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Newley's Notes

In This Week’s Newley’s Notes: Tech Stories from HK; Asian Godfathers; Ode to Trustafarians; Aging Goalkeepers; King Tut’s Meteoritic Dagger

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Hi friends,

Thanks for reading Newley’s Notes, a weekly newsletter where I share my WSJ stories, posts from my blog, and various interesting links.

What I wrote in The Wall Street Journal

Singapore’s Grab App Can Now Hail Lyft Cars in U.S.:

The latest step in a global ride-sharing alliance between rivals of Uber Technologies Inc. went into effect Thursday, allowing users of a popular Southeast Asia-focused transportation app to begin making car bookings via Lyft Inc. in the U.S.

I also spent Thurs. and Fri. in Hong Kong attending The WSJ’s Converge tech conference. In addition to posing for creepy pics with humanoid robots, I wrote some stories. To wit:

Microsoft Not Building Driverless Car But Wants to Help With Tech:

Microsoft Corp. isn’t building its own self-driving car, but is bullish on helping others with related technology, a senior executive said.

Southeast Asia Startup Scene Is Sunny, Investors Say:

Venture capitalists and investors attending the Converge technology conference in Hong Kong on Friday expressed optimism about the future of startups in Southeast Asia, despite significant challenges.

What I wrote at Newley.com

Book Notes — ‘Asian Godfathers,’ by Joe Studwell – Probably the best book I’ve ever read on Southeast Asia. Highly recommended.

5 items that are worth your time this week:

1) An interesting thread on Quora sure to appeal to productivity nerdz: “What is the most powerful tip you’ve gained from reading a self-help book?”

2) “Why I Quit My Job to Travel the World”, by Joe Veix at The New Yorker, is an excellent send-up of “digital nomad” (or, perhaps more fittingly, “trustifarian”) culture. It opens:

On paper, my life seemed great. I had a dream job, a swanky apartment, and a loving girlfriend. But something was off. I couldn’t bear being chained to my desk in a stuffy office any longer. So I decided to quit and travel the world, bringing only my passport, a small backpack, and my enormous trust fund.

I also like:

As a citizen of the world, I rarely get lonely. Everywhere I go, I meet such diverse groups of people. In hostels, I’ve shared beers with friendly British and Australian twenty-somethings. In hotels, I’ve sipped wine with friendly British and Australian forty-somethings. We all became lifelong friends, despite the language barriers.

And:

Of course, this “no reservations” life style isn’t for everyone. In many ways, it’s harder than the old corporate grind. Many stores don’t accept my Centurion card. Sometimes it’s difficult to get even one bar of cell service, which makes Instagramming more gelato a real struggle.

3) The Onion has a nice take on the passing of The Greatest: “Dozens Of Social Issues Thankful They Never Had To Go Toe-To-Toe With Muhammad Ali.”

4) Video of the week: Mexcian club Pachuca’s 43-year-old (yes, 43-year-old!) goalkeeper, Oscar “El Conejo” Perez, pulls off a triple save against Monterrey in his side’s the Mexican league title-winning game. Did I mention he’s 43?

5) So, King Tut’s dagger was made out of a meteorite. Here’s the original paper.

Reader feedback

Remember Flyover Country, the app I mentioned last week that provides geographic details on the land you’re flying over? Reader Mechum P. writes to point out that it does, indeed, work outside the U.S. “Flyover Country works everywhere! but it can be slow to download your routes,” he says. Thanks for the feedback.

Have a great week!

@Newley

P.S. If someone forwarded you this email, you can subscribe here.

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Newley's Notes

In This Week’s Newley’s Notes: Apple Stores in India; Subaru’s Memorable Marketing Campaign; Capybaras as Pets; Neanderthal stalagmite constructions

The latest edition of my email newsletter has gone out to subscribers. It’s pasted in below.

To get these weekly dispatches delivered to your inbox, sign up here. It’s free, it’s fun, it’s brief — and few people unsubscribe!


Hi friends,

Thanks for reading Newley’s Notes, a weekly newsletter where I share my WSJ stories, posts from my blog, and various interesting links.

What I wrote in The Wall Street Journal

“Indian Ministries Divide on Apple’s Retail Vision” – India’s minister for commerce and industry said today she supports waiving rules that could block Apple Inc.’s retail stores. Apple wants its own shops in India for brand visibility; it’s still unclear if that will happen.

What I wrote at Newley.com

Book Notes — ‘The One Thing,’ by Gary Keller with Jay Papasan. For a while now, I’ve kept, on index cards, notes about many of the books I’ve read. I’ve decided to start sharing these notes as blog posts. Stay tuned for more.

