3/5/23 - The Itinerant Weekly - #36

TL; DR - Keeping track of your side-hustle finances; do sole founders or teams build more successful startups?; The brilliant business mind behind the Blackeyed Peas; market pundits continue to be split on what comes next for the economy, but latest measures suggest we have further down to go before we go up ; Bitcoin prices begin to diverge from the S&P – its an early signal and unclear if it will last, but worth watching; The Supreme Court is actively deciding the fate of the future of the internet…and they know it; Quantum computing becomes better at chaotic equations; Almost everyone experiences imposture syndrome, even after many successes; two deep dives into the history of luxury brand LVMH, and the Sythians.

The Itinerant Weekly is available on Diamond, Mirror.xyz, Medium and now Paragraph.xyz, and at www.theitinerant.io.

Forbes [Article] – How Do You Keep Track Of Side Hustle Finances?

  • Even if your side-hustle is fun for you, avoid treating it as an extension of your personal finances. Treat it financially like a business, not a hobby. Keep separate records of expenses and earned income, with a separate bank account. Even if initial expenses are funded personally. Keep financial tracking simple in Excel or Google Sheets. Only invest in a software solution as the side-hustle grows and /or turns into a full-fledged business. This is important both for tax purposes, and because it forces you to be more intentional about how you are approaching the side-hustle. Even if your goal is for this side-hustle to remain a side-hustle, having clear finances in place will be important as you make decisions about how and where to allocate your attention.

SSRN [Article] – Sole Survivors: Solo Ventures Versus Founding Teams

  • Despite this belief in the superiority of teams in the startup process, little empirical evidence has been used to examine this key question. In this paper, we examine the implications of founding alone versus as a group by using a unique dataset of crowdfunded companies that together generated approximately $358 million in total revenue. We show that companies started by solo founders survive longer than those started by teams. Further, organizations started by solo founders generate more revenue than organizations started by founder pairs, and do not perform significantly different than larger teams. This suggests that the taken-for-granted assumption among scholars that entrepreneurship is best performed by teams should be reevaluated, with implications for theories of team performance and entrepreneurial strategy.

Will.i.am on Masters of Scale [Article] – Make it Epic

  • Reid Hoffman (LinkedIn, Greylock Ventures) sits down with Blackeyed Peas frontman, will.i.am to discuss business strategy and creating win-win-win strategic relationships. One takeaway: once will decides he’s going to do something, he studies the people who have done it over and over again. He always starts by learning everything he can from the best who came before him. This creates massive leverage for his own work. The second biggest lesson: meet and bring together people from various disciplines and backgrounds.

Business Insider [Article] – The Stock Market Will Soar to Record Highs in 2024  

  • One of Wall Street's biggest bears believes the stock market could surge to record highs in 2024. Morgan Stanley's Mike Wilson told CNBC on Tuesday that the stock market will survive its current earnings recession. "This is not the end of the world. This is not 2008. There's not going to be a financial crisis," Wilson said. It’s a good old-fashioned earnings recession. Still, the S&P500 is likely to retest its mid-October lows (potential 25% downside), but I expect an eventual recovery in 2024 and 2025.

Finimize [Article] – Investors expected a soft landing in 2007 too

  • There are reasons why investors get their hopes up for a soft landing. First, economic data are imperfect: there are lags, adjustment factors, and often revisions. That’s not a big issue when the economy’s trending in one direction, but it can send conflicting signals at turning points. I mean, look, economists generally won’t agree that a recession is even happening until it’s long been underway. Second, it’s the Federal Reserve’s (Fed) job to pilot a soft landing, and so it makes sense that it might be the default outcome. But in practice, it almost never happens: the Fed’s tools for slowing the economy (i.e. raising interest rates) are blunt and don’t allow for fine-tuning. Put more simply, hard landings do always start off as a soft landing.

AP News [Article] – 2023 US recession now expected to start later than predicted

  • A majority of the nation’s business economists expect a U.S. recession to begin later this year than they had previously forecast, after a series of reports have pointed to a surprisingly resilient economy despite steadily higher interest rates.The delay in the economists’ expectations of when a downturn will begin follows a series of government reports that have pointed to a still-robust economy even after the Federal Reserve has raised interest rates eight times in a strenuous effort to slow growth and curb high inflation.

    Elad Gil [Article] – Defensibility & Competition

  • Most SaaS software starts off default non-defensible (hence all the HackerNews posts & Reddit threads saying as much), and tend to build a moat over time. The vast majority of SaaS, consumer, and certain types of AI companies are easily and rapidly cloneable. Yet many massive companies have been formed in areas that a priori may be easy to copy or build. While a handful of startups start off with defensibility intact, the vast majority do not and need to add defensibility over time. There are a few forms of defensibility that tend to emerge: network effect, platform effect, integrations, bunding and cross-selling, large market footprint, multi-year contracts, long sales process -> more entrenched after a sale, data or system of record.  People assume more defensibility than tends to exist early, so are harder to convince to join your efforts until traction is clear.   

eToro [Article] – Bitcoin breaks away from the stock market

  • Yet in early 2023, Bitcoin appears to have broken free. Thus far, the leading cryptoasset is up 40%, while the S&P 500 has returned around 4% this year.

  • This decoupling was highlighted last week, as American equities sank lower on macroeconomic uncertainty, while Bitcoin remained relatively buoyant. As a result, Bitcoin’s daily correlation with the S&P 500 turned negative for the first time since the collapse of a major crypto exchange back in November.

The verge [Article] – Gonzalez vs Google

  • The Supreme Court is deciding the future of the internet Gonzalez v Google could unwind core legal  protections for the internet, and it will be decided by a court that’s shown an appetite for overturning legal precedent and reexamining long-standing speech law. The outcome in Gonzalez is far from certain, but so far, the debate suggests a reassuring awareness by the court of how important the ruling will be — and the potential consequences of screwing it up.

Quantum Insider[Article] – Quantum Algorithms Get Better at 'Chaotic' Equations

  • Riverlane-led research team published research showing substantial improvement in the use of quantum algorithms to more accurately model highly unpredictable physical systems. The research could help scientists more accurately model highly unpredictable physical systems, from complex weather patterns and solar flares to aerodynamics during turbulence.

    Acquired [Article] – LVMH: The Complete History and Strategy

  • The story of LVMH is the 15th largest company in the world today by market cap. It is the only company in that top 15 that is not technology or oil besides Berkshire Hathaway. Another crazy thing on LVMH, their market cap has grown 20X in 20 years. This wide-sweeping Empire is owned and controlled by the now wealthiest man in the world, more than Bezos, Gates, or Elon Musk.

Discover [Article] – Who Were the Ancient Scythians?

  • An overview of the ancient tribe which was the inspiration for the Dothraki horse lords in Game of Thrones.

The New Yorker [Article] Why Everyone Feels Like They’re Faking It

  • No one is immune to ‘imposture syndrome’. Even the most accomplished among us.  Even repeated successes don’t break the cycle.