Good Tuesday morning world and welcome to Cookbook #30 in 2015. While we missed a few updates, I am really proud to hit this number, so a bit of celebration here.

Longer, better. Enjoy and please share if you like it.

Non-Travel Starters

The debate about the future of unicorns (now more than 150, at least on paper) is intensifying, with major VCs suggesting there will be a readjustment. Mike Moritz even calls it the subprime unicorn market. Some well funded startups are starting to fold, while others are not getting the expected // projected traction — just think of Snapchat and the recent departure of a ton of execs. This topic will dominate, watch this space.

Yahoo! is again in the news, dubbed as A Portal To Nowhere by The Economist. Major editions are calling the nearing moment of truth, when Yahoo!’s stake in Alibaba, allegedly the driver of the valuation, will be offloaded, leaving the company ran by Mayer into the potential hands of PE players or big media buyers. The increased attention comes from the recent quarterly results (below expectation), departures of senior executives, and a deal with Google on ad display. On that final note, Yahoo! spent $224M on traffic acquisition… wait, wasn’t Yahoo! supposed to be the traffic source?

In other news, Uber is raising a billion again at $70Bn valuation (six-month cycle here), the Ubers of trucking are on the rise, Jack Dorsey is giving 1/3rd of his Twitter stock to Twitter employees, and Facebook is on a roll with M and Paper, as is its founder Zuck, who delivers speeches in Chinese, prays, visits historical sites, and runs. This guy doesn’t sleep — check his Facebook page of what is a new definition of busy.


Qunar and Ctrip merge in a share swap, now Ctrip ($10Bn pre-transaction) owns 45% of Qunar ($5.2), while Baidu owns 25% in Ctrip. Consolidation in tech in China continues (taxi, e-commerce) as the market matures. In travel, that actually opens up opportunities. Link.

Fuel price is good for the carriers — as Q3 results roll it, strong profit growth for the majors is becoming the norm — United (75% up), Southwest (77.5% up), Hawaiian (double) are just part of the story.

At IATA’s World Passenger Symposium, the word is that NDC is getting traction and there are roughly 70 carriers exploring the solution as a way to connect with users. On the biz traveller side, more than 75% of the surveyed pax in the UK claim NDC-based displays will make the shopping experience better. Great stuff. Link.

Dessert (Stats)

99.9%: Air in the latest Boeing metal material, which could be game-changing for the aviation industry. Link.

97%. Tesla owners who will buy Tesla again. That’s even better than Putin’s approval rating in Russia right now (90%).

15: A synopsis of acquisitions that could have been, but never happened in tech. The moral of the story: unless Facebook buys you later, if Google makes an offer — accept it. Otherwise you might fail. Link.

570,000,000: Average daily logged in users into WeChat. The full report can be captured in one word — Scale. Link.

Some Cool Reading (Watching)

Yours truly talked to Tnooz about free API access and how this spurs innovation. Let me know your thoughts (4 min). Link.

Dan Koh kills it at his TEDxCambridge talk — the current chief of staff to Boston’s Mayor delivers a moving talk on analytics and city governance. Great show from one of my classmates at 02138 and a fellow Government major. He will be President one day. (17 min). Link.

Mike Krieger, the less known co-founder of Instagram, captures 5 years of Instagram and some of the lessons he’s learnt. A particularly good one is — Do the simple things first. A great read (8 min). Link.

Umair Haque tells us why Twitter is dying or more like how Twitter has moved away from the open town square of voices to an abusive, ranging mosh pit. A good read on how social media suffers from abuse. (8 min). Link.

//Expressed views and opinions are my own.

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