[TRUP – Trupanion] A SaaSy Underwriter

Looking at TRUP is like staring at one of those ambiguous images that could be both a rabbit and a duck, both a saxophonist and a woman’s face: we know that this is an insurance company, but we’re compelled to analyze it as a data-driven subscription service. Of course, all responsible insurers are data-driven and […]

Podcast Blurbs [Death, Dropbox moat, Common knowledge, Saying “no”]

Waking Up: Sam Harris, Ep. #104 (The Lessons of Death) Sam Harris “How we think about death changes depending on whether we’re thinking about dying ourselves or about losing the people we love.  But whichever side of the coin we take here, death is really an ever-present reality for us…it’s always announcing itself in the […]

[FSV – FirstService; CWD LN – Countrywide plc] Scale Economies and Hard Realities: Part 1

Today’s post is part of a broader discussion about scale advantages: when they apply and to what degree.  I’m addressing this topic in the context of rolled-up entities because, in my experience, it is here that scale advantages seem far too liberally promoted, even if they do sometimes apply with awesome effect.  This write-up was […]

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Blurbs [Online travel, B2B2C implementation]

Executive Roundtable: Street Talk (11/9/17), Phocuswright Conference Rachael Rothman, Sr. Analyst, Gaming, Lodging, and Leisure at Susquehanna Financial Group (on hotel demand) “I think we know from the industry-wide data that there is a definite shift to book direct…I would also just highlight that going back 30 years from hotel school, we always thought of […]

[CSGP – CoStar Group; REIS – Reis Inc.] Tale of Two Data Providers

Before REIS and CoStar came onto the scene in 1980 and 1987, respectively, accessing clean and current data on rental rates, vacancies, absorption, precedent comps, and all the rest required to intelligently transact in commercial real estate was a vexing, ad hoc process.  In the early/mid-90s, juniors staffed across various financial institutions devoted significant chunks […]

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Podcast Blurbs [Webs of value, Modular mind, European tech regulation]

Y Combinator (11/10/17; Tencent’s Chief Exploration Officer, David Wallerstein on WeChat, QQ, and Gaming) David Wallerstein “I think think no discussion of Tencent’s history is complete without a serious discussion about Microsoft because around this time, 2001, 2002, I believe Microsoft did something very important for us. They bundled Windows Messenger into the operating system, […]

[TripAdvisor, Trivago, OTAs] Thoughts on the Carnage

Trivago’s “relevance assessment dimension”, implemented in late 2016, is an algorithmic adjustment that compels hotel advertisers to improve their landing sites and booking engines if they want to rank higher in trivago’s search results.  The idea is that while the user experience starts with a room search on trivago, it extends to when she clicks off […]

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[ODFL – Old Dominion Freight Line] Superb Logistics Company

I don’t think there’s anything to do here given the lofty valuation (30x on what feel like peak earnings), but I like this company and thought it was worth a quick shout out.  Old Dominion is an incredibly well-run business staffed with high-caliber folks who care deeply about their work.  The first thing to understand […]

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