This Week’s Newley’s Notes, Turkey Day Edition: Amazon Killing it in India; Trump and Visas; Nature vs. Instagrammers

Newleys notes

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Hi friends, thanks for reading Newley’s Notes, a weekly newsletter where I share my stories and links to items that catch my eye.

Happy Thanksgiving! I hope you have a great one. Making a pecan pie? Don’t forget you can find my Aunt Cece’s famous recipe here! (Thanks for the reminder, Patrick B.!)

WHAT I WROTE IN THE WSJ

Jeff Bezos Invests Billions to Make Amazon a Top E-Commerce Player in India – This is a story I’d been working on for some time, and I’m happy with how it turned out. It begins:

NEW DELHI– Amazon.com Inc. founder Jeff Bezos, perturbed by his company’s failure to capture much of the massive Chinese market, had a pointed message for executives in India during a visit in 2014: Don’t let that happen here.

Do what it takes to succeed and don’t worry about the cost, Mr. Bezos said, according to a person who was present.

Amazon, which dominates online selling in the U.S. but so far has gained little traction in developing countries, has since invested billions of dollars to build a logistics network spanning India to reel in shoppers.

The result: the company rapidly became India’s No. 2 e-commerce player and moved within striking distance of local rival Flipkart Internet Pvt., according to some estimates. Indeed, Mr. Bezos last month declared Amazon was on top in a market it largely had ignored until recent years, though he didn’t say by which measure.

Click through for a video (you may recognize the narrator’s voice). A colleague and I also chatted about the story on Facebook Live; the video has been watched more than 40,000 times.

What President-Elect Donald Trump Said About Working Visas to the U.S.. The story begins:

U.S. President-elect Donald Trump on Monday said his administration will scrutinize what he called “abuses” of visas amid speculation that he intends to restrict the flow of skilled workers into his country.

In a two-minute video posted on YouTube, Mr. Trump for the first time since the Nov. 8 election articulated to the public what he plans to do during his first 100 days in office.

“On immigration,” Mr. Trump said, “I will direct the Department of Labor to investigate all abuses of visa programs that undercut the American worker.”

Indian Online Payments Firm Paytm Says Cash Crunch Has Boosted Business. The story begins:

Indian online payment firm Paytm says it has added 8 million new users in the two weeks since the government announced the replacement of the country’s highest-denomination bank notes.

In a bid to root out corruption, counterfeit money and tax evasion, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Nov. 8 announced the replacement of notes worth 500 rupees ($7.30) and 1,000 rupees ($14.60). That move has resulted in a cash shortage, with scores of people lining up outside ATMs and banks to deposit their cash, exchange old notes or withdraw new bills.

WHAT I WROTE AT NEWLEY.COM

Book Notes — Fooled by Randomness, by Nassim Nicholas Taleb. The latest in my series of posts about books I’ve been reading. Previous such posts are here.

FIVE ITEMS THAT ARE WORTH YOUR TIME THIS WEEK:

1) The New York Times’s 100 best books of the year. Among those on the list that caught my eye and I’d like to read: “Born to Run,” Bruce Springsteen’s autobiography, and Don DeLillo’s new novel, “Zero K.” Surprised to see here, as I read it and wasn’t hugely impressed: “Before the Fall,” a thriller by Noah Hawley.

2) Great idea for a world map: every country, with their tourism slogans. I am so happy to be living in Incredible !ndia.

3) “What Is The Most Underrated American Poem?” This piece at Ploughshares puts the question to several poets, critics and academics.

4) Instagrammers are ruining America’s natural treasures. What happens to a once-unknown swimming hole when it’s suddenly overrun by hundreds of social media addicts?

5) Humorous “SNL” video: Can’t stomach the notion of a Trump presidency? Consider moving to “The Bubble.”

Thanks for reading.

Love,
Newley

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