Medicines, Hertz,Silicon Valley, Rippling and Jio: The Week’s Most Interesting

It was simply a week of supreme positivity from my end. One man raising $10 Billion at the time of corona, New Zealand reporting zero cases for 5 straight days and going back to work and Musk taking some time off twitter to send a couple of astronauts to space. Not a big deal !

Sometimes you can see the old order crumbling, and sometimes it’s just what the constant stream of news makes you see. If you have seen the response of the US and UK to  COIVD as compared to say a New Zealand or Australia you start doubting the dominance of these countries in fields which have been their strength. For example the largest digital bank in not in the US (nor in China either) but rather in Brazil, the largest Robotic automation company is now in Romania and the traditional assumptions that we held for quite some time are starting to change. COVID at best would be a catalyst but never the primary reason.

So this week, I focus on three themes of Survival, Adaptability and Change. Does Pharma need to urgently rethink its supply chain? Can Silicon Valley actually remain dominant with its current model? Do you know of Parker Conrad’s comeback? And why is Jio, so COVID proof? Why did a 100 year old company collapse this month. By the end of all the articles you would see a common trend of proactiveness and getting structures right as opposed to fancy tactics. I also add the failure because it stands in stark contrast to the rest and well, you always learn more from it. 
1. For the world to break and get truly disrupted, two supply chains need to break, one is food and the other is medicines. A few back we had covered the food supply chain, its complications and its politics. We come back to an equally important supply chain, which has many more complications and problems and a whole mesh of inter country laws surrounding it. This article also gives you a view into what the future would look like, and another useful application of Blockchain.

2. What happens if you don’t adapt, or well don’t try hard enough? A friend sent me this a few days back. A 100 year old company, a common example in famous business books, crumbles not just because of COVID, but because over 10 years of challenges, it failed to evolve. As the ex-CEO said, ” No business is built on zero revenue.”

3. Is the end of Silicon Valley coming and what changes would they need to make. Half a century back Detroit was the world capital of Automobiles, but today it is more myth than reality. From Toyota to Volkswagen to Geely the world of automobiles has shifted quite a bit. Will the same happen with Silicon Valley, especially because of the anti-immigration stance? More than anything, this article give you a host of starting points to know more if you are interested in the same. Do read about a bunch of interesting companies mentioned here.

4.He binged Star Wars and lazed around in his home. That was after we was pushed out of his billion dollar startup. Now he is back with another startup. As I’ve mentioned before, some of these stories get missed out in the news.A fantastic profile and a beautiful story of Parker Conrad that you wouldn’t have read before.

5. It is the news you can’t avoid. I sort of have for more than a month in this newsletter but I can’t any more. But if you get Facebook, General Atlantic and Silver Lake and KKR to be interested, then there is something uniquely special about you. In COVID, JIo has made analysts change their competitive charts removing it from the group of Vodafone-Idea and placing it in the vicinity of Alphabet and Amazon. I found exactly one article on the larger picture rather than the smaller pieces of who is investing how much. Here it is.

One extra small article for this week. If you liked Ford vs Ferrari, you should really read up on Moderna vs. Pfizer. It is the pharmaceutical version of the race as both move towards clinical trail of the vaccine for COVID. But this offbeat article is about a Harvard professor and an early investor in Moderna. I hope the article gives perspective and I think it will just make you feel good about the world

Have fun reading !

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