Business Current Affairs

Ever Given

The famous Suez Canal has been blocked to container traffic for about a week now. A huge container ship apparently lost power, drifted sideways in a sandstorm and got wedged on the sand banks of the canal. The container ship “Ever Given” is as long as the Suez is wide that we now have a wedge situation.

It has given rise to hundreds of memes on the internet, including a petition to remove it. The Onion has still not weighed in.

Someone suggested blowing it up.

Someone suggested unloading all the containers and building a container pyramid to memorialize the incident. 

A small excavator stands next to Ever Given like a Lilliput in Gulliver’s Travels. 

Experts are sprouting and spouting on TV about how many billions of dollars have been lost to the traffic jam. 

Is this peak Globalization? I sure hope so.

I think the world should take a break on movement of unnecessary crap across the planet. 24x7x365.

So what, if I live in the Pacific Northwest and can’t get my Chilean grown fruits during the Winter? I won’t die. Just send me a fresh GIF of the Chilean orchard daily on my WhatsApp and with the good mornings I get from across the globe, I will enjoy it virtually too.

Are there not enough places and people for Nike to set up a few sneaker factories in America?

I think capitalism and the free trade party needs to be reined in a lot so we don’t end up screwing up the planet more than it already is. 

At least, let’s start with not needing these giant container ships, ok. Screw efficiency.

Business Business Development Gaming

Who Got Game?

Gaming is enjoying a hot streak. Even without the Pandemic, the gaming industry was doing quite well. With people forced indoors and schools shut down for most of Spring and beyond, gaming has become a critical entertainment option. The recent fracas between Epic Games and Apple has also created a buzz around gaming, although for the wrong reasons.

In this environment, a gaming platform company Unity Software is going public tomorrow. It’s like AWS for Gaming. They provide infrastructure to create gaming content and also host the content on their platform. In this aspect, they compete with Epic Games (creator of Fortnite and the Unreal Engine).

Revenue growth has been impressive. In 2019, they had revenue of $542M. In the first six months of 2020, they made $351M. They are also a profitable company with impressive margins of 78% in 2019 and 79% in first six months of 2020.

While Games is a leading offering, the company positions itself as a platform for creating and hosting 3D content for verticals such as Architecture, Media & Entertainment and Auto, Transportation, Manufacturing segments.

We estimate that in 2019, on a global basis, 53% of the top 1,000 mobile games on the Apple App Store and Google Play and over 50% of such mobile games, PC games and console games combined were made with Unity.

Unity S-1

I like how this company is taking advantage of secular trends of explosion of Compute power, proliferation of platforms and devices, cloud based distribution, and ubiquitous broadband connectivity.

A true public SaaS company for Gaming is finally here.

Game on!

Business Finance Technology

Ain’t a Snowflake

A snowflake is a political insult for someone who is perceived as too sensitive. This post is not about that.

Snowflake, the Bay Area company could become the largest software IPO of all time. It starts trading tomorrow.

It was initially priced between $75-$85, upped to $100-$110 and again upped to $120. At that price, it would be valued ~ $40B. Some banks are going to make a killing.

I started hearing about Snowflake a few years ago when a few data oriented startup companies mentioned them often. They were compared with Looker. Looker was acquired by Google in 2019 for $2.6B.

The other interesting tidbit was that Bob Muglia, an ex Microsoft veteran who last ran Server and Tools served as CEO for this company for three years until he was ousted in March 2019. His ouster apparently came a week after he said that Snowflake didn’t have to IPO soon as it had a ton of cash at hand. The guy who founded ServiceNow is now the CEO. Talk of the Hot Hand. On that note, the new book Hot Hand by Ben Cohen is a good read.

They had revenue of $265M last year, a 173% growth. NRR was 158%. It makes sense that NRR is that high. Being a complex data integration project, it’s hard for a customer to switch to another platform quickly.

