Corporate Taxes and the 2017 Republican Tax Reform Plan

Source: Wonky Thoughts: Corporate Taxes and the 2017 Republican Tax Reform Plan, by Doug Robbins

  • American corporate taxes are *not* “among the highest in the world”.
  • Corporate taxes have fallen as a percent of GDP from before the 1970s to after the 1970s.
  • American economic growth has been declining since World War II.
  • Wages have declined since World War II, as a share of gross domestic income (or similarly, GDP).
  • Corporate profits have soared since the 1980s.
  • Lower corporate taxes do not lead to higher economic growth or higher wages. Lower corporate taxes lead to higher corporate after-tax profits.

The Amazon machine

Source: The Amazon machine, by Benedict Evans

Amazon is a machine to make a machine, and the machine it makes is more Amazon.

Google doesn’t tend to be better at cloud platforms than Apple and worse at UIs because there are better or worse people in each team, but because each company is set up to deliver certain kinds of things, and the closer a project is to that machine’s direction the more reliable the result. If the machine is designed to do X, it will struggle at Y no matter how clever the people. A lot of the story of Amazon for the last 20 years is of how many Ys turned out to be Xs – how many categories that people thought could not be sold online and could not be sold as commodities turned out to be both.

The Agile Manifesto

Source: The Winter Getaway That Turned the Software World Upside Down

So what is the Agile Manifesto? The preamble reads, “We are uncovering better ways of developing software by doing it and helping others do it.” It then lays out the four core values:

  • Individuals and interactions over processes and tools
  • Working software over comprehensive documentation
  • Customer collaboration over contract negotiation
  • Responding to change over following a plan

When is a Dollar not a Dollar?

Source: When is a Dollar not a Dollar?

An exploration of how the business value of a dollar varies depending on the context.

  1. Money has different marginal value to a customer depending on where it falls on their balance sheet.
  2. Some types of revenue require a lot more effort and resources to earn than other types.
  3. Timing matters, and a dollar today is worth more than a dollar next year.
  1. Cost vs. Revenue
  2. The Principal-Agent Problem
  3. Existing Expense vs. New Expense
    Companies and teams often have existing budgets for common expenses.
  4. Above vs. Below Discretionary Spending Limits
  5. Selling Services vs. Customized Products vs Off-the-shelf Products
    Different types of revenue have very different scaling characteristics.
  6. Selling to Many Stakeholders vs. One Stakeholder
    Products with many stakeholders are hard to sell because you have to make everyone happy — but different stakeholders will have different, often conflicting, incentives and preferences.
  7. Monthly vs. Upfront Payments
  8. Selling vs. Upselling
    It’s typically easier to sell more products to an existing customer than to find a new customer.


Although cost-dollars-saved are fully and immediately realized, cost cutting is limited — the most cost that can be saved is 1x expenses. There is far greater potential for revenue growth than for cost cutting.

What to Worry About in This Surreal Bull Market

Source: What to Worry About in This Surreal Bull Market

We’re almost 10 years out from the financial crisis. Here, the pros share their thoughts on what could happen next.

Quant strategies are popular, and popularity is what makes a coordinated action, whether it’s a run on the bank or a crash, possible.

“some sort of cyber event.”


The debate on whether bitcoin is a bubble about to burst or a great investment continues to divide the financial world. … ­cryptocurrency derivatives, including options and ETFs, are risky because they legitimize assets with prices derived from unregulated exchanges subject to manipulation and fraud.


“Financial complexity brings prosperity but also increased fragility”

“In the long term, the EU is not stable as constructed; the essence of the problem is that you have a monetary union without fiscal union. If confidence is shaken in the European structure, markets will sell off, big time.”

Come mid-2018, just one entity—the Bank of New York Mellon Corp.—will be responsible for ensuring that almost $2 trillion of securities financed by so-called repurchase agreements are cleared and settled each and every day.