Outside the Box, December 2017

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Why Twitter, Facebook and Google Are the Antisocial Networks

December 27, 2017

In today’s Outside the Box we resume our eight-part Strategic Investment Conference Speaker Series with my friend Niall Ferguson, senior fellow of the Hoover Institution at Stanford and the Center for European Studies at Harvard. Niall has a cautionary tale for us on the topic of social networks.

The problem, in a nutshell:

Facebook certainly made an impact last year, but not quite the impact the young Zuckerberg had in mind in his Harvard dorm. A committed believer in globalisation who tends...

Europe’s Era of Harmony Is Over

December 20, 2017

No one else I know can muster as much deep experience and insight into the sprawling, incendiary world of geopolitics as my good friend George Friedman, founder and chairman of Geopolitical Futures; and in today’s Outside the Box – part 2 of my 8-part SIC Speaker Series – George brings all his powers to bear to issue quite a declamatory statement on the present and future of the European Union.

George’s argument can be summarized as “the center cannot hold.” With Brexiteers on its western...

Mark Yusko Hits a Four-Bagger

December 13, 2017

My friend Mark Yusko, founder and chief investment officer of Morgan Creek Capital Management, is a phenomenon; and when you read his third-quarter letter, excerpted in today’s Outside the Box, you’ll see what I mean. His missive (a 72-pager!), has two main parts: a “Letter to Fellow Investors” and Morgan Creek’s “Third Quarter Market Review and Outlook.”

Now, I could subject you to the latter, but the former is a heck of a lot more fun. It’s an amazing disquisition that takes us deep into the...

Does Amazon Create Jobs? Well, It Hired 75,000 Robots in 2017

December 6, 2017

Like millions of other people, I am a fan and a user of Amazon. They do make buying things convenient, especially little things that you might have to go to art specialty stores to find. I’m a huge user of the Kindle app on my iPad, especially since I learned that I do not technically own the books I buy from the Apple bookstore. If I ever wanted to migrate away from an Apple product, I could not take my books that I purchased on Apple to a competing platform.

Not only can I do that with the...