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To infinity and beyond? - MMM #6

Thomas Konings
Thomas Konings
Hi all,
I’m taking a supply chain management course, which is strangely insightful. It has opened my eyes to a layer of business that typically remains hidden, but that has become all too apparent since the pandemic: the movement of resources.
Coming from a finance/economics background, the models tend to abstract away a lot of the day-to-day inefficiencies faced in the real world. That’s why today, the highlight of the week is the paper apocalypse, which is coming to a coffee shop, grocery store, printer, and asset manager near you! So buy a realm of A4 paper, it may be the new crypto.
📃Here are some of the most interesting things I saw (and, spoiler alert, made) this week:
  • ⭐Highlight: hold my cup, why the next supply chain issue may hurt your caffeine intake
  • 🔍Valuation: FANGAM stocks valuation, the narrative in historical context
  • 🚀Space: to infinity and beyond? The SpaceX starship update event summarized
  • 🎁Extra: my academic planner Excel sheet is now available for download
Have a great week!

⭐Highlight: Short on Paper
This one came a bit as a surprise to me. Apparently, the world may soon be facing shortages of one of the most basic commodities: paper. If you thought toilet paper shortages were disastrous in the early months of the pandemic, those scenes may now be headed for your morning coffee.
The issue in short:
  • Strikes at mills + strong demand growth post-lockdown led to a greater mismatch of supply and demand.
  • The extreme cold snap in Texas last year means that some raw materials are not being produced at full capacity still either. This means that scaling production quickly could be very hard.
  • The industry had seen falling demand due to digitization in the past decades and looks ill-prepared. Suppliers are forecasting shortages for at least the entirety of 2022.
  • Shortages are still getting worse, with even asset managers unable to complete deals because they are unable to print documents for all shareholders.
  • Has the potential to disrupt many industries, particularly FMCG which uses paper to label items.
What’s next:
  • Turns out, Starbucks, the company that uses 6 bn disposable cups annually, is already facing major issues. The company already found itself forced to use leftover holiday-themed cups.
  • Companies may start printing directly on plastic or substituting paper with plastic. This may stretch other supply chains too.
Maybe get a reusable cup while you still can? (great for the environment too)
The Next Supply Chain Mess Is Coming for Your Morning Coffee - WSJ
🔍Valuation: State of Tech
How did tech plummet? What is the narrative behind Facebook, Amazon, Netflix, Google, Apple, and Microsoft (FANGAM)?
An interesting video covering the current state of tech, including which companies have positioned themselves best to weather the privacy and competition law storm hanging over them.
Dr. Damodaran shares my view from MMM #3 that Microsoft acquiring Activision is a great way to solidify its position in the growth market of gaming. An interesting insight: doing so means Microsoft can appeal to young users again, a demographic absent from its other platforms.
End of an Era or Temporary Setback: Revisiting the FANGAM Stocks
🚀Space: To Infinity and Beyond?
SpaceX has been working away on Starship, the next-gen launch vehicle that promises to slash launch costs by an order of magnitude.
This week the company gave a rare insight into the development progress, its plans, and ultimate goal for the new reusable rocket.
My favorite analogy: if you had to throw away an airplane after each flight, nobody would fly, or at least we wouldn’t use it to travel around the world.
Making rocketry entirely reusable will have consequences that we cannot even begin to imagine. The Techcrunch article below gives you an excellent brief summary of the event.
Elon Musk’s SpaceX Starship event leaves a lot of questions around the company’s big rocket – TechCrunch
🎁Extra: Academic Planner
I published my first resource: my trusted academic planner spreadsheet that I’ve been using for the past 4 years! Simple and elegant, it automatically populates dates and highlights weekend, allowing you to focus on the bit that matters: planning. Creating an instructions video for this was super fun and made me consider the usefulness of videos for client-facing explanations as well. Perhaps there is a future for content creating in valuation too.
Academic Planner Template
I’ve met my goal of writing one blog post per week with the publishing of my academic planner.
Next week I hope to cover some supply chain theory and maybe an Excel function or two (I have something interesting planned regarding those).
Have a great week!
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Thomas Konings
Thomas Konings @tkon99

Every Monday morning I will send you an email with things I discovered during the week that I found helpful. Ranging from interesting theories to practical Excel tips and insightful articles I read, this newsletter will make your Monday a little bit better for sure!

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