Why (modern) Leica M is a great landscape camera


This post is by Om Malik from On my Om


A landscape photography adventure with Leica M cameras

In deep winter, I experience the joy of making snowscapes by going manual with Leica.


Introduction: 

There was a time when new year’s eve was a reason to dress up and paint the town red. Those days are behind me – now I prefer to spend the time between Christmas and the new year doing nothing much, in quiet contemplation. A writer for The Atlantic described it as “nothing time.” 

At the end of 2022, I had planned to go to Alaska, but the trip got postponed.

And as luck would have it, I found a ticket to Jackson Hole, and I decided to fly out for photography. It was better than being stuck indoors as it rained buckets in San Francisco. Wyoming, Idaho, and Montana have had a higher-than-average snowfall, and as a result, it offered a lot of opportunities for my kind of photographic work. Cold weather, snