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Trends from Q3, KD Billions, Softbank's Comeback, Sleep science and more!

Trends from Q3, KD Billions, Softbank's Comeback, Sleep science and more!
By Skylor • Issue #2 • View online
Note: this newsletter was originally sent out in Sept 2020 and is a sample of what you can expect when subscribing :)
👋
Hey friends!
Today marks the end of Q3. I thought it would be fun to kick things off by highlighting some cool trends from Q3 2020.
Trending Up
  • The side hustle boom: Fiverr +88%
  • Work from home boom: Zoom +84%
  • Used car boom: Carvana +84%
  • Sports are back boom: DraftKings +76%
  • Workout from home boom: Peloton +64%
  • Shop from home boom: Amazon +40%
Trending Down
  • Widespread gym closures: Planet Fitness -3%
  • Low oil demand + dropped from the Dow: ExxonMobil -21%
  • Reduced WFH self care + IRL cosmetic shopping: Coty -37%
  • Too much weed: Aurora Cannabis -62%
  • Investigations of fraud: Nikola -72%
  • Living in California: -3.7m acres (set ablaze since August)

Kent Nishimura / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images
Kent Nishimura / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images
Happy Birthday Kevin Durant!
Kevin Durant’s turned 32 yesterday! While I’m admittedly not his biggest fan on the court, he’s clearly established himself as one of the best players to ever pickup a basketball.
While everyone trashed him for joining the Golden State Warriors, he made good use of his time there picking up 2 NBA championships and putting in the work off the court to ensure he’s on his way to joining an elite club of basketball billionaires!
Durant is expected to earn over $500M from NBA contracts and sponsorships throughout his career (his current contract is a 4 year, $164M deal with the Brooklyn Nets). 
His plan to turn that half a billion in gross income into billions?
Thirty Five Ventures.
In 2017, Kevin Durant and his manager, Rich Kleiman, co-founded Thirty Five Ventures; a venture capital firm designed to house all their investments in sports, tech, media and culture. Since it’s launch, the duo has deployed millions into over 50 startups.
When it comes to investing his hard earned capital, Kevin Durant does his due-diligence. During his time with the Warriors in San Francisco, Durant continuously picked the brain of successful VC’s like Chamath Palihapitiya, Marc Andreessen, and Ben Horowitz.
The result?
A 400+% return on his investments.
Overall, Kevin Durant has managed to build an impressive investment portfolio:
  • Robinhood
  • Coinbase
  • Grove
  • Q Bio
  • Dutchie
  • Whoop
  • Acorns
  • JetSmarter
  • Overtime
  • Philadelphia Union
  • Postmates
When Uber acquired Postmates for $2.65B, Durant turned his $1M initial investment into $15M.
While he continues to chase LeBron championships and build his wealth, Kevin Durant has one major goal for his future.
“I want to own and run an NBA team, run day-to-day operations, and impact young players coming through the league.”
As of now, Michael Jordan is the only billionaire in basketball. While LeBron James and Magic Johnson are getting close (update LeBron is now a billionaire); don’t be surprised if Kevin Durant gets there just shortly after his playing days come to an end. Or who knows, with his network and the way investing in startups works, he may become the first active player billionaire in all of basketball! Second to only LeBron of course ;)
💡 Business Idea of the week
YC’s S20 batch held it’s virtual demo day the other week. It’s a great opportunity to see what some of the sharpest minds are working on. One of the key themes was the X company for Y other country. I.e. We’re Stripe for Africa. Smart. But that’s kind of boring to me as Rocket Internet has done this for ages.
One of the more interesting things I noticed was how many startups in the YC S20 batch leverage Agora to power their video chat. While Zoom has SDKs and APIs founders can use to build ‘on top of Zoom’, it’s clear that Agora is well positioned to be for video chat what Twilio is for SMS. 
So what’s the idea of the week? Unbundle Zoom. Use Agora to power your business.
🍎 Health
Why is sleep so vital to our health?
A UCLA-led team of scientists has made a major advance in answering this question and has shown for the first time that a dramatic change in the purpose of sleep occurs at the age of about 2-and-a-half. Senior study author Gina Poe says,
“Don’t wake babies up during REM sleep — important work is being done in their brains as they sleep,”
 After 2-and-a-half years, however, sleep’s primary purpose switches from brain building to brain maintenance and repair, a role it maintains for the rest of our lives.
All animals naturally experience a certain amount of neurological damage during waking hours, and the resulting debris, including damaged genes and proteins within neurons, can build up and cause brain disease. Sleep helps repair this damage and clear the debris — essentially decluttering the brain and taking out the trash that can lead to serious illness.
Nearly all of this brain repair occurs during sleep.
While newborns spend about 50% of their sleep time in REM sleep, that falls to about 25% by the age of 10 and continues to decrease with age. Adults older than 50 spend approximately 15% of their time asleep in REM. The significant drop off in REM sleep at about 2-and-a-half happens just as the major change in the function of sleep occurs.
