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War on Ads - MMM #9

Thomas Konings
Thomas Konings
Hi all,
I think we’ve all seen a lot of news surrounding the Ukraine invasion this week. Today I’d like to highlight the role of big tech, as well as feature an excellent military analysis of the situation (highly recommended).
I’ll also talk about vertical integration and how companies that seemed “too integrated” before are now using it to their benefit.
📃This week’s mashup:
  • ⭐Highlight: the future of online advertisement
  • 🔍Valuation: vertical integration may offer value again
  • 🌍Geopolitics: an in-depth analysis of the Ukraine invasion
  • ✍🏻Blog: Excel performance Episode 1 - VLOOKUP vs. INDEX MATCH
  • ⏭️Next
Have a great week!

⭐Highlight: War on Ads
A few weeks ago, I talked about the impact of Apple’s privacy updates on Facebook’s business model. Now, Google has announced it will do something similar on Android.
I wonder what will happen. Unlike Apple, Google actually sells ads. If it blocks third parties from tracking users across apps and across platforms, then it will have created a monopoly on targeted ads. Using its dominant position on the web (as a search engine, and with Chrome the dominant browser), and on mobile (and the mobile web, circumventing Apple’s efforts), it will be able to offer a very valuable platform for advertisers.
That begs the question: is Google really following Apple’s “privacy focus” for privacy reasons, or to solidify its position on the advertising market? I’d go with the latter.
Advertising has also been widely used to spread misinformation, or colloquially “fake news”. We now see big tech pull all its advertising business from the Russian market.
How You Can Limit Ad Tracking on Android and Chrome—Years Before Google Does - WSJ
Facebook pulls all ads in Russia and blocks all Russian advertisers globally
Google suspends all advertising in Russia
🔍Valuation: Vertical Value
Economic theory tells me that vertical integration is a trade-off. Allowing one firm to specialize in one part of the supply chain brings economies of scale. For example, the production of coffee cups is much cheaper when separated from your corner coffee shop (even Starbucks doesn’t produce its own cups).
However, these separate firms require their own margins and could lead to more cumbersome logistics. But perhaps most important of all: you are no longer in control.
Because of the pandemic, and now the invasion of Ukraine, supply chains are severely disrupted. This shifts the balance in favor of more integrated firms. Here are two articles about the phenomenon that I found interesting.
Explainer: How Tesla weathered global supply chain issues that knocked rivals | Reuters
🌍Geopolitics: Invasion Analysis
For those of you interested in military strategy or if you want to see a very detailed map of the conflict unfolding in Ukraine, Critical Threats has great ongoing coverage. Their analysis is truly impressive.
Russian Offensive Campaign Assessment, March 6 | Critical Threats
If you’ve ever worked with Excel, you’ve probably asked yourself: can it go faster? In this article I look at how VLOOKUP and INDEX MATCH, two classic lookup functions, compare in terms of performance in 2022. Check it out!
VLOOKUP vs INDEX MATCH in 2022 — It’s not that bad!
I plan on continuing my Excel performance articles, showcasing what to do when you encounter a slow sheet. I also plan to cover the basic formulas and how to use them efficiently soon, but more on that later so stay tuned.
I hope you enjoyed today’s issue. Feel free to email me at [email protected] with your tips and feedback.
Have a great week!
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Thomas Konings
Thomas Konings @tkon99

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