Today's Quick Scrapes
Decadence, Stagnation & Innovation
Peter Thiel reviews 'The Decadent Society: How We Became the Victims of Our Own Success' Our society has stalled: "Look up from your phone, and compare our time to 1969. 'Over the last two generations,' Douthat writes, 'the only truly radical change has taken place in the devices we use for communication and entertainment, so that a single one of the nineteenth century’s great inventions [running water] still looms larger in our everyday existence than most of what we think of as technological breakthroughs nowadays.'"
The death & adaptation of suburban shopping malls Suburban shopping malls are becoming more like small city-centers: "'To replace disappearing anchor stores, mall owners are increasingly turning to restaurants and entertainment businesses to bridge the gap', said Tom Poupard, director of development and planning services for the village of Northbrook. Gone are Montgomery Ward and Wieboldts, but popping up in their places are spots for kids to play, gyms, grocery stores — even apartment complexes."
Take-Two's Q3 2020 Earnings Call Strauss Zelnick on M&A: "I think your question about vertical consolidation is interesting, even though first – your first day at business school, they explained to you the vertical consolidation doesn’t create value. One could imagine a powerful distributor that’s anxious to build an audience could imagine that acquiring exclusive rights to key product would jump-start that, the track record of that going well. And the linear entertainment business has been very poor, and tried over and over again." And on maintaining a creative culture through incentive-based compensation: "So the creative expression of what we do must evolve, will evolve. But the culture that underlies that here remains unchanged because it works. And part of the culture is compensation. In a for-profit enterprise, you can outline your culture verbally, but your compensation programs either will or will not drive that culture. And our culture is one of sharing and our compensation programs are one of sharing. We emotionally share success. We all take responsibility for failure. And equally, our compensation programs align incentives with our shareholders by making sure that essentially we have profit shares, essentially. If we miss our goals, then incentive comp for the team is disappointing or zero. If we exceed our goals, it’s good. If we massively exceed our goals, it’s very good, but it’s self-liquidating, because it’s driven by an increase in profits. And at the label level, we essentially although we call it different things, have profit-sharing arrangements. So the better the labels do, the better the human beings do, the better the shareholders do. That’s our goal."