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Number Crunch

The king of streaming is struggling for growth

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400,000: That’s the number of subscribers Netflix lost in the US and Canada in Q2 of 2021, the first time it has lost subscribers in those markets since early 2019.

Netflix is a business that is driven by one thing only: subscriber growth. To maintain its position as the market leader, keep investors happy, and be afforded the luxury of spending eye-popping amounts of money (the company projects an outlay of $17 billion in 2021), that number needs to trend upwards continually — and preferably as fast as possible.

In a Q2 earnings report published July 20, the company announced…


The app sticks to its story by defying Wall Street traditions.

Image Credit: Sergei Tokmakov

Staying true to the legacy of its namesake outlaw hero, Robinhood reallocated shares, traditionally reserved for institutional stalwarts, into a halo of beaming retail investors, still bedazzled from the virtual confetti that the app sprinkled on them. In defiance of Wall Street tradition, Robinhood sold as much as 25% of its shares to retail investors who traded on its app.

As the Wall Street Journal explained, “for all the sway that amateur investors have over meme stocks like GameStop Corp. and AMC Entertainment Holdings Inc., they have been largely shut out of the IPO party. …


An important lesson that correlation does NOT imply causation

Picture of a Ronaldo t-shirt and two Coke bottles
T-shirt photo by Portuguese Gravity on Unsplash; Coke bottles photo by Alessandro D’Antonio on Unsplash

Here’s a headline from a Washington Post article by Paulina Villegas on June 16, 2021 (there were many similar headlines around the world as well): “Cristiano Ronaldo snubbed Coca-Cola. The company’s market value fell $4 billion.” The article referred to soccer’s (football’s) Portuguese superstar, who sat down at a press conference on June 14, 2021 during the European Championship and proceeded to remove two bottles of Coke that were prominently displayed on the table in front of him (Coca-Cola was one of the tournament’s official sponsors). He replaced them with a bottle of water, saying, “Agua. No Coca-Cola.” It was…


Staying in a role builds valuable, company-specific domain knowledge. Leaving often results in a pay day.

A graph showing that impact rises, and salaries often don’t rise to meet it

Too soon

When news broke that breakout star Regé-Jean Page was leaving Bridgerton after only one season, my initial reaction was that of shock and heartbreak. I couldn’t fathom why Netflix and The Duke of Hastings weren’t able to come to some sort of agreement. But then it hit me: my entire career, I’ve watched talented engineers leave companies for greener pastures after painfully short tenures. I’m even guilty of this myself — I left an amazing company after less than two years to join Ethena as VP of Engineering.

My example aside, I think the larger phenomena is a problem with…


Metropolis

The death of central business districts is here, and with it comes an opportunity to reshape our cities

Picture a typical downtown in your mind. What do you see? Historically, it may have been soaring peaks of commercial skyscrapers, the bustle of commuters running to and from the office, and perhaps a local institution like a famed restaurant, theatre, or place of cultural significance. Most, however, wouldn’t immediately think of the people and the streets that form the foundations of a community. But that’s beginning to change.

Over the last century, cities have evolved from centers of industrial production reliant on heavy manufacturing and trade, to re-orienting themselves into centralized hubs focused on attracting corporate commuters who occupy…


Number Crunch

Startups in India raised an unprecedented amount of money in first half of 2021

$20.5 billion: That’s the amount of money Indian start-ups raised this year as of 24 July, according to a report published by Inc42.

This is nearly twice the amount raised in the whole of 2020 ($11.5 billion).

Half of this amount was raised just in the month of July, led by Walmart-owned Flipkart and online food delivery platform Swiggy raising $3.6 billion and $1.25 billion respectively.

Indian startups raised $10.8 billion in the first six months of the year with 614 deals and $9.75 billion in the month of July with over 130 deals.

For the first six months, fintech…


Malls and old American neighborhoods are in the same place: dead and soon to be forgotten

Photo by Steve Harvey on Unsplash

After the end of World War II, popular media often portrayed American families as accomplished, happy, and most importantly, back together. In fact, they were really happy to be back together. In the post-war economic boom, couples were industriously popping out babies and moving their growing families out of the cities and into the suburbs.

With them came their spending power, of course, putting a dent on Main Street retail stores.

It didn’t take long for businesses to follow people out to the suburbs, resulting in the birth of the iconic American shopping mall, which combined retail shopping, food service…


Or should we consider speed limits, guardrails, and restrictions on size?

iStockphoto.com:MikeMareen

The NFL is the most successful sports league in history, but how did a relatively obscure sport — born in Ohio in the 1920's — turn into a cultural and financial powerhouse?

In one word: Parity.

Although it was a long journey of experimentation, the governing body of the NFL developed a system that gave every team a fighting chance to become a champion. This vision kept the sport lively, competitive, and beneficial for everyone in their society. However, to achieve this goal, the team leaders had to agree to two critical rules:

First, they instituted a reverse order first-round…


There’s a vast pipeline of tools to create video games, movies, and TV shows. Epic wants to own it all.

NurPhoto / Getty Images

Epic Games, the company behind the colossally popular and profitable Fortnite, is no stranger to game development infrastructure. It makes the widely-used Unreal Engine, which hundreds of games have used over the last couple decades. But Epic wants to do more than just own the game engine.

So, Epic has been going shopping.

Today, Epic announced it is acquiring SketchFab, a digital marketplace and sharing hub for 3D models. From professionally-designed 3D asset packs for use in game development, to independent artists making highly-detailed replicas of Dinobot from Beast Wars because they feel like it. …

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