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Issue 367 – 03/06/2020

Mar 6, 2020 | Fifteen on Friday

The Pattern of Epidemics, Tech Disruption, and Speed Monopoly

Issue 367

by David Wells – Nashville TN

From the Editor
Well its finally Friday,

It has been quite the week here in Nashville.  After an unbelievably gorgeous last weekend with sun and temps in the high 60s, things changed dramatically early Tuesday morning when an EF-3 tornado tore through town leaving in its wake a path of destruction.  Later, an EF-4 tornado touched down in Putnam County to the east of Nashville.  In just minutes, life changed.  From the tragic loss of 25 lives to the families who lost homes, it was and is a stark reminder of life’s fragility. 

And yet since then, we’ve seen Nashville at its best.  From donations of food and water, to countless volunteers, the city has rallied again to take care of its own.  The same indomitable spirit we saw in the Flood of 2010 has thankfully not been diluted by the influx of new folks who have made Nashville their home since.  Instead, the entire community, newcomers and old timers alike, is linking arms and showing again what makes Nashville such a special place. 

Original content:
All the best,


Food for Thought

  • TheAtlantic – The Pattern That Epidemics Always Follow There are many possible articles to share this week on COVID-19.  I’ve tried to focus on two that are both rational and evidence-based. “Which brings us to the last stage of epidemic grief: rational response”
  • NYT –  The Bleak Job Landscape of Adjunctopia for Ph.D.s  In 1995, roughly 940,000 people were employed teaching college. Of those, about 400,000 had tenure or were on track to get it. From 1995 to 2022, college enrollment increased from 12.2MM to 18.1MM.  Over the same period, the number of contingent faculty more than doubled, to 1.1 million. The number of tenured and tenure-track faculty, by contrast, increased by only 9.6 percent, to 436,000.
  • GQ – The Great Buenos Aires Bank Heist They were an all-star crew. They cooked up the perfect plan. And when they pulled off the caper of the century, it made them more than a fortune—it made them folk heroes.
  • NYT – Inside China’s All-Out War on the Coronavirus Dr. Bruce Aylward, of the W.H.O., got a rare glimpse into Beijing’s campaign to stop the epidemic. Here’s what he saw.


  • Oaktree – Nobody Knows II  Howard Marks doesn’t disappoint with his measured rationality and thinking in this quarter’s piece.
  • BBC – The boss who put everyone on 70KIn 2015, the boss of a card payments company in Seattle introduced a $70,000 minimum salary for all of his 120 staff – and personally took a pay cut of $1m. Five years later he’s still on the minimum salary, and says the gamble has paid off
  • WSJ – The Movie Theater Isn’t Taking Your Netflix Addiction Lying Down “If your customer was happy with your service or product, they wouldn’t be so quick to embrace the new technology. ” see also – Disruption Starts with Unhappy Customers, Not Technology – I would point to much of the fall out going on in retail as due to the same phenomena.  Retailers had become complacent with their offerings and e-commerce was the first bet of innovation in consumption in a very long time.




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