Tidbits #39

Hello, hello!

Here’s what I found interesting recently.

Thanks for reading.


đź—ş Geopolitics

#1 Peter Thiel- “I do wonder whether at this point Bitcoin should also be thought in part of as a Chinese financial weapon against the U.S.”

Peter Thiel: Well, you know, I think there’s sort of a lot of different things that fall under digital currency, presumably one that’s electronic form that China envisions is one that can be monitored even more granularly the way they’re being monitored currently.

Read the rest “Tidbits #39”

Tidbits #7 – Strong Balance Sheets in Motion

Now that we are several months into the COVID19 pandemic, many companies have gotten over the initial stage of shock.

Many (weak) companies have already declared bankruptcy. Like JC Penney. Like Nieman Marcus. Like J Crew.

But, there’s another side to the coin. As discussed in a recent post, companies with strong balance sheets are not only defensive in periods of stress, but strong balance sheets can be deployed offensively to aggressively box out weaker competitors during periods of stress.… Read the rest “Tidbits #7 – Strong Balance Sheets in Motion”

Tidbits #1

Going forward, I’m planning on publishing posts with assorted links of interest under the headline “Tidbits”. Makes it easier to create lightweight thoughts while I wait for bigger ideas to finish baking.


A couple of items that almost slipped by during the Alibaba Single’s Day hullaballoo…

About 24% of U.S. retailers say they plan to run promotions for Singles Day, Adobe said, after conducting a poll of 402 U.S.

Read the rest “Tidbits #1”

Open Sesame

According to Wikipedia, Ali Baba opens the mouth of a treasure cave using the magical phrase “open sesame” in the story of “Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves”.

In similar ways, our Alibaba has been making incredible progress in opening a multitude of modern treasure caves…

Caves such as…

Single’s Day. Just a few days ago, Alibaba announced >$38 billion of GMV for their Single’s Day shopping festival (note that the RMB has weakened over the past year, which further obscures the incredible growth in riches they continue to find in this Single’s Day cave).… Read the rest “Open Sesame”

Attacking Adjacencies + Loss Leaders

Every tech/internet company today that has accumulated immense market power seems to have done it using two simple strategies: 1) Leverage a successful core customer base or asset to attack an adjacent market, and 2) Using a loss leader to encourage adoption.

Neither of these strategies are original and have been used effectively by some of the most successful offline businesses before.… Read the rest “Attacking Adjacencies + Loss Leaders”

Amazon’s Shifting Narrative

I have just a couple of links below centered around e-commerce that I found highly interesting and think worth your time.

I think the narrative around Amazon is starting to shift, not just from a regulatory perspective, but from a dominance perspective. Betting against Amazon has been a loser’s bet, but I think betting that Amazon needs to evolve is a clear one.… Read the rest “Amazon’s Shifting Narrative”

Alibaba Ramping Up Efforts in the US?

Looks like I’ve neglected to post in quite a while.

The past year has certainly been a blur with both market and geopolitical disruptions domestically and abroad. What started out as my good intention to take the market disruption as an opportunity to do more work on a number of companies I’ve long admired (largely within e-commerce and internet space), quickly lengthened into a years-long journey exploring new areas/industries such as payments, SaaS software, and biotechnology.… Read the rest “Alibaba Ramping Up Efforts in the US?”

Tencent’s Opportunity Beyond China – Games, not WeChat

Given the recent bout of market volatility, it’s a good time to revisit some businesses and/or explore new ones.

One of the ones on my list is Tencent (700 HK), China’s leading social network and digital entertainment player. Tencent has been a phenomenal performer over the long run. Despite rising close to 9x in the last 5 years, Tencent’s best days still seem to be far, far ahead of it.… Read the rest “Tencent’s Opportunity Beyond China – Games, not WeChat”

The Future of Ecommerce: Utilitarian vs Social

When people think about ecommerce today, they likely think about ecommerce along the lines of C2C (consumer-to-consumer), B2C (business-to-consumer), or B2B (business-to-business) – in other words, classification by type of buyers and sellers.

Or perhaps people think about 1P (1st party) vs 3P (3rd party), depending on whether the ecommerce platform itself engages in the direct buying and selling of goods.… Read the rest “The Future of Ecommerce: Utilitarian vs Social”

The Other Supply Chain Gorilla That May One Day Challenge Amazon

As detailed in my recent post, Amazon has built up quite a formidable competitive advantage through Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA). Not just on the demand side, which every happy Prime subscriber is already familiar with, but also on the supply side.

In that post I concluded the following:

Fulfillment is clearly beneficial on the demand side, but has a lot of supply side advantages as well.

Read the rest “The Other Supply Chain Gorilla That May One Day Challenge Amazon”

Supply Side Advantages of Fulfillment (by Amazon)

I wish I had spent more time analyzing Amazon in earnest years ago. But late is better than never. I’ll console myself with the fact that e-commerce penetration in the US is still <10% of all retail sales…and relative to that statistic, even the word “late” seems a bit premature.

Having spent a number of months learning more about Amazon’s history, assets, business model(s), and philosophy, one thing I’ve realized is that Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA) affords the company immense advantages on the supply side that I think are largely glossed over in mainstream media and investor dialogue.… Read the rest “Supply Side Advantages of Fulfillment (by Amazon)”

The World’s Most Valuable E-Commerce Company

Is possibly going to be Alibaba very soon.

Amazon vs BABA

For a long while following it’s IPO in 2014, investors were highly skeptical of Alibaba. Many still are, but many more are starting to recognize Alibaba’s incredible dominance in China. More importantly, as mentioned briefly in my post Tencent vs Alibaba on the Quest to Go Global, the company stands a fairly good chance of going global.… Read the rest “The World’s Most Valuable E-Commerce Company”

Tencent vs Alibaba on the Quest to Go Global

Finally catching up on some reading: Bloomberg published an excellent profile on Tencent and the co’s strategist, Martin Lau. I highly recommend the article as it not only goes through the history of the company, but reveals the type of thinking and mentality that has helped Tencent become one of the most successful companies in the world.

For the uninitiated, Tencent is one of the “BAT” trinity (Baidu, Alibaba, Tencent) that dominate the Chinese tech space.… Read the rest “Tencent vs Alibaba on the Quest to Go Global”