Modern Gospel and Moats and Networks in Financial Services

Last night I watched the 2020 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Awards on HBO with Ellen.

It is always a great production, but this year there was no live event and no live performances. It was different, but I really enjoyed it. Watching the old rockers live is really more for them because I would rather watch the documentary part of it anyways. The stories are always fantastic.

Onwards…

I’m sharing two great posts today on very different subjects.

The first is from Mario at ‘The Generalist’ a free newsletter on strategy I enjoy. The tile of his current piece is ‘Modern Gospel’. Mario dives into the ideas of religion and the new corporations and brands. I love his ending:

Never has nothingness been so complete, so immaculate.

Bent forward in my seat, I waited for divine intervention. But there was nothing, nothing. Not a shiver or tremble or song in my heart or lustrous breath upon the nape of my neck.

Though I did not recognize it at the time, it was the moment I knew god did not exist for me. There was a slow fallout over the years that followed and finally, a happy renunciation. Guilt and expectation were lifted, and the peaceful dissipation of cognitive dissonance, as if a knot had been massaged from my brain.

I do not believe in god, but I believe in religion. I believe in its power, in the social alchemy it can create. And, to an extent, I believe in the words of Voltaire. As the internet and the broader technological revolution change who we are, how we find and build community, where we derive meaning, we may find our old deities lacking. Those able to recognize that need and fill it, may find themselves rewarded with uncommon wealth and power. It is time to invent new gods. We’ve already begun.

Next up is a regular in this blog…John Street Capital and his latest essay ‘Moats and Network Effects in Financial Services‘. John Street does a great job explaining the current state of the giant Visa/Plaid acquisition under dispute by the DOJ and all the monopolies and moats that exist in the different areas of financial services. If you are an investor or into this sector like me, it is a must read.

For more with John Street have a listen to the podcast we did this summer.

Have a great day.