Top articles of the week | September 12

September 12, 2020

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

Pinduoduo and Vertically Integrated Social Commerce Turner Novak (reading time: 38 minutes)

Last week, we covered Tencent and their astonishing investment division. This week, I caught up on a more recent Chinese tech upstart called Pinduoduo. In only 5 years, it became China’s second largest ecommerce company and valued at over $100 billion dollars. This detailed post covers its meteoric rise and the interesting role of Tencent’s WeChat. This is an amazing entrepreneurial journey with some very cool product innovations too (like team buying). It appears that China’s ecommerce ecosystem is unique and will not necessarily be replicated elsewhere (as I used to believe).

Why Venture Capitalists Gave Two 27-Year-Olds $1 Billion To Build The Ultimate Online Convenience Store Forbes (reading time: 12 minutes)

In line with the previous story about ecommerce innovation, I stumbled across this interesting story about a founder duo trying to bring the convenience store online. It’s the story of GoPuff, a Softbank backed startup, that has seen massive growth as well. I’m skeptical about the company’s long-term prospects but I have to respect them going for it.

Why are CEOs failing software engineers? International Institute of Software Management (reading time: 28 minutes)

Nearly everything you are taught as a business major or leader is seemingly incompatible with software engineering.

This is an outstanding read if you are interested in creative management. The lessons are not just applicable to software engineers but also to any creative management field. The traditional business world is focused on success as a learning tool, the creative field has to rely on failure instead. I’ve bookmarked this article and will surely return to it again.

Platform Economies Ali Hamed (reading time: 10 minutes)

If you are interested in investing in the big tech stocks, you should understand how each of them work as platforms. Ali Hamed dives into how these platforms work and how he looks at investment decisions beyond the stock itself. He looks at the atomic level as well of each particular platform. It’s a bit scattered but there are some great insights as well.

The Memos Bessemer Venture Partners (reading time: 25 minutes)

Bessemer Ventures released their investment memos which provide a glimpse of winning entrepreneurs and organizations before they made it. It’s a collection of world class companies before they were world class. I invite you to read the Shopify one in particular which is the only Canadian company in the list.


A robot wrote this entire article. Are you scared yet, human? The Guardian (reading time: 5 minutes)

An algorithm wrote this entire article. If you were concerned about the future of journalism, just wait until well written prose that is indistinguishable from human prose becomes more widely available. We are quite literally already there. There are of course implications far beyond journalism and those implications are… well, scary.