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WCM Investment Management | Insights | Beach Reads | Welcome to Beach Reads, a collection of interesting links that we at WCM have come across and want to share. The goal of this publication is to engage with a broader audience in order to better ourselves and others.

Beach Reads

Welcome to Beach Reads, a collection of interesting links that we at WCM have come across and want to share. The goal of this publication is to engage with a broader audience in order to better ourselves and others. Feel free to email us at insights@wcminvest.com with any thoughts or feedback, and click here to subscribe!

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Beach Reads

October 27, 2020

Welcome to Beach Reads. This is a special edition, compiled and written by my fantastic colleagues while I was out. It dives into debates about the future of audio, retail, technology, and gene editing - I hope you enjoy these new perspectives. Some specific themes include: The history and future of audio, including a Matthew Ball piece, an a16z podcast with a Spotify executive, and disruptive implications from the recent Big Hit Entertainment IPO Who will succeed in an omni-channel retail world? How are direct-to-consumer (DTC) brands positioned to react to a rapidly changing landscape? The potential implications as more technology companies emerge from outside the U.S. Durable Capital Partners on the importance of flexibility, adaptability, and the ability to recognize patterns Reflections: Doomscrolling, bad decisions, and serendipity Click here to subscribe to our Beach Reads newsletter
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Beach Reads

October 13, 2020

Welcome to Beach Reads. A common theme running through many articles in this edition is "platform" businesses. Platforms are important for investors to understand, especially as they become more powerful and prevalent, and as their definition continues to evolve. As a brief update: I'll be out for the next Beach Reads, so I'd like to extend an advance thank you to my teammates who have volunteered to publish in my absence. I'm excited to share some fresh perspectives from a broader swath of the WCM team here in Laguna. Below, I outline the articles covered in this edition of Beach Reads. The gamification of the workplace and how a gaming chat platform is expanding beyond its core base Two articles on how to better understand platforms. The first thinks through open source challenges and opportunities, while the second outlines two types of platforms Retail: How "browsing" e-commerce platforms may come to be, especially in the west A look at how and why antitrust rules and tax laws need to be updated The NYT: an investment thesis Reflections Click here to subscribe to our Beach Reads newsletter
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Beach Reads

September 29, 2020

Welcome to Fall. While those of you on the east coast are beginning to enjoy the changing color of leaves, here on the west coast we're finally free of summer crowds and hoping the same will soon be true of wildfires. This edition of Beach Reads touches on hot button topics in investing ranging from newsworthy companies such as TikTok and Nvidia to the value of Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) investment approaches. For those pressed on time, I recommend the Eugene Wei article on TikTok, the Stratechery article about Nvidia, and the article weighing the pros and cons of ESG investing. Below, I outline the articles covered in the five section in this edition of Beach Reads. How to better understand modern entertainment, through the lenses of TikTok, Quibi, and Take Two Two stories of technology - Nvidia's success and Nikola's failure Investment theses on FedEx and CoStar Does ESG actually add value? And diving deeper into Sarah Tavel's "happiness as a moat source" Reflections: Giving away over $8 billion dollars in a lifetime. Also, blaming others for COVID Click here to subscribe to our Beach Reads newsletter
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Beach Reads

September 15, 2020

Welcome to Beach Reads. There have been some notable M&A deals as of late: it looks like TikTok (in some shape or form) is going not to Microsoft, but to Oracle, and that Nvidia will grab ARM Holdings. Below, I break from the day-to-day news flow to share some articles with longer half-lives. This haul features a number of investment theses (including ones on private companies), thoughts on shareholders vs. stakeholders, a piece on the evolution of platforms, and arguments debating the pros and cons of the work-from-home trend. Below, I outline the articles covered in this edition of Beach Reads. Analyzing companies: Stripe, Unity, Halma and roll-ups, and Bessemer's memos Understanding public and private markets: what "stakeholder value" means, and how platform businesses are evolving High Fashion: Hermes, LVMH, Tiffany, Farfetch, and the New Guard Group What the future of work may look like – thinking about the corporate office and the home office. Including Reed Hastings' thoughts on the topic Click here to subscribe to our Beach Reads newsletter
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Beach Reads

