The Block-Barrel Spread Is Widening
The gap in price between a 40-pound block of fresh cheddar and a 500-pound barrel has widened steadily over the last two years. At the end of 2018, the average block-barrel spread hovered around $0.12. That’s well above the $0.07 average spread calculated for 2017 and triple the traditional $0.035 spread.
Virtu CEO Doug Cifu Explains the Future of HFT (Podcast)
When the GameStop and Robinhood story exploded at the end of January, suddenly everyone took an interest in market structure, and things like payment for order flow, and the role that high-frequency trading shops play in enabling free retail trading. This of course gave rise to lots of conspiracy theories about ways retail traders are taken advantage of. On the new Odd Lots, we speak with Doug Cifu, the CEO of Virtu, which is one of the largest HFT shops in the country, to get his perspective on how this part of the market really works.
Hour long, pretty thorough.
The Mess At Medium
The episode captured Medium in all its complexity: a publishing platform used by the most powerful people in the world; an experiment in mixing highbrow and lowbrow in hopes a sustainable business would emerge; and a devotion to algorithmic recommendations over editorial curation that routinely caused the company confusion and embarrassment.
Substack's UI and 1Password just cost me $2,023
As part of a Zoom call today, I tried to sign up for a $10 monthly subscription on a Substack page to test the user journey. I paid $2,023.
When I’ve clicked my card details in 1Password, it’s entered my expiry year in the hidden, custom subscription amount box (I’m not sure why - is this a 1Password bug?). Because this box has now changed value, the Substack UI has automatically selected this option. I’ve then hit “Subscribe” before I had time to notice and 💸 $2,023.
Don't End The Week With Nothing
I’m a capitalist. A friend of mine is a devoted Marxist. I think we mutually agree that, considering any particular employee, it is in that employee’s personal interest to stop selling hours of labor and start renting access to his accumulated capital as soon as humanly possible.
A lot of day jobs structurally inhibit capital formation. If I were a Marxist I’d say “And this is an intended consequence of Capital’s desire to keep Labor subservient to it”, but I honestly think it’s true even without anybody needing to twirl their mustache.
The Padres Owe Fernando Tatís Jr. $340 Million. He Owes an Investment Fund Millions From His Payday.
Tatís signed a contract with Big League Advance, an unusual investment fund that pays minor-league players money up front in exchange for a share of their future MLB earnings.
The Big League Advance payouts aren’t loans. If the player never reaches the majors, he doesn’t have to reimburse the money, and Big League Advance loses its stake. When a player turns into a MLB star like Tatís, Big League Advance receives a huge payout. In effect, Tatís is now funding a bunch of minor-leaguers who will never make it. It’s similar to a venture capital fund that backs lots of startups that fail, in return for a gigantic payday from getting in early on a company like Facebook or Uber.
Venture capital for all the things.
Citi Can’t Have Its $900 Million Back
Last August, Citigroup Inc. wired $900 million to some hedge funds by accident. Then it sent a note to the hedge funds saying, oops, sorry about that, please send us the money back. Some did. Others preferred to keep the money. Citi sued them. Yesterday Citi lost, and they got to keep the money. I read the opinion, by U.S. District Judge Jesse Furman, expecting to learn about the New York legal doctrine of finders keepers—more technically, the “discharge-for-value defense”—and I was not disappointed. But I was also treated to a gothic horror story about software design. I had nightmares all night about checking the wrong boxes on the computer.
People Are Worried About Payment for Order Flow
Okay let’s do payment for order flow again, because people are talking about it and that always stresses me out. Here’s an intuitive description of how it works.
The Shocking Meltdown of Ample Hills — Brooklyn’s Hottest Ice Cream Company
They had $19 million, a deal with Disney, and dreams of becoming the next Ben & Jerry’s. Then everything fell apart.
SPAC Magic Isn’t Free
Maybe the biggest capital markets story of 2020 was the boom in special purpose acquisition companies. A SPAC raises money from investors in a “blank check” initial public offering, puts the money in a pot, and goes out and looks for a private company to merge with. 1 In the merger, the target private company gets the money in the pot and the SPAC shareholders get shares in the new combined company; the result is that the target company has raised cash and gone public through the merger. It is an alternative to an IPO that can offer more speed and certainty and perhaps even a better price.
We have talked about SPACs before, but I have somehow neglected to express appreciation for the clever and elegant bit of financial engineering at the heart of the SPAC structure. Here’s how a SPAC works:
The 8th Wonder Of The World
In exchange for billions in tax subsidies, Foxconn was supposed to build an enormous LCD factory in the tiny village of Mount Pleasant, creating 13,000 jobs. Three years later, the factory — and the jobs — don’t exist, and they probably never will. Inside the empty promises and empty buildings of Wisconn Valley.
In short, I enjoy and appreciate The Times. And after paying over $300 a year for nearly a decade, and having read the Times on a near-daily basis for my entire adult life, I feel I qualify as a good customer. And they repay me by deliberately annoying me several times a day, every day, when I attempt to read the product I’m paying them for. How could one not find this outrageously annoying?
The lives upended around a $20 cheeseburger
A cash-strapped rancher, a virus-stricken meatpacker, an underpaid chef, a hungry engineer: The journey of a single burger during a pandemic
A bit dramatic, but a good look at the food supply chain.
The New York Times is opting out of Apple News
Unsubscribe: The $0-budget movie that ‘topped the US box office’
But on 10 June, one box office-topping movie was watched by just two people, in one cinema. Unsubscribe, a 29-minute horror movie shot entirely on video-conferencing app Zoom, generated $25,488 (£20,510) in ticket sales on that day. Nationwide, the movie hit the top of the charts, according to reputable revenue tacker Box Office Mojo. The budget of the movie: a flat $0. How was that possible?
Perhaps the highly anticipated moment that I’m going to contextualize today is totally inevitable, in a way. For years, there’s been a rumbling that Apple would take its knowledge of the ARM processor architecture and bring it to its desktop and laptop computers. Next week, at a virtual Worldwide Developers Conference, the iPhone giant is expected to do just that. Of course, many will focus on the failed partner, the jilted lover of the business relationship that led to Apple’s move to vertically integrate: Intel. But I’m interested in the demise of the platform Intel vanquished on its way to taking over Apple—and the parallels that have emerged between PowerPC and Intel over time. Today’s Tedium dives into Apple’s long list of jilted processor partners, leaning closely on the shift from PowerPC to Intel. Keep Apple happy, or else.
Greetings and salutations internet person! Have you ever pissed off a customer so much they bought a domain and stood up a website to shit on your asinine and boneheaded business practices? GE just did.
I just wanted a tall, cold, refreshing glass of water at 3am only to be greeted by a fucking atomic countdown on my trusty cold water and ice dispensing pal.
How to decode a data breach notice
But data breach notifications have become an all-too-regular exercise in crisis communications. These notices increasingly try to deflect blame, obfuscate important details and omit important facts. After all, it’s in a company’s best interest to keep the stock markets happy, investors satisfied and regulators off their backs. Why would it want to say anything to the contrary?
Wanted: Somewhere, Anywhere, to Store Lots of Cheap Oil
Storage schemes get creative, with would-be investors looking to sock it away in giant pools, caves or anywhere else
Touch And Go
Pondering the disastrous fate of the HP TouchPad, an early tablet based on WebOS that’s best known for being the subject of a well-remembered fire sale.