What We’re Reading

A few good articles the Collab team came across this week …

Culture

Dating at work rules:

One rule at Facebook Inc. and Alphabet Inc.’s Google: Employees are only allowed to ask a co-worker out once. If they are turned down, they don’t get to ask again. Ambiguous answers such as “I’m busy” or “I can’t that night,” count as a “no,” said Heidi Swartz, Facebook’s global head of employment law.

Statistics

Numbers say crime is falling, but that often doesn’t include modern forms of crime:

To many criminologists, academics and law enforcement leaders, crimes like car theft are anachronisms in a modern era in which the internet’s virtual superhighways have supplanted brick-and-mortar streets as the scenes for muggings, prostitution rings or commercial burglaries. They see dips in traditional violence and larceny as offset by a twin phenomenon: A surge in the evolving crimes of the digital era, and the fact that they are not fully captured in law enforcement’s reporting systems.

Wealth

A powerful story:

True wealth is not money. It’s the *option *to buy what you truly need. If money can’t buy what you need, you’re on even footing with the poorest person out there … Wealth is a society where you can trust complete strangers with your child’s life. Wealth is having friends, colleagues and family who support you. Who take care of the things you can’t, without hesitation. Wealthy is when strangers rent you cars for 1-way trips at 3am over the internet.

Productivity

Truth:

Everyone’s work product can be decomposed into active and passive share. If you take a rigorous inventory of yourself you will probably find that the passive share is much bigger than the active share, and that there’s a decent chance that the active share is negative. Mostly you just do the stuff that everyone else does, which could be done by anyone else, or a robot. Generating uncorrelated alpha probably makes up a pretty small part of your day. Most of whatIdo is sit in my chair staring blankly into space with an unfocused sense of terror; the time that I spend coming up with brilliant witticisms is like three minutes a day, tops. But no one ever shows up at my desk to run a regression.

Hedging

Wisdom:

The best hedge there is? Not taking risks you don’t need to take … You would think this would be obvious, but alas…it’s not. No one has a vested interest in teaching this to people. Brokerage firms make more money putting flashing lights on the user interface dashboard, conferring an illusion of control, as though you’re sitting in some sort of cockpit with switches to flip and instruments to make moves with.

Side project

How Airbnb manages its cash:

According to Bloomberg, [former CFO] Tosi “quietly built a hedge fund within the company’s finance department. He used a portion of capital from the balance sheet to buy stocks, currencies, and fixed-income securities, mimicking the treasury fund he ran at Blackstone. The side project represented 30 percent of the company’s cash flow last year and made about $5 million a month for Airbnb, the people said.”

Have a good weekend.


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