Item #1. GOP debates. I’m not sure why this is such a big deal on Twitter given that none of these candidates have any hope of becoming the nominee. As I said earlier, unless something happens to Trump, which imho is unlikely given what he has survived thus far, he is the nominee, full stop. Vivek Ramaswamy brands himself the ‘anti-woke CEO’, but Trump is Trump. DeSantis tried an anti-woke branding in 2022 and it also failed. Likeability matters more than issues, as Trump does not have to brand himself as anti-woke when it’s already implied.
I think, rather, the debates serve as an opportunity for the candidates to build awareness of their respective brands for 2028. A good showing in the debates portends well for 2028. I also predict in that aforementioned article the 2024 results will be very close, coming down to a handful of swing states despite Biden’s incumbency advantage and winning the popular vote, owing to his failure to get credit for the strong stock market and economy, loss of voter enthusiasm, high inflation, and generally coming off as frail and weak compared to Trump’s virility.
Item #2. Bitcoin crosses $43,000, but rally loses steam. I still think this is setting up for a big disappointment. The SEC decision on the ETFs is still not for another month, which is an eternity in the world of crypto. Enthusiasm and price will fade before then, and then I predict rejection. I would still much rather own tech stocks compared to Bitcoin. Far more people are going to get rich investing in tech than in crypto.
Despite the recent hype, Bitcoin’s post-2017 performance is still surpassed by tech funds (like the Nasdaq 100 (QQQ)) but with much bigger swings and more risk. Bitcoin has only doubled since peaking at 20,000 in late 2017. The 6-figure price targets, which the ‘experts’ were certain in 2017-2018 would happen by now, are still a long ways off and will probably never happen. The higher Bitcoin’s price rises, the more new capital/suckers are needed to prop it up. It does not scale that well, both in terms of energy usage but also needing a constant inflow of new buyers/capital to pay off earlier buyers who want to cash out. There is not enough money in the world.
Item #3. Since I’m on the topic of tech, Google released its chatbot and GPT competitor, Gemini, for what seems like the second or third time this year (is it Bard or Gemini?…cannot keep track, nor do I particularly care). Anyway, Google stock was up 6% on the news yesterday. This agrees with my tech mini-manifesto that the best way to invest in Ai is to invest in big tech. There is no need to speculate in tiny Ai start-ups when big tech covers all the bases. Google, Meta, Tesla, Microsoft, etc. are also all Ai companies, as is Uber. As further evidence of this bigger-is-better dynamic, C3.ai, Inc. (AI), an Ai start-up, was down 18% on earnings.
The era of Ai-generated content is here. Ai is cheap and scalable for generating content for non-discriminating consumers, which is most people. The web is already overflowing with Ai-generated content such as articles and tweets, and it will only get worse. But this will not obsolete traditional media or top human writers. As I have observed on Susbtack, the top bloggers, such as Noah Smith, Moldbug, and others are seeing record revenue, subs, and traffic (as measured by publicly visible indicators of virality and reader engagement such as ‘likes’ and comments) despite LLMs and other Ai.
Item #4. Speaking of Uber, it was added to the S&P 500, defying all media predictions since 2010 of it going bankrupt. Another correct prediction: I have been bullish on Uber as far back as 2013.
Uber is highly cash flow positive on operations, to the tune of $600 million from its most recent earnings report or also comparable to Tesla in 2021, which the experts in the media were also certain would be an impossibly. During Covid, Uber pivoted to a successful delivery business, Uber Eats.
I think this shows how the financial media can be disregarded as a useful source of investment advice or insight. The VCs and other investors who keep investing in Uber despite the losses were right. Similar to Tesla and Amazon, they knew the losses were temporary and to build the outlay/infrastructure of Uber’s business.
Uber is not just a taxi app, but also a logistics/delivery play. Through its app it can summon its huge network of drivers on demand for anything–be it food delivery, shopping, or transportation. That is the power of Uber–the network. This network is optimized for efficiency with the help of Ai and ‘big data’.
Item #5: From Honest Broker, In 2024, the Tension Between Macroculture and Microculture Will Turn into War:
Some readers get angry every time I mention MrBeast—but if hearing his name upsets them, they are in for longstanding agita. The pace of the Beast’s growth is getting faster all the time—which seems to defy all logic, but it’s true. He now picks up more new viewers in a single month than major cable networks have in total after decades.
But Mr. Beast’s brand is to a large extent dependent on Google/YouTube. His content is promoted prominently on YouTube’s homepage as a default suggestion, and also on the sidebar and elsewhere. Without YouTube, if he was to go out on his own, similar to someone who is cancelled like Alex Jones or Nick Fuentes, his traffic and views would plunge. It’s not an apples to apples comparison between Mr. Beast and ‘traditional media’ given that Mr. Beast is highly dependent on Google and Twitter, and also many of his subs/viewers may in fact be non-human/bots or paid (this is a common problem for all major online brands). Also, Mr. Beast’s content is of a highly viral nature–it’s stuff that is intended for the biggest possible global audience–whereas mainstream media is typically for older, higher-income Americans. If Mr. Beast started making serious politics videos those would not be nearly as popular compared to stunt/giveaway ones.