The Diff

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The Diff: Inflections in Finance and Tech

The Diff is a daily newsletter that aims to answer a simple question: "In a few centuries when historians reach a consensus on what was happening today, what will they believe?" Themes include Big Tech, Tiny Tech, and Finance. The Diff also touches on more time-sensitive trends, including COVID-19, public pensions, American universities, as well as the competition between the United States and China.


Peak California

This piece argues that expensive real estate in the Bay Area benefits big, cash flow-positive tech companies over cash-poor startups.

The 30-Year Mortgage is an Intrinsically Toxic Product

This piece argues that buying a home is a bad personal finance decision—doubling down on the local job market—and as a side effect, it distorts the global yield curve.

The Slow-Motion Trainwreck Facing the Meal-Kit Industry

The core thesis here is that Blue Apron’s funding validated the market, prompting competitors to show up and go after their customers—which raised customer acquisition costs and churn, collapsing the CAC/LTV calculation that the business was predicated on. Blue Apron went public four months later and has since lost 98% of its value.

What is We!? Understanding the WeWork IPO

“Best summary I've read, by a mile, of the perplexing, slippery, and creative real estate/tech company called WeWork.”— Brent Beshore. “[B]y far the best thing I've read on WeWork.” — Joe Weisenthal.