Snowflake’s data cloud platform breaks down data silos, enabling customers to consolidate data into a single source of truth to drive meaningful business insights, build data-driven applications, and share data, delivered through a customer-centric, consumption-based business model, only charging customers for the resources they use. Snowflake allows companies to use/access data across the big three public cloud computing vendors AWS, Azure and Google Cloud. Snowflake is a customer and competitor to the large public cloud vendors, but their respective offerings don’t offer the agnostic cross platform capability, so its independence is a key differentiator.

Berkshire and Salesforce are each buying $250M in the offering. Convincing Berkshire to buy in the offering is indeed a coup.

If it opens at $200 / share, that would be like 100x sales.

If you are one of the lucky ones to get an allocation, hold onto it. Chasing this one is likely to take a strong gut.

Let it Snow! Let it Snow!

While Main Street is hobbling, tech IPOs and Wall Street are humming. The tale of two Americas.


Week in Equities Market

Mar 2 – 7

It was a lousy week in the equities market.

The positive was that I got to spend half the week in Fort Collins Colorado.

COVID-19 meltdown continued.

Fed cutting 50 bps didn’t help. That is not going to speed up vaccine development or unblock supply chains.

To add fuel to the fire, OPEC and Russia failed to reach a deal to stabilize output. Saudi Arabia said over the weekend that it’s going to increase output despite lowered demand due to the pandemic. Oil is going to be routed.

Volatility was extreme. If one were a nimble trader, one could have played the yo yo game and made money both ways.

10 yr Treasury yields fell sharply

Gold continues to more valuable

These are challenging times for elderly retirees who face a double threat of the virus and stock market meltdown.

The downturn will persist until the flat part the viral growth curve is within sight or an anti viral is announced.

Be safe out there.

Business Start Up

How about those podcasts?

I am a regular podcast listener. Commutes, walks, waiting, long drives happen often and with the smartphone in one’s pocket, it’s easy to tap into a variety of interests instead of just interacting with a bunch of apps.

The quality and variety of podcasts has enhanced over the years. Here is what’s on my podcast shelf.


​For news, my go to podcast is the BBC. No one covers global events like BBC does. It provides a unique perspective into lives of people everywhere.

Serial was initially a must-have, but after 4 episodes, it turned out too long and I realized there was no actual end in sight. It is dormant now, but not yet gone.

Pitch is a recent addition. Every week or so, a startup pitches. A investor panel evaluates and votes on a follow-on meeting. I like the format, as it is not all drama like Shark Tank.

TED Radio Hour is just brilliant. With a disarming nature, Guy Ross does a wonderful job. I have sounded so wise since I started listening to this.

Economist is better on the written side than the podcast. Time for it to go, soon!


I enjoy Tim Ferriss’s podcast. He is a great interviewer and is able to attract an eclectic mix of guests. Sometimes he turns the podcast entirely over to a guest, who answers questions submitted to a Google sheet by listeners of the show.

The Dog podcast is a nod to needing to devote both mind and body to the duty of dog walking. I did get some useful tips on how to deal with July 4 fireworks.

I like RadioLabs long form podcasts. Frontline is a perennial classic, although their frequency of podcasts is not too good.


HBR ideacast is definitively awesome. Their recent series on what it means for digital transformation of businesses shows their ability to go deep, analyze an important trend and provide useful insights for the listener.

So many things are happening in the IoT space. This weekly podcast is a good way to keep abreast.

NPR Planet money is a delight. They do short 10-15 segments on finance, economy, business, companies. I have always taken something useful out of every episode.

I like startups for the rest of us. They deal with some useful topics on sales and marketing that one can refresh upon and attempt implementing in one’s own startup.

I haven’t played much of Golf recently and this podcast is to remind me of good old days, where even snow could not stop a round.


Kara Swisher is a dynamite. Her ability to skewer Silicon Valley while in the midst of the action is refreshing. She is great to listen to more than her writing.

Freakonomics should be in everyone’s shelf. I wish I can say they are great. I’ve had more misses than hits.

Happy listening!