5 items that are worth your time this week:

1) “How an Ad Campaign Made Lesbians Fall in Love with Subaru.” Fascinating. From the piece:

“When we did the research, we found pockets of the country like Northampton, Massachusetts, and Portland, Oregon, where the head of the household would be a single person—and often a women,” says Bennett. When Subaru marketers talked to these customers, they realized these women buying Subarus were lesbian.

And:

Many of them even felt an affinity with the name.

‘Subaru’ is the Japanese name for the Pleiades, a six-star constellation. When Kenji Kita, the CEO of Subaru’s parent company, Fuji Heavy Industries, chose the name in 1954, he chose it to represent how six Japanese companies had merged to form Fuji Heavy Industries. But in English, the constellation is also known as the Seven Sisters—the same name as a group of American women’s colleges.

2) Great idea for an app: You can consult Flyover Country while in the air to learn about interesting geologic formations below your plane. More info here. (Note: It’s unclear to me if this works just in the U.S., or elsewhere, as well.)

3) This is an incredible. A Swiss graphic designer spent some 1,000 hours recreating all of 1977’s “Star Wars Episodie IV – A New Hope” – in a single, 123-meter-long, scrollable infographic. #Dedication

4) It appears that Neanderthals built constructions out of stalagmites deep inside a cave in France some 176,000 years ago. But no one knows what they were for. For more, here’s the original paper.

5) I was researching capybaras – yes, you read that right; they’ve been in the news – and came across this amazing video of two people who have made pets of the huge rodents. Here’s a video of the pair, Romeo and Tuff’n, going shopping.

Have a great week!

@Newley

P.S. If someone forwarded you this email, you can subscribe here.

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Newley's Notes

In This Week’s Newley’s Notes: Alibaba in SE Asia; Social VC in Vietnam; ‘Pet Sounds’ Turns 50; Self-Elevating Chopsticks

The latest edition of my email newsletter has gone out to subscribers. It’s pasted in below.

To get these weekly dispatches delivered to your inbox, sign up here. It’s free, it’s fun, it’s brief — and few people unsubscribe!


Hi friends,

Thanks for reading Newley’s Notes, a weekly newsletter where I share my WSJ stories, posts from my blog, and various interesting links.

I haven’t been as good of late about sending these dispatches out every single week, mostly due to general busyness and travel. But I’m aiming to change that.

What I wrote in The Wall Street Journal:

Alibaba to Invest $1 Billion in E-Commerce Startup Lazada – A huge tech story here in Southeast Asia: The Chinese Web titan is making a big move for Lazada – a company may recall I profiled back in 2014 – in a bet on the growth of e-commerce here.

TLDR: Alibaba wants to expand and grow outside China, and Lazada is a leader in selling stuff online in a part of the world that is populous and primed for growth as more and more people get connected for the first time.

Vietnam: The Challenges of Investing in Social Good – A colleague and I put together this video about a San Francisco-based venture capital firm that’s funding startups in Vietnam. The goal: make money – and improve lives. (You may recognize the narrator’s voice.)

5 items that are worth your time this week:

1) “Trump Can’t Break the Republican Party”. That’s the title of a WSJ op-ed by political analyst and author Michael Barone, who puts The Donald’s rise – and coming fall? – into perspective:

Even if Donald Trump secures the Republican nomination and somehow overcomes current polls to be elected president, there will be few Trump clones among Republicans in Congress and in state and local office.

If he is nominated and defeated by a wide margin, he will not leave behind a Trumpist movement with the popular and intellectual depth of the conservative movement following Goldwater’s defeat 52 years ago—his legacy may be little more than an impulse toward opposition to trade agreements and legalization of illegal immigrants. If he is not nominated and tries to run as an independent, he will not have the support of as significant a third-party apparatus as Theodore Roosevelt did 104 years ago.

2) Here’s the trailer for “Swiss Army Man”, which appears to be a very…odd new film starring Paul Dano and Daniel Radcliffe. Dano looks to be stranded on a desert island, then encounters Radcliffe, whose body is effectively…a Swiss Army knife. I think?

3) Internet access is severely limited in Cuba, and many people turn to couriers who deliver pirated versions of movies, TV and music via USB drives. Their deliveries are known as “el paquete semanal,” or “the weekly package.” Not the first story to be written about this practice, but a pretty detailed account.

4) This week in eating implements innovation: “Gravity Chopsticks” are built so that when you set them down, the business ends are lifted up in the air, and don’t get dirty. There is also a video.

5) Various artists reflect on The Beach Boys’ “Pet Sounds,” which was released 50 years ago next month. It is one of my favorite albums of all time.

Have a great week!

@Newley

 

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Newley's Notes

In This Week’s Newley’s Notes: Space Archaeology (!), Notebook Nerdery, Plus-Size Male Models and More

The latest edition of my email newsletter has gone out to subscribers. It’s pasted in below.

To get these weekly dispatches delivered to your inbox, sign up here. It’s free, it’s fun, it’s brief — and few people unsubscribe!