September 1, 2020

Welcome to Beach Reads and September. In a sure sign that summer and vacations are winding down, the investment world is busy digesting a deluge of IPO filings. There was also a ton of fantastic content published over the past two weeks, which means this edition is longer than most Beach Reads. So for the time-pressed among you – and those who are eager to get back to trawling through new filings – I'll share my favorite articles from this haul. These are the FT piece on Wirecard (first section), the Nvidia article in the second section (helped me better understand CEO Jensen Huang's thinking around ARM Holdings), both articles in the investment philosophy section, and the summary of Dee Hock's book (fifth section). Below is an outline of the articles in the six sections of this edition of Beach Reads. A look under the hood at three companies: ICE, Wirecard, and MGA Entertainment How ARM may help Nvidia to win the data center stack and new challenges to TikTok An update on Airbnb CEO Brian Chesky's business plan. Also, a teardown of the Airbnb aesthetic An interview with Yen Liow and Bill Gurley's musings on SPACs VISA's chaordic organization and complexity theory through COVID Reflections: Innovation and mud Click here to subscribe to our Beach Reads newsletter
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Beach Reads

August 18, 2020

Welcome to Beach Reads. Some familiar topics appear in this edition, especially in the Technology section. "TikTok and the Sorting Hat" puts a fascinating spin on the success of the app in the United States, while there are some great pieces in the Investment Philosophy section (have you heard of Nicholas Sleep?). The Retail category includes an inside look at Puma, and the Reflections section includes a collection of thought pieces with a focus on journalism. I haven't covered all the news in this edition, so to fill you in here's a good take on the Epic/ Apple news and an overview of recent USPS issues can be found here. The themes covered in this edition are: TikTok tackles cultural barriers, regulating technology companies, and Nintendo's opportunity Nicholas Sleep on Costco, Nicholas Train on COVID-19 demand pull-forward, and a review of Morgan Housel's new book Puma's e-commerce strategy and an update on consumer loyalty Reflections: Bill Gates on COVID and how to save journalism Click here to subscribe to our Beach Reads newsletter
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Beach Reads

August 4, 2020

Welcome to Beach Reads. Earnings season has made the past few weeks hectic for many, including me, so this edition is a bit lighter than usual. As earnings begins to slow, we could probably all use a little time away from our screens, so if you can't head to the beach I hope you find a way to get a little fresh air some other way. Below, I outline the themes covered in this edition of Beach Reads. How PR firms, self-hosted media posts, and gig economy platforms help create narratives and build businesses Big tech and anti-trust concerns. Plus a Microsoft and TikTok tie up? Thoughts on the importance of inflection points in investing and structural reasons for market inefficiencies Reflections: the act of democracy and craft beer Click here to subscribe to our Beach Reads newsletter
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Beach Reads

July 21, 2020

Welcome to Beach Reads. This week's wide variety of links covers topics including Chinese political ambitions and changes in monetary policy application. As usual, there is a healthy investment philosophy section that introduces some interesting frameworks for thinking about companies. As for my favorite articles, the TikTok link is timely; the Alex Danco piece, along with the end of the Charlie Songhurst podcast, cover important topics related to running a business during work from home; and the article about Raphael Bostic is illuminating. Here is an outline of the themes covered in this edition. Chinese political ambitions outside its own borders realized through TikTok, how Nintendo can unlock more shareholder value, and the best AI yet Aggregating demand vs. supply on e-commerce platforms and the impact micro-influencers can have on shoppers. Also, craft as a device to help recruiting in a work-from-home era A fantastic podcast with Charlie Songhurst, two articles that introduce different investment frameworks, and a thought piece on COVID-19's impact on various types of companies Reflections: monetary policy's human impact and an examination of gender wage gaps Click here to subscribe to our Beach Reads newsletter
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Beach Reads

July 7, 2020

Welcome to Beach Reads (and to July). After the long weekend I hope everyone is feeling recharged. This edition focuses on investing themes and features the thoughts of private and public equity investors as well as academics. If you still haven't managed to gear back up following the three-day break and want to put off thinking about work a little longer, check out the Reflections section at the end, which has nothing to do with investing. Below, I outline the themes covered in this edition of Beach Reads. Keeping up with change, understanding quality investing, and thoughts from Aswath Damodaran What drives growth and where to find it. Plus how to better understand moats An update on Outdoor Voices and an argument for eSports in the Olympics. Also, an overview of the semiconductor industry Reflections: architecture and butterflies Click here to subscribe to our Beach Reads newsletter
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Beach Reads

