Weekly reading 5

Apr 28, 2020
The Apple-Google Partnership, How to Contain the Coronavirus, Apple-Google Policy - stratechery:

A bunch of non-nonsense policy and regulation crap. From technical perspecitive, the contact tracing system built by Apple and Google quite briliantly solved the privacy issue, assuming no backdoor.

Banks Pretend 2020 Never Happened - bloomberg:

There are companies plan to use results from 2019 to replaces that of 2020 for the period of COVID-19 because those results are bad.

Banks Are Expecting Loan Trouble - bloomberg:

Because COVID19, economy shut down, and therefore a lot of businesses can’t pay back to banks who give them the loan. This is bad but at least if banks announce now it would be more forgivable.

China’s efforts to blame coronavirus on a US army delegation to Wuhan infuriate No. 10 - dailymail:

West is stupid yes, but more and more countries might finally wake up from the propoganda.

Without More Tests, America Can’t Reopen - theatlantic:

Saying the obvs.

Amazon Cuts Affiliate Marketing, Google Versus French Publishers, Streaming Services and Movies - stratechery:

Basically news publishers try to pull a deal on Google like the one record label pulled on Spotify. Whether this is reasonable depends on the angle you look at it. However goverment and regulation is on news publisher side so I guess Google has to suck it.

The iPhone SE, Accounting for the iPhone SE, New iPhones - stratechery:

To be a product company, one has to have a differentiated product and then charge a premium, and get rich by the high margin, but not necessary a large market share (think iPhone). To be a service company, one has to make a device as cheap as possible to attract a large user base, such that everybody gives you some money, thru subscriptions or one-off purchases (think app store). iPhone SE is one of the many strategies Apple use to shift from former to latter.

There’s Nowhere to Put the Oil - bloomberg:

It’s funny to think that traders who bought futures of oil will actually be delivered tons of oil if they don’t sell the contract.


Very inspirational until someone says apparently this guy who urges everybody builds scalable stuff in physical world have his money all come from software, where scalability is a lot easier.

武汉,无法忘却的31天 - qq:



When debugging, your attitude matters - jvns:

I used to get annoyed by debugging so much that it’s very difficult for me to focus on figuring out the root cause - I just kept poking here and there, impatiently searching for answers without thinking at all. The more I poke the less likely the issue got resolved, and I feel even more annoyed - such as vicious cycle. It takes effort to keep calm and focus on the actual issue.

Another thing is reading and learning basics really help, I agree. I always just open all links of Google results hoping for a post that has answer that solves my problem directly, in a copy-n-paste fashion. But reading around the problem not only help you solve the problem but also allow you to learn something through the process.

Need to keep these 2 things in mind.

铁人张定宇(抗疫一线的故事) - people:























Investors Want a Cure, Not a Winner - bloomberg:

The author has been building on their idea of index fund being the largest investor of all the companies for a while. They argue in that situation it’s possible that these funds will reduce the competitions and facilitate collaborations, which might lead to smaller companies, but larger total market, which eventually benefit them. As an example they have urged drugmakers to collaborate on developing virus vaccines instead of fighting each other, in light of COVID19 situation.

This news is good, but not sure the argument true though, one can also argue facilitate competition is the way to benefit the market the most in normal times.

An Interview with Ethan Sherwood Strauss About Writing Online, Social Media and the NBA, and The Victory Machine - stratechery:

ES: There’s just less bullshit. The idea is, look, we have very tangible metric of success. You’re going to get there if you write good stuff, if people like what you’re doing, they’re going to subscribe and they’re going to give us good feedback versus when it’s ad-supported — and this is only an aspect, one aspect of the difference between working for ESPN versus The Athletic — but ad-supported, you’re almost trying to trick people with clickbait. You’re incentivized to do it and there’s a lot of great work that happens over there, a lot of very talented people but it’s just not one to one in that way. It really feels like at The Athletic, and I’m not trying to sound like a company man but it’s just true, that when it’s subscriber-based, it seems like you’re more incentivized to create a quality product befitting of somebody paying you money than when it’s ad-based, that just seems to be the case.

This is to compare ESPN, an ad-supported free-for-all news media, to the Athletic, a subscription-based paid-only media. It’s a great point and correct generally in that sub-based business model can only survive with sustained traction of readers. As a result it is more likely to produce high-quality work, than low-quality eye-grabbing junk work.

However, another angle is, sub-based business benefits from developing user habit of subscribing to something. This is an old strategy from all the mailing lists, magazines and gyms trying to get people sign up for membership: once people develop a habit, it’s difficult for them to make change to stop it. Yes to nudge users to sign up is also a change of habit and therefore challenging as well. But to glorify the sub-based model to be the only place to have good-quality content thrive is not true.

