Top articles of the week | March 20

March 20, 2021

Every week, we put together a list of our top 5 articles of the past week. Happy reading!

Amazon’s Cash Flow Behind the Balance Sheet (reading time: 11 minutes)

One of the secrets of Amazon’s success is that their competition was asleep at the wheel for a long time. Most executives in retail in the early 2000s believed that Amazon was unprofitable and was going to be. However, a closer look at their financials showed amazing cash flow and everything being reinvested into the business – so unprofitable but investing for growth. This post dissects Amazon’s operating cash flow and shows just how impressive the business is. Another great article this past week is Benedict Evans’ breakdown of their advertising business which also is a money printing machine.

Platforms, Funding, and the Future Alex Danco (reading time: 11 minutes)

We are really only at the beginning of understanding how pay-per-use API services and platforms are going to change the business models and financing structures of the companies who use them. And who better to co-invest into this transformation than the platforms themselves?

In his latest post, Alex Danco covers the hot startup Pipe. This company transforms recurring revenue into upfront capital for growth; so instead of equity, a company can sell its recurring revenue contracts as debt. It’s a great read on the innovation around financing.

The Housing Boom That Never Ends Already Wiped Out All the Short-Sellers Bloomberg (reading time: 8 minutes)

The buying, selling and building of homes in Canada takes up a larger share of the economy than it does in any other developed country,

This isn’t a strategy or technology article but found it fascinating to learn about the Canadian housing market. I always assumed that prices were getting higher particularly in Toronto where friends have shared their experiences. This post details the potential “bubble” and what has caused prices to continue rising.

DoorDash: Re-Inventing Last-Mile Logistics Secret Capital (reading time: 25 minutes)

DoorDash has a big vision, to become the last-mile logistics company. This is a fantastic profile of the company’s history and strategy. There are very important notions like density and optionality (like the massive opportunity in grocery). This reads like a HBR case study but one that is still being played out right now.

Write Ups A Brief History of the Corporation: 1600 to 2100 Ribbon Farm (reading time: 39 minutes)

I’ve been thinking and writing a lot about the nature of the corporation recently. Antoine shared this great article by Venkatesh Rao. It’s an ambitious effort, capturing the history of the corporation as an intellectual construct. Even though the article is 10 years old, it’s quite prescient if you look at what’s happening in technology today.