June 23, 2020

Welcome to Beach Reads. With summer officially upon us, this may be the first Beach Reads that can actually be consumed on the beach. And while we all work to continue to adapt to our evolving landscapes (and figure out what a summer vacation may look like), I've largely gone back to basics in this edition, covering a lot of ground that has previously popped up - things like network effects, the metaverse, marketplaces, and more. Here's an outline of the themes covered in this edition. Three interviews: learnings from Marc Andreessen, thoughts from John Collison, and vision-casting from Roblox's chief business officer A three part series that describes successful marketplaces, from a Benchmark VC partner What separates the good from the bad for platforms Physical retailing and brand building through COVID-19: outlining the future Auditing frauds, with EY in hot water. Also, thinking about position sizing Click here to subscribe to our Beach Reads newsletter 
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Beach Reads

June 9, 2020

Welcome to Beach Reads. From social, health, and economic perspectives, these are some of the most unsettling and tumultuous times many of us can remember. Living through such flux can make it difficult, if not impossible, to assess what will lead to significant change and what will pass without consequence. In other words, as Howard Marks suggests in his recent memo, trying to predict future events can be a futile pursuit. A number of this week's articles therefore invite us to look at how we might look at things from a new perspective, while others suggest that learning from past experiences and being adaptable are likely to be key to navigating whatever the new normal turns out to be. Below, I outline the themes covered in this edition of Beach Reads. Why bundles aren't actually bad, important differences between aggregators and platforms, and more What businesses operating in the consumer economy look like before, during, and after COVID-19 Uncovering a Chinese fraud, a cannabis company no longer flying high, and Microsoft dusting off old business tactics Debt as a threat and innovation as a solution as we move through the pandemic Stacking up private equity versus public equity returns and impact Click here to subscribe to our Beach Reads newsletter.
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Beach Reads

May 27, 2020

Welcome to Beach Reads. I hope everyone who had Monday off enjoyed the long weekend. A lot of fantastic content was published over the past two weeks. I've tried to include only the best articles, but there are a couple more links than usual. My personal favorites are the Scale and Loyalty piece by Gavin Baker, the article about how COVID-19 nearly broke the financial markets, the entire Investing Philosophy section, and the first link in "Reflections" (about submarines). Below, I outline the themes covered in this edition of Beach Reads. Enjoy! Deep dives into Epic Games (publisher of Fortnite), DoorDash, and SaaS companies; and what these businesses might look like in the future How changes in social media and advertising impact online and offline businesses, advertisers, and podcasts. Plus TikTok has a new CEO A story about how close financial markets were to imploding during the depths of the COVID-19 crisis Important traits to have as an investor and attributes to look for in management teams (courtesy of Oakmark and Giverny) Eclectic reflections: submarines, web pages, and RVs
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Beach Reads

May 12, 2020

Welcome to Beach Reads. This roundup highlights a number of potential structural changes occurring across industries – and what the future may look like. With the world evolving seemingly by the day, it'll be interesting to track predictions. If you're pressed for time, I recommend reading the first section, the Sarah Tavel podcast, and the Harvard Business School article that details Ferrari's pandemic response. Below, I outline the themes covered in this edition of Beach Reads. Enjoy! How the pandemic is accelerating the growth of large firms at the expense of SMBs What cloud gaming might look like and how to sell to enterprises Ferrari leads the pack with its COVID-19 response and unique approach to capital efficiency Learn about investing from a VC partner and a value (quant) manager The ugly side of change: layoffs, debt, and more
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Beach Reads

April 28, 2020

Welcome to Beach Reads. It seems that we've begun to settle into a COVID-19 "new normal." While days are marked by isolation and monotony, the good news is that investing is as interesting as ever! The articles below highlight some of the interesting changes taking place in the world. For the investors out there, the "Investing Philosophy" section is great. Enjoy! The first section details changes in Airbnb's and Zoom's businesses The second section takes a look at software stocks' performance through COVID-19 The third section includes thoughts on how retail is changing The fourth section provides insights into the investing philosophies of Li Lu and Terry Smith The fifth section is a link about America's growing debt burden The sixth section is "Reflections," which features ideas on building America and how to stimulate creativity
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Beach Reads

