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Pop business for the intelligent reader. A publication from Medium.

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…


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?

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. …


The Olympic Games are an exercise in branding

Friday’s Tokyo 2020 Opening Ceremony should serve to remind us that in a fundamental way, the Olympic Games are an exercise in branding. While host nations try to communicate a positive image to the rest of the world, the International Olympic Committee attempts to uphold the spirit of the Olympic movement in the face of mounting challenges to its mythology.

At the heart of these branding efforts are graphic identities that often have been among the most memorable aspects of the events themselves. From the op-art-inspired graphics for Mexico City 1968 to the Strahlenkranz (“Garland of Rays”) mark for Munich…

Ten years after its publication, the late anthropologist’s deconstruction of economics is more valuable than ever

In the beginning was debt. In David Graeber’s sprawling epic on the history of money, he charts its shape-shifting from credit to coinage, to credit again, then bullion and finally to virtual currencies. Throughout, debt is the constant and Graeber makes a ferocious case that it is the lens through which economics might be better defined.

Debt has recently been re-issued, ten years after its original publication in the aftermath of the 2008 financial crisis. That event prompted much soul searching about money and a raft of books purporting to explain how we got into such a mess. Most were…

A streaming giant in need of games, and a gaming platform in need of customers. It could work.

Netflix has a problem. It’s one of the most popular ways to watch TV and movies on the internet, but watching TV and movies isn’t the only way for people to spend their time. Increasingly, another medium is vying for people’s attention, and increasingly it’s winning:

Video games.

Netflix correctly acknowledged, as far back as 2018, that they aren’t just in the movie and TV business. They’re in the leisure business. When people sit down in their living room to do something with they’re downtime, they’re not just forced to choose between watching the latest Netflix show, or some show…


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