Learning in Public: 8/13/2021
Bits and bytes
Great read. Highly recommend it. Read it for the story of a young LBJ.
Notes on LBJ:
A few false starts in work/business before college. Was obsessed with status and money (having had a taste of both when his father was a respected politician, and later, knowing what it was like to have nothing and be a nobody).
Singular focus (obtain power and the presidency) from a young age (college)
Not especially book smart, but clearly incredibly people smart. Over and over he won the respect and help of women and men in power by acting like their son and becoming so beloved that they would do anything to help him.
He could and would work like crazy to achieve his goals. His motto: If you do everything, you will win.
He would work his staff to death. And he knew how to dole out just enough praise for them to continue to love him. Though it sounds like generally, he treated them very poorly.
He was a master of leveraging mail (the communication medium of the day) — looking for any reason to send someone in Texas a piece of mail, so they would know he was thinking of them, representing them, helping them (even if not true).
He “re-invented” Texas politics — spending 10x more to win than had ever been done before.
He appears to have no morals — willing to do or say anything to get what he wanted. His actions in WWII, if true, would surely have made him unelectable (dodging military service as long as possible, when he said he would do the opposite pre-war, then going on one flight as an observer yet claiming he had participated in many battles and had really been “in the trenches”.
This book should be required reading in US history classes.
Not worth it. This book covers the next decade of LBJ’s life — when he gets his business interests off the ground through selling his political power to do favors for businesses or secure government rights that no one else could for himself (this is how he created his radio station empire). He went from having tens of thousands of dollars to being a millionaire. Why did he do it? He thought the path to the presidency for him was over, so he instead focused on amassing wealth.
LBJ and Coke R. Stevenson were opponents running for the Senate. When Stevenson would accurately accuse LBJ of something, LBJ would instantly counter by accusing Stevenson of the same thing. This was done in different cities so who said what first was unclear to each audience. Truth didn’t matter and people simply believed what was in the newspapers and on the radio. But the headlines and messages themselves can and were bought — by LBJ. LBJ took this tactic further by vastly outspending Stevenson in buying airtime on the radio — getting his accusations against Stevenson to be the ones heard and known.
LBJ’s team was listening in on Stevenson’s phone calls (via the switchboards). This allowed them the counter Stevenson’s strategies immediately or even pre-empt them — getting their message to the press first.
Binance is a cryptocurrency exchange, headquartered nowhere, that offers highly levered cryptocurrency futures to retail traders. The way it apparently works is that you put in $1,000, and if the price of Bitcoin goes up by 1% you make $1,000, and if the price of Bitcoin goes up by 20% you make $20,000 and think you’re the best trader in the world, but if the price of Bitcoin goes down by 1% you lose all your money.
Matt Levine and his daily Money Stuff newsletter is an absolute delight.
1% of cars sold in the US today have a manual transmission, down from 35% in 1980 (link)
Story of Baseball Advanced Media (BAMTECH) - great thread and fun to look back at their origin and how they honed in on building a very successful tech company (doesn’t hurt to have a monopoly on MLB) and now critically important streaming company. What a steal Disney got in buying this streaming stack — it will take the rest 5-10 years to catch up.
60% of US consumers bought groceries online in the last 12 months (link)
Average U.S. android user spent 24.5 hours per month on TikTok, compared with 22 hours on YouTube and 17.5 hours on Facebook. That’s ~3 days per month!?!(link)
Theme: Buying a customer -> Microsoft to acquire AT&T’s Network Cloud technology (so they can run the 5G services on Azure Cloud for AT&T and other TelCos in the future)
Gas station in space (link)
Self-flying gas tank (Drone gas tank for the Air Force)
Videos of Amazon pickers & packers