“Money Stuff” Is Hilarious Financial Writing 

Did “Tank Wars” cause the coronavirus? Experts say maybe!

On Monday, I wrote about pizza arbitrage. As a result, I wound up reading Matt Levine’s “Money Stuff” column at Bloomberg, and he is doing tremendous work. A few choice quotes:

On MoviePass

Meanwhile MoviePass itself is up for auction in its Chapter 7 bankruptcy, with bids due next month. Naively I would think that a pandemic would be good for MoviePass: If your business is buying movie tickets for $14 and selling them for $10 a month, months when all the movie theaters are shut down should be relatively profitable.

The “relatively” there is key.

On SoftBank’s Truly Bizarre Slides

I would think that you get the horn when SoftBank plows money into you at a billion-dollar valuation, and the wings when you manage to make money during a pandemic, though these are highly technical financial questions and I might be wrong on some subtleties.

These are real slides from SoftBank’s May 18th earnings presentation. To be fair, if you might be on the hook to buy $1 billion worth of WeWork stock for $3 billion, you’d probably cheap out on hiring graphic designers too.

On Our Bizarre New Economy

In the old economy of price signals, you tried to build a product that people would want, and the way you knew it worked is that people would pay you more than it cost. You were adding value to the world, and you could tell because you made money. In the new economy of user growth, you don’t have to worry about making a product that people want because you can just pay them to use it, so you might end up with companies losing money to give people things that they don’t want and driving out the things they do want.

This would be funny, except for the fact that it’s true.

I wouldn’t have guessed that there was hilarious financial writing to be found out there, but Levine is doing it, and doing it well. You can find the “Money Stuff” at Bloomberg, and subscribe to get it via email here.