Capability, Policy, and Misinformation Versus Censorship; Isolation, Surveillance, and Laziness; Netflix’s Earnings - stratechery:

COVID19 so far has been a bless for Netflix for sure. The only thing I wonder is if hopefully the situation has been contained and economies are gradually reopen, would that deal a blow on Netflix because at then everybody wants to go out and no one left for at-home streaming anymore? Somehow the fortune of Netflix ends up positively correlates to the severity of COVID19 looks interesting to me.

The 2020 iPhone SE - daringfireball:

Geekbench 5 results, averaged over a few runs and rounded to account for variability (single- and multi-core benchmarks test the CPU, “compute” tests the GPU):

It’s incredible in its own way to see a low-tier (or mid-tier depends on consumption behavior) phone outperforms a premium laptop. This is a plain great phone, and a better version of Google Pixel 3A, whose price and market is close.

The NBA and Microsoft, An Interview with Adam Silver and Satya Nadella - stratechery:

One thing it left out is how did Microsoft wins over Amazon and Google, the other two largest cloud providers? Microsoft outbids Amazon on some government contracts too not too long ago. So is Microsoft just really great at dealing with big corporations/organizations?

Xi’s visit to Shaanxi; “6 stabilities” and “6 ensures”; Virus origin - sinocism:

Op-ed: Virus tracing must be science-based - People’s Daily Online

The fallacies and conspiracy theories accompanying the spread of the pandemic are not only unhelpful for countries to fight the pandemic, but also breed mistrust, and eventually disrupt the joint anti-virus efforts and disturb global solidarity and cooperation.

Spreading conspiracy theories, stigmatizing other countries under the excuse of the virus, and staging ugly performances that disregard facts and run afoul of science are in essence anti-science and politicizing public health issues. These conducts must be resolutely resisted and corrected from the source.

Meanwhile the Global Times has not compunction spreading the idea that US made the virus - Scientists ‘unable to judge’ if US lab is virus source due to lack of govt response - Global Times

Nobody knows who’s right, but whenever you see such contradictories in the narrative one makes, you know it’s not pure media work anymore, it’s been politicized.

央行数字货币:法币光环加持下的货币体系新纪元 - cebnet:


这两点都是中心化货币的特质,所以准确的说法是”比特币并非严格意义上的中心化控制的货币“,完全符合比特币的意图 - 去中心化的数字货币。央行数字货币听起来更像是数字粮票。


可控 - 可监管,可追踪,可追溯,可审查。非常惊悚的描述方式,尤其考虑到这种监控和追踪不再是基于每个人,而是每一块钱。监视一个人是一个图,最多能看到这个人的关系网和交互。监视一块钱是树状结构,结合持有人的关系网,可以轻松串联和监视整个社会行为,对每一个事件追根溯源,一查到死。洗钱再没有任何意义。

Some Forecasts See Virus Upswing for States That Resisted Shutdown Measures - wsj:

I have seen bunch of different types of analysis. They are all interesting like this one, claiming the states that took earlier and stricter action of lockdown are projected to reopen earlier too. It’s interesting to keep a tab for now and see if it holds up in May.

Markets Diverge in Assessing the Economic Freeze - wsj:

Stocks continue to rise despite an unprecedented freeze in global economic activity and an oil-price crash, a divergence that makes some investors skeptical the gains can continue.

Apparently new media are not great at predicting future, that is why they are reporting what happened already. One thing I learned from COVID19 is that economy and financial market is really two things that not necessarily tie to each other in a constant way.

Economy is the behavior of individuals, companies, and countries. Every party mentioned suffers from COVID19, therefore economy hurts real bad.

Financial markets (like stocks), on the other hand, are places where parties that need money ask for money from parties that have money. These are hurt by COVID19 too, but like in a minor way. For example, a lot of people struggle because they are out of work (due to stay-home order), but whoever are hurt by that don’t make big trades in stocks anyway. Also, companies struggle making money, but that applies to all companies, ergo it doesn’t affect much of people who are betting on them - they just need pick winners there.

One does expect to see stocks get lower as fewer parties willing to put their capital there: they tend to go to safer markets (gold bond etc). I guess this is just because COVID19 is not some deep-down issues in the financial structure that caused by banks/companies like the one in 2008. As a result, either people are optimistic that it can recover soon or just don’t understand it completely yet.

China’s Medical-Goods Market Is ‘Wild West’ Amid Surging Coronavirus Demand - wsj:

Inundated with prospective buyers, Chinese factories are taking advantage of their plum position, dictating buying conditions and demanding advance payments in full, while buyers must quickly vet newly-minted vendors—sometimes by video from the other side of the world.

It is said that China produces majority of rare materials which are critical indigents of many products, therefore China has a strong hand when negotiating with US - they can always threaten to limit the export of rare materials. COVID19 shows that if you don’t own the whole supply chain, any product can easily choke countries in certain scenario. All left to see is 1). if China can leverage the current advantage to strike some long-lasting agreements that can change the global landscape for the future to come; 2). if other countries can do learn a lesson and come up with counter strategies.

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