Discover more from SatPost by Trung Phan
Best of SatPost
For the first half or 2022
Today is going to be a short one.
Many of you readers are probably on some form of vacation (your boy may or may not be in Europe rn, drinking Aperol Spritzes by the dozen).
Below is a quick round-up of my most popular articles in 1H 2022.
Have a great weekend and thanks for reading!
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Without further ado, here are the 5 most popular SatPost articles in the first half of 2022:
So, I wrote this article in January when SatPost had many fewer subs. The piece blew up on Twitter and LinkedIn, though, which is how it ranks first.
Why did it do so well? Because everyone has asked the question at least once in their life: why dafooooooooook is LinkedIn so cringe?
If you haven’t read it yet, I think you’ll enjoy (lots of laughs mixed with actual technical rationale from the LinkedIn engineering blog).
Despite being notoriously tech-adverse, Warren Buffett made the greatest public tech investment ever — in absolute dollar terms — when Berkshire turned $36B to $152B via its Apple investment. I dug into the rationale behind the investment.
Side note, big numbers are very good for email open rates. When I was writing for The Hustle in 2021, these were 3 of our best-performing subject lines:
📚 The $1.6T student debt problem
🏥 The $10B doctor social network
🐵 Is Mailchimp worth $12B?
A decade ago, I sold a comedy film script to Fox while I was living in Vietnam. While the film never got made, I co-created a TV show about my time in Southeast Asia…and we finally started filming it.
Rainbolt is a pro Google Maps player. He can guess the location of a Google Street View after seeing it for 0.1 seconds. You may have seen his ridiculous skills in viral TikTok videos. I interviewed him to find out how he does it.
It was the 50th anniversary of the release of The Godfather in March. I wrote about all the BS that Francis Ford Coppola dealt with to make one of the greatest films ever.
Author Jenny M. Jones puts it perfectly in her book The Annotated Godfather:
“One can’t help but marvel [at how The Godfather] ever got made, when every conceivable obstacle stood in its way:
A writer who didn’t want to write it [Puzo].
A studio that didn’t want to produce it [Paramount].
A film no director would touch [12 turned it down, including Coppola at first].
A cast of unknowns [outside of Brando, who was toxic].
A community against it [Italian-American civil rights groups].
And yet, The Godfather succeeded beyond anyone’s wildest imaginations, to become one of the greatest cinematic masterpieces in history.”
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Links + Memes
Podcast appearance alert: The first few words on my Twitter bio read “Smart Threads. Dumb Memes.” I went on Jim O'Shaughnessy’s Infinite Loops podcast to talk smart threads and dumb memes (we had a blast). Sources tell me it’s a great podcast for leg day at the gym and we’re gonna fire up round 2 soon!
The Star-Spangled Banner: In 1814, Francis Scott Keys wrote a poem called “The Defence of Fort M'Henry” (the poem is about the British bombing of a Maryland fort during The War of 1812). In 1931, the US government mixed the poem to music and made it the country’s national anthem.
Here’s a short read from The Economist on a new book about the Star-Spangled Banner.
The book’s author Mark Clague — a music historian — says his favourite rendition of the song is by Whitney Houston at Super Bowl XXV (1991) and the most experimental is Jimi Hendrix with his guitar at Woodstock (1969). My personal fave version is Marvin Gaye at the NBA All-Star game in 1983 (no one has ever looked swaggier singing it).
Juul: On June 24th, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) banned Juul vaping products in the US market. Why? Because of Juul’s role in the rise of youth nicotine addiction.
Bloomberg Businessweek has a good write-up looking at Juul and the state of the industry, which is transitioning from Big Tobacco to Big Nicotine:
The FDA is at an inflection point, as the tobacco industry morphs into Big Nicotine. Even as combustible cigarette sales decline by a few percentage points a year, the market for potentially less harmful products—such as e-cigarettes and nicotine toothpicks, pouches, gums, and lozenges—is growing. In 2021 the value of the global nicotine market was about $935 billion, up 25% since 2016, according to market research company Euromonitor International.
The wildest stat for me: Altria paid $12.8B for a 35% stake in Juul in 2018 (~$37B valuation). It has since marked the investment down 87% to $1.6B.
Can AI figure out comedy? Probably. One of Google’s language models — Pathways Language Model (PaLM) — recently demonstrated that it could explain a joke (at least basic ones; see below). It’s not quite Larry David, but probably al little un-nerving for Late Night joke writers and people who post dumb memes on Twitter (ugh).
Anyways, here are some funny tweets:
These next tweets needs mini-explaining.
A few years ago, internet entrepreneur / personality Tai Lopez bought RadioShack out of bankruptcy. And over the past few weeks, the RadioShack Twitter account has been absolutely out of control:
There was a ton of confusion and many thought the account was hacked.
Well, it wasn’t.
Turns out Lopez turned RadioShack into a crypto exchange (RadioShack Swap) with a related crypto token ($RADIO). And the shitposting is par for the course on crypto Twitter.