Hi friends,

Thanks for reading Newley’s Notes, a weekly newsletter where I share my WSJ stories, posts from my blog, and various interesting links.

I’m back after an excellent week off that included seeing friends, lounging on the beach, and reading some fantastic books — real, old-fashioned, paper books! Among them: Jonathan Franzen’s newest novel, “Purity,” which I absolutely loved for its vivid characters and plot lines that span decades.

On to this week’s update:

What I wrote in The Wall Street Journal:

Blackstone to Buy HP Enterprise’s Stake in Mphasis — HP Enterprise stands to make about $825 million on the deal, selling its stake in the Indian outsourcer. Private equity titan Blackstone, meanwhile, is showing their optimism in outsourcing even as the industry faces big challenges.

Singapore’s Garena Raises New Funds, Valuing It at $3.75 Billion — In this exclusive, I wrote about the Southeast Asia-focused online gaming and e-commerce company’s newest fundraising, showing investors’ confidence that it will continue to grow. Click through a video, narrated by yours truly.

Online Auctioning Made Easier With Asia-Based Apps — My colleague and I wrote about the rise of consumer-to-consumer shopping apps, like Singapore’s Carousell and Shopee and Japan’s Mercari. This one also has a video.

5 items that are worth your time this week:

1. Various non-fiction filmmakers tell The Guardian about their favorite documentaries. There are fifty interesting films on this list, many new to me.

2. A graffiti artist in Cairo recently unveiled a fascinating piece that spans dozens of buildings. Very cool.

3. I am a huge notebook nerd, and I enjoyed this roundup of 16 well-known designers displaying photos of their favorite notebooks. (Via the always-fun Notebook Stories blog.)

4. A space archaeologist — yes, you read that right — at the University of Alabama at Birmingham examined high-altitude infrared images, discovering what might be the “holy grail” of Viking landmarks: a second settlement in North America.

5. Quote of the week: “Men want to see normal-looking guys modelling their clothes.” That’s from plus-size male model Zach Miko, the first such model signed to IMG. (Thanks, Anasuya!)

Have a great week!

— @Newley

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Newley's Notes

In This Week’s Newsletter: Silly Vampires Mocumentary; Dogs’ Souls; a Master Imposter and More

The latest edition of my email newsletter has gone out to subscribers. It’s pasted in below.

To get these weekly dispatches delivered to your inbox, sign up here. It’s free, it’s fun, it’s brief — and few people unsubscribe!


Hi friends,

Happy Year of the Monkey! The Chinese New Year (also known as the Lunar New Year) is officially upon us here in Singapore.

It’s a public holiday and everything’s shut down; offices and schools are closed today and tomorrow. All around our neighborhood in central Singapore, red and gold decorations are hung from buildings, and the occasional sounds of lion dances can be heard.

On to the update.

What I wrote at Newley.com:

The 10 Must-Have Apps I Install on Every New Mac — The item begins:

Following my recent post about what’s on my iPhone home screen at the beginning of 2016, I decided to do the same for my must-have Mac apps.

I consider these apps requirements when setting up any new machine — essentially, I feel that I need them to use the computer effectively.

Hopefully this will give others who are looking for new or useful apps some ideas.

What am I missing here? Let me know via email (n@newley.com) or Twitter (@newley).

Five items that are worth your time this week:

1. Remember the story not long ago about Amazon’s first-ever physical book shop in Seattle? It looks like the online retailing titan might be planning to open as many as 400 in the U.S.

2. “What We Do in the Shadows” is a very silly mockumentary about vampires.

3. Here are some portraits of dogs and cats purporting to show a little bit of their souls. I’m not a big believer in souls (period), but these images do seem to suggest there’s something going on in the minds of dogs. Cats? Maybe not so much. Here’s more about the images, by photographer Robert Bahou.

4. This amazing website allows you to enter a search term and find screencaps using subtitles from “Simpsons” episodes.

5. Quote of the week, from a fascinating New York Times story on “professional imposter” Jeremy Wilson:

“He has portrayed himself as a Scottish-born D.J., a Cambridge-trained thespian, a Special Forces officer and a professor at M.I.T. He has posed as executives from Microsoft, British Airways and Apple, always with a military background. He pretended to be a soldier seeking asylum in Canada to escape anti-Semitic attacks in the United States. He once maintained an Irish accent so well and for so long that his cellmate in an Indiana jail was convinced that he was an Irish mobster.”

Thanks for reading Newley’s Notes, a weekly newsletter where I share my WSJ stories, posts from my blog, and various interesting links.

* Administrative note: I mistakenly labeled last week’s dispatch number 44, when it should have been 43. So this is one is rightly called number 44.

Have a great week!

@Newley

P.S. If someone forwarded you this email, you can subscribe here. And here’s the archive of past dispatches.