What We’re Reading

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

Autonomy

Self-driving cabs are just about here:

The autonomous car unit of Google parentAlphabet Inc.said on Tuesday it will soon start chauffeuring people in minivans without “safety drivers,” staffers that man the steering wheel. Waymo is doing so in a limited region of Phoenix, where it is running a pilot program with volunteer passengers. The move, a first for any company, is a major milestone for the internet giant’s bid to lead the crowded pack trying to commercialize driverless technology.

Windfall

This is crazy:

Claims by people who deposited bitcoin at Mt. Gox are calculated based on the yen value of the cryptocurrency at the beginning of Mt. Gox liquidation proceedings in April 2014. Meanwhile, Mt. Gox, which is mostly owned by a company controlled by former chief Mark Karpelès, is sitting on more than 200,000 bitcoins worth 17 times as much today as they were then.

Bankruptcy-court filings suggest Mt. Gox will have hundreds of millions of dollars left over after paying creditors—money that Mt. Gox’s bankruptcy trustee has indicated would belong to the collapsed exchange’s shareholders, with Mr. Karpelès’s company being the biggest.

Business model

Vanguard’s incoming CEO on the company’s mutual ownership structure:

You have to be willing not to be a billionaire. What is your strategic differentiation? As soon as Vanguard isn’t mutual, you have to have outside shareholders. You have to pay someone else. You have to have a (profit) margin. Instead of zero. It would undermine the strategic purpose of Vanguard. If we demutualize, you can kill the company. It’s not going to happen.

Egos

The article on Wilbur Ross’s net worth on the Forbes list is astounding:

“I told him we’re going to start him at $1 billion,” added the reporter, who no longer works at Forbes . “And he said ‘Yep, fine, thank you.’ “

Ross appeared on The Forbes 400 for the first time in 2004, with a net worth listed at $1 billion. It was nearly four times as much as he was likely worth. “Everyone that I knew that worked with Wilbur knew it wasn’t true,” says a former colleague of Ross. A legend was born, and like most legends, this one had its roots in a myth.

Supply and demand

Detroit’s housing market mess:

Today, a house can be bought here for the price of a used Chevy Caprice.

What is truly surprising about that, though, is how difficult it still is for buyers to actually buy. Basically, prices are too low for lenders (who see the deals as too small or risky) but too high for buyers (who may be cash-poor). There aren’t enough houses in move-in-ready condition — and not enough money to fix them up.

Fear vs. evidence

Great:

A war is currently being fought every day throughout the world. This war was here before you were born and will be around long after you are gone. I am talking about the war between fear and evidence. While humanity has access to more information today than any point in human history, facts continue to fall flat in the face of compelling narratives that rely on emotional appeal, especially fear.

Have a good weekend.


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