The introduction of the Grand Exchange in 2007 altered price discovery in Gielinor forever.

Source: RuneScape


That’s the name of my combat level 93 Old School RuneScape character.

For the uninitiated, RuneScape is a massive multiplayer online role-playing game that allows players to explore the incredible world of Gielinor through quests, training, and a variety of other adventures.

I’ve played the game on and off for the better part of a decade. I still play to this day. Just an hour ago I was slaying Fire Giants in Brimhaven dungeon.

I’ve come to realize after about five months as a journalist covering financial markets that RuneScape actually taught me the core principles of economics and…

Hello and welcome to Dan’s Debrief! Sorry it’s coming out a day late (again). It might start sending it out on Friday’s going forward.

Here we go…..

Major News

Facebook (tries) to gives local news a boost

Just a day after Facebook announced it couldn’t find enough news to fill its local news aggregator called “Today In,” the social media giant has launched a $300 million initiative to support local news organizations.

The figure and purpose might look familiar to some of you. …

Source: PicJumbo

Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg published a post last Wednesday outlining his vision for the future of the company.

The biggest takeaway from the post is that Zuckerberg sees private messaging as Facebook’s future — a monumental shift away from the social media giants current model of sharing information with tons of people at once.

What’s equally as notable is how Zuckerberg views Facebook:

“Over the last 15 years, Facebook and Instagram have helped people connect with friends, communities, and interests in the digital equivalent of a town square.”

A Town Square is a place where people come together…

It’s been a slow and grueling crawl for the business and tech community to realize its responsibilities extend beyond returning profits to shareholders.

The debate played out across the country this year. Toxic work cultures were exposed by the #MeToo movement. CEOs, News Anchors and famous entrepreneurs were knocked off their pedestals.

In the midst of all this, the midterms resulted in a sweeping change in Congress. Younger and more democratic representatives are taking office and they’re energized by the momentum of successful elections.

Employees at Google staged one of the biggest walkouts in the tech industry’s short-history to protest…

I think a lot about the Paradox of Choice, a concept coined by the American psychologist Barry Schwartz. The idea is counterintuitive but simple; if consumers had fewer choices they would be happier.

The concept is built on the idea that modern markets offer us access to so many options its easy to second guess or regret our purchasing decisions.

I experienced this very dilemma earlier today in the tea and coffee aisle at Whole Foods. Staring at the shelves filled with countless brands and flavors, I felt like it would be impossible to walk out of the store with…

(Source: Stock Up)

At a time when companies are putting a greater emphasis on building strong brands, one startup thinks people are tired of the pitch.

Brandless is an e-commerce startup that wants to strip brands of their power by selling household items directly to consumers.

The San-Francisco based company is trying to eliminate what it calls the BrandTax, or the premium consumers pay for retail brands at a grocery or convenience store. By eliminating the middlemen, which in this case is brands like Colgate and Lays, and stores like Kroger and Whole Foods it can dramatically lower its costs. Thanks to those…

Over the last week I’ve spent a lot of time reflecting on what happened in the business and tech world in 2018. Throughout the next few days I’m going to highlight specific startups I’ll be watching in 2019.

Fintech — Titan

I came across Titan while looking through Y Combinator’s Database, which if you already haven’t browsed it yourself, I would highly recommend it.

The startup, which was founded by two former bankers and a software engineer, offers a mobile investing platform that gives anyone access to a hedge-fund like portfolio.

The platform uses an algorithm to analyze 13-F disclosures from the leading…

Looking forward to 2019, I wrote about some of the big trends I noticed in 2018. The two I identified were the change in attitude toward technology companies and the dreary economic outlook.

I wanted to point out a few specific events that I think could be easily overlooked considering the wild year in tech.

Screen time

Apple’s new tool for tracking how long users’ spend on different apps helped the smartphone maker reclaim some clout in the self-regulation debate.

Like most industries, the tech community fears regulation. Companies like Facebook and Apple advocate for “self-regulation” or the idea that the best…

Each year brings us all new challenges, opportunities and adventures. That’s true on an individual and a macro level.

2018 was a year full of change for a lot of communities: tech, government, women, immigrants and many others. This year’s seemingly never ending news cycle was full of highs and lows. Some would argue 2018 was a mess, but I see a lot of potential in the aftermath.

I wholeheartedly believe 2018 will be viewed as a particularly important year in the future. …

Daniel Strauss

Writing about markets, business and a little bit of everything else.

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