Things I Learned This Week – February 11th, 2018

If you have time to read just one thing today, make it this one: The Enlightenment is Working. It will put a smile on your face and drive you to make this world an even better place.

Article: The Enlightenment is Working, Steven Pinker (@sapinker), WSJ

“As people are getting healthier, richer, safer and freer, they are also becoming more knowledgeable and smarter. Two centuries ago, 12% of the world could read and write; today 85% can. Literacy and education will soon be universal, for girls as well as for boys. The schooling, together with health and wealth, is literally making us smarter—by 30 IQ points, or two standard deviations above our ancestors.”

“People are putting their longer, healthier, safer, freer, richer and wiser lives to good use. Americans work 22 fewer hours a week than they did in the late 19th century and lose 43 fewer hours to housework. They have more opportunities to use their leisure to travel, spend time with children, connect with loved ones and sample the world’s cuisine, knowledge, and culture.”

“Our ancestors replaced dogma, tradition, and authority with reason, debate, and institutions of truth-seeking. They replaced superstition and magic with science. And they shifted their values from the glory of the tribe, nation, race, class or faith toward universal human flourishing.”


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Article: What Tech Giant SoftBank Wants With Boring Old Reinsurer, WSJ

Key Points:

  • Softbank may have ambitions to create the software infrastructure to allow insurance companies to resell white-labeled life insurance products from Swiss Re.
  • Softbank could leverage the software platform to build a consumer finance infrastructure.

Article: Weighing The Regulatory Risk at Wells Fargo, Barron’s

Key Points:

  • Federal Reserve has ordered Wells Fargo to keep its total assets frozen at a 2017 level of just under $2 trillion until the bank makes “sufficient improvements”
  • This would make it difficult for the bank to grow its earnings.
  • The bank is creating space in its balance sheet by selling some assets and by returning deposits from institutions and other banks and exiting liquid, short-term investments.

Article: Broadcom Offers Qualcomm $8bn break-up fees if deal fails, FT

Key Points:

  • Hock Tan is not giving-up on acquiring Qualcomm.
  • This is the second biggest break-up fees in history.
  • Plus, Broadcom has offered a 6% ticking fees on the cash portion of the bid.
  • Qualcomm is now forced to negotiate with Broadcom

Article: BT Fleshes Out Ultra-Fast Broadband, FT

Key Points:

  • BT’s Openreach division plans to install Fibre to the Premises (FTTP) to 3 million households by mid-2020.
  • The cost will be £300 to £400 per household or a total of up to £1.2bn.
  • Vodafone & TalkTalk use BT’s Openreach network to supply their own broadband services.
  • The connection speed will be 1 gigabit per second compared to 300 megabits per second on traditional copper connections.

Article: Mining New Data in Rocky Markets, Barron’s

Key points:

  • Sentieo has been using web traffic, Google (GOOG) Trends, and Twitter mentions to predict company earnings.
  • Sentieo flagged disconnects for Snap (SNAP) and Twitter (TWTR) ahead of each company’s earnings calls. Both companies beat analyst’s estimates.
  • Sentieo data also predicted the big beats this quarter of Netflix (NFLX) & Skechers (SKX).






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