: The Making of an American Capitalist by Roger Lowenstein, which I summarized six months ago, or The Snowball by Alice Schroeder, summarized below. The main difference between the two tellings is that Lowenstein focuses more on the Buffett Partnership and then Berkshire Hathaway as a...

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