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The IPO Boom. Just one of those things. Buy Amazon. And a bunch of useful tips.

Cole Porter figured the tech IPO craze eons ago (my bolding):

It was just one of those things
Just one of those crazy flings
One of those bells that now and then rings
Just one of those things

It was just one of those nights
Just one of those fabulous flights
A trip to the moon on gossamer wings
Just one of those things

If we’d thought a bit before the end of it
When we started painting the town
We’d have been aware that our love affair
Was too hot not to cool down

So good-bye, dear, and amen
Here’s hoping we meet now and then
It was great fun
But it was just one of those things

Just one of those things for IPOs of companies with accelerating sales and accelerating losses — and no early profits, e.g. Uber, Lyft, Peloton, WeWork.

Many brokers are now peddling pre-IPO shares to investors.

With 24-hour TV financial channels and so many Internet finance sites, we are increasingly substituting enthusiasm for intelligence in our financial decisions. Be wary.

I like Amazon here

And the New Yorker has a big piece:

A fellow who was a senior exec at Amazon until recently told a friend:

The main thing I would cache is that no where at Amazon is there an ambition to take over the world or space. There is just a relentless focus on the consumer. There are no excuses. It’s all about efficiency, leverage and impact against what is best for the consumer.

Quotes from the long (and boring) New Yorker article include:

“Everything Jeff does is to stop a big-company mentality from taking hold, so that Amazon can continue behaving like a group of startups.” Among the worst sins was doing anything that slowed the company down. (As the Leadership Principles put it, “Speed matters.”)

Ian Freed was soon assigned to help oversee the creation of a new e-reader, the Kindle. His team expanded quickly (“Hire and Develop the Best”), came up with dozens of concepts and prototypes (“Invent and Simplify”), and, in just a few years, delivered a device of startling simplicity and elegance. When the Kindle was launched, in 2007, it sold out in less than six hours, and soon became one of the most popular gadgets of the past quarter century.

Amazon is special not because of any asset or technology but because of its culture-its Leadership Principles and internal habits. Bezos refers to the company’s management style as Day One Thinking: a willingness to treat every morning as if it were the first day of business, to constantly reëxamine even the most closely held beliefs. “Day Two is stasis,” Bezos wrote, in a 2017 letter to shareholders. “Followed by irrelevance. Followed by excruciating, painful decline. Followed by death. And that is why it is always Day One.”

According to Amazon insiders, Bezos adamantly refuses to consider slowing the company’s growth, fearing that its culture will break down if the pace slackens. He is determined to defend his creation aggressively. For years, Amazon was largely content to remain silent amid criticism-one Leadership Principle is “We accept that we may be misunderstood for long periods of time”-but the company now responds to nearly every provocation.

You can read the New Yorker piece here.

Useful tips

+ When you’re calling tech support, ask for Second Tier Support. You’ll get someone who knows more than telling to reboot your whatever. You might actually get your problem solved.

+ I’ve changed my mind. Don’t wait for Apple’s 5G iPhones. If you need a new phone with a decent camera, buy one today. 5G will be a long time coming. Today’s 4G LTE are plenty fast.

+ Never sign up for Alignable or LinkedIn. You’ll never get off either.

+ My son is getting nearly a phenomenal one gig per second from his Internet provider — CenturyLink. That’s the speed he gets from being wired directly to the router. He gets less on WiFi. How much less? Depends on the quality of your WiFi router. Some older ones simply can’t handle today’s extraordinarily high Internet speeds — especially those delivered on fiber. You need to run speed checks on all your equipment. I like this place for speed checks. Click here.

+ Don’t even think about being a tourist in Turkey. It’s beautiful, but dangerous.

+ Before you buy a light fixture, check that it will take an LED bulb. This $365 one from Design within Reach doesn’t. I don’t know why. I thought all did.

Cell phones are dangerous

No one knows what happens to your brain after many years of holding a cell phone to your head. But using a Bluetooth or corded headset makes huge sense — and is also the FDA’s recommendations. Click here.

Drive this advice into young children’s brains. Their heads are thinner and less formed than yours or mine. Hence radiation penetrates more easily.

Take this cell phone warning seriously. It takes time for studies to emerge. Think the history of … cigarettes, cocaine (in Coca Cola), lead paint, feet fluoroscopes, Thalidomide, etc.

Two iterations of spam

Whenever you sign for something on the Internet, you’re likely to eventually get spam like this:

Solution: I have a special email addresses to sign up to places I feel uncomfortable with. Sometimes that address gets sold and re-sold. I kill it quickly. And start with another dubious one. My latest is HarryFlash. My previous was Harry Slack.

I love this Borowitz

Some beautiful news

Outside our window yesterday morning (October 14), Columbia County, New York:

Weekend sunset Columbia County. Photos by Mark Johnson:

New York’s Central Park became a destination wedding for a young Russian couple from Moscow last Thursday:

Go figure this latest madness.

This sold out and is now a prized item on eBay, selling for between $20 and $50 a can!

Today is beautiful. Earnings season is starting. Looks like it will be good.

The China Trade “Deal’ means little. They say they will buy agricultural products from us. We will postpone an increase in tariffs scheduled for the next few days. Nothing else. Nothing is signed.  So semi-good. For more, click here.

Earnings season will dominate the news, for now.

Take it easy. Go for a walk. Play tennis. Go biking with Ed (my friend).

— Harry Newton