April 14, 2020

Welcome to Beach Reads. After another two weeks at home, the future is finally starting to look a bit brighter! With the recent quarter end and more visibility into business impacts, there was a lot of good content published over the last two weeks - so this edition is a bit long. Feel free to pick and choose your favorite topics among the ones listed below. Enjoy! The first section profiles two tech CEOs and one article about tech's relationship with conspicuous consumption The second section features links about changes in the e-commerce world The third section includes an article about changes in interchange fees The fourth section is all about the investing process - I recommend all three pieces The fifth section looks at government and central bank responses to COVID-19 The sixth section provides perspective on business and life pre, during, and post-COVID-19
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Beach Reads

March 30, 2020

Welcome to another quarantine edition of Beach Reads. With everybody stuck at home all day, I hope these links afford readers a brief escape from the new, daily grind. This edition features a lot of long-form links, so feel free to come back to them when you have the time. Enjoy! The first section includes links to articles that detail how the digital media landscape is evolving The second section features three interesting pieces about business models (both what is best and how different ones are changing) The third section is about investing through volatile markets The fourth section consists of three pieces that are linked by their focus on how tomorrow might be different than today The fifth section, "Reflections," gives some advice on managing relationships during COVID-19 and also touches on avalanches
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Beach Reads

March 16, 2020

Welcome to this week's edition of Beach Reads - I hope everyone is safe and healthy out there. While it is nearly impossible to avoid coronavirus headlines, only one section in today's collection is focused on COVID-19, while the rest feature links about other topics. I particularly enjoyed the content in the "Investment Philosophy and Themes" and "Startups" sections, as well as the "zero trust information" link. I hope that these articles help get everyone through the new, unfamiliar work from home life. Enjoy! The first section details the changing startup landscape, especially as it relates to DTC companies The second section is about the recent problems at Boeing (which seem to be worsening) The third section includes links to articles on the coronavirus  The fourth section includes two good podcast links The fifth section is composed of two links - one from Howard Marks, one from Matthew Ball - that cover investing ideas The sixth section "Reflections," which features a link on leadership
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Beach Reads

March 2, 2020

Welcome to the first Beach Reads of March. As of late, we've had a wild ride in the markets. With the coronavirus dominating headlines, I've tried to include a wide variety of links today, with just one section dedicated to the virus. My favorite sections are the first and last - these two address interesting investment themes and different life philosophies. Enjoy! The first section covers three interesting investment themes: network effects, heterogeneous compute, and corporate governance The second section highlights important changes afoot at three different companies The third section features thought pieces on different types of investing (PE vs. Public) The fourth section includes two links on the coronavirus The fifth section is "reflections," with two interesting links on different life philosophies
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Beach Reads

February 18, 2020

This week's installment includes a larger than normal number of links - there were too many good articles this time around! If you are pressed for time, I recommend the articles from the third, fourth, and sixth sections. These sections cover some interesting themes: luxury brands, different investment approaches, and personal development. Enjoy! The first section includes links on the payments industry and what changes it is undergoing - including thoughts on Visa, Klarna, and Mastercard The second section highlights difficulties associated with advertising on well-known digital platforms, like Facebook The third section is composed of three links on three incredible luxury brands: LVMH, Hermes, and Ferrari The fourth section features thought pieces on different types of investing: VC, PE, and public. It also includes a link on the future of Spotify The fifth section is a link to a fledgling hedge fund's annual letter The sixth and final section is "Reflections," which includes links on topics such as personal development
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Beach Reads

January 23, 2020

This week's installment is a big one that is heavy on long form articles and thought pieces about the investment industry. It also includes some interesting links about the future of technology from both a software and hardware perspective. Enjoy! The first section describes the “metaverse” and its relationship to video games. It also includes information about the 7nm node The second section features articles about payment tech and CROs The third section has two fascinating articles about, for lack of a better term, internet culture in today’s day and age, as well as its implications for teens The fourth section is about markets, the asset management industry, and conviction The fifth section is composed of links on leadership, culture, and CEOs
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Beach Reads

January 6, 2020

This week's installment is the first of 2020 - welcome to the new year! Today, we've compiled a group of articles heavy on the future of retail and on different investment approaches. Enjoy! The first section highlights changes in the retail landscape that impact digital brands, brick and mortar retailers, and startups. The second section features a podcast with the CEO of Amphenol The third section has a number of fascinating articles on different approaches to investing, including thoughts on thesis creep, sales discipline, and diversity The fourth section includes an article that examines the positives associated with bundling The fifth section is composed of links about the human brain and human nature
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