A chronic lack of sleep likely contributes to long-term health problems such as dementia and other cognitive disorders, diabetes, and obesity, to name a few, Poe said. When you start to feel tired, she said, don’t fight it — go to bed.
💰 Wealth
A lot of you are familiar with Masayoshi Son, the infamous founder of SoftBank who rose to prominence in the 90’s where for 3 days he was the richest man in the world at the top of the Dotcom bubble. When the bubble burst, Masa lost more money than anyone in the history of the world seeing his net worth tumble from $70b to $600m. He didn’t let this setback stop him one bit quickly making one of the best angel investments of all time in Alibaba ($20m to $60b at time of IPO) and acquiring the exclusive rights to the iPhone in Japan.
More recently, many have shamed Masa for his public failure with the $100b SoftBank Vision Fund 1. Between Uber’s failed IPO, investing half a billion into a dog walking app, and the whole WeWork debacle which saw it’s valuation drop from $47b to $2.9b, SoftBank’s Vision Fund lost $17.7b in a year.
What many haven’t noticed is SoftBank’s 555 Fund which invested $4b into tech giants like Amazon, MicroSoft, Netflix and Tesla. While that’s a lot of dough to invest in a handful of companies, it’s far from unprecedented. Masa and the team at SoftBank figured out a way to move the market and up until Friday was the unknown “NASDAQ Whale” behind the torrid rise of technology equities. SoftBank bought $4b worth of call options on $30b worth of those same companies shares. With $4b of call options, SoftBank is forcing sellers to buy billions of dollars worth of stock, which can push the market faster in the direction it’s been trending. This is an incredibly Masa way to trade. He’s not passive. He likes to alter the markets he plays in. 
In the private markets, with a $100b fund, he can bully companies and send valuations soaring above reasonable levels. The public markets are much bigger. Buying $4b of Amazon shares would barely make a dent on the company’s $1.6t market cap. Buying $4b worth of call options during the slow summer months, gives Masa leverage to move the markets and make bank! It’s a quick way to make up losses if it works.
And boy is it working.
The Financial Times reported that as of last week, SoftBank was up $4b on the trades, even after Thursday and Friday’s decline, although they haven’t sold the positions yet. In just a couple of months, between the rise in the underlying stock prices and the options premiums, the 555 Fund has made up a good chunk of the Vision Fund’s losses. 
I’d argue that Masayoshi Son is a better operator than investor but man you have to respect his appetite for risk. The man has more money than he could ever spend and instead of hanging up his cleats after the whole Vision Fund debacle, he risked billions and made up a good chunk of it’s losses in a just a few months. Vision Fund 1 still has a decade before the term of the fund is up and could very well return capital to investors even after it’s rough start.
A lot of people think Masa is insane; and he might be. But if the early success of the 555 fund is any indicator he’s refocused, SoftBank could be a great long term investment that trades at a steep discount to the book value of its assets.
❤️ Love
Researchers from Massachusetts General Hospital have identified a set of modifiable factors from a field of over 100 that could represent valuable targets for preventing depression in adults.
The team named social connection as the strongest protective factor for depression, and suggested that reducing sedentary activities such as TV watching and daytime napping could also help lower the risk of depression. Get outside with your partner. Get a dog or some companion and move your body to combat depression. Remember the Tyson Fury story from last week.
😊 Happiness
The most powerful shift in mindset that’ll make you happier: ditch conditional happiness.
“If I get X, I’ll be happier”
“If I can be with that person, I’ll be more happy”
“If my salary is increased to X, I’ll be the happiest person”
The reason that these conditions won’t bring you happiness is that once you achieve them, it leads to you asking yourself: ‘Is this what it’s all about? Is that all?’ and your journey towards your next condition will begin. Creating a never ending loop.
Instead have no conditions. And if you do, have them for the journey. For the pursuit.
What I’m Reading
The Boron Letters by Gary Halpert
What I’m Watching
The Nuggets dismantle the Clippers in Game 7 and come back from another 3-1 series deficit!
What I’m Thinking About
Peter Thiel’s infamous question, what do you believe that nobody agrees with?
I’d love to hear some of your guys’ responses to this
New Subscriber Shoutouts
Yoheswaran leads marketing and partnerships at Canva India.
Vyas is a Senior Consultant, Strategy & Operations at Deloitte.
Ash is a Sr. Product Manager at a FAANG and sold an ecommerce store doing $100k/yr.
Sudharshan is a machine learning engineer who was previously a founder-in-residence at Entrepreneur First, where he worked on Synthetic Media.
That’s all for now folks! As always if you have content suggestions or if there’s ever anything I can do to help you out let me know by responding to this email!
Cheers,
Slane Skylor
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By Skylor

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