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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

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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.

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

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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.

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Newley's Notes

Newley’s Notes 44: GrabTaxi —> Grab; Your Purpose in Life; ‘Gilmore Girls’; Taco Literacy

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

 

————

 

Hi friends, 

 

It’s earnings season, and various tech companies have been releasing their quarterly results in recent days. 

 

Google parent company Alphabet had a huge quarter, with the stock popping, pushing the firm past Apple as the world’s most valuable public company, at least for now. 

 

Amazon, meanwhile, posted its biggest quarterly profit yet — but the stock fell, with sales falling short of expectations

 

Stat of the week: messaging app WhatsApp now has one billion users. That means one in every seven people on the face of the planet uses the platform. Astounding when you consider something like half of the globe is still not connected to the web. 

 

On to the update. 

 

What I wrote in The Wall Street Journal:

 

Why Southeast Asia’s GrabTaxi Is Removing ‘Taxi’ From Its Name. Uber’s main rival in the region wants to communicate that it offers services like private car rides, not just taxi booking.  

 

What I wrote at Newley.com:

 

5 Questions That Will Help You Figure Out Your Purpose in Life — A look at an interesting YouTube video, and a book recommendation. 

 

Five items that are worth your time this week:

 

1. If you are lucky enough to be a student at the University of Kentucky, you can now take a class called “Taco Literacy: Public Advocacy and Mexican Food in the US South.” 

 

Per the syllabus, required reading includes “Planet Taco: A Global History of Mexican Food,” “Tacopedia,” and “Taco USA: How Mexican Food Conquered America.” Here’s an interview with the professor, Steven Alvarez.  

 

2. How did monkeys get across the Atlantic, way back when, from Africa to South America

 

3. Huge news for fans — ahem, Anasuya — of “Gilmore Girls.” The series is officially returning — to Neflix, no less — with the original stars and creator. 

 

4. The new Apple TV is excellent for many reasons, chiefly among them the integration of Siri, which allows you to search for shows or movies by voice, rather than by typing. But there are also some cool apps; here are a few

 

5. Former Barcelona coach Pep Guardiola, perhaps the world’s best manager, is leaving Bayern Munich for Manchester City. Man City have big money, big ambitions, and now a seriously big time, big name coach. Are they a dynasty in the making

 

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

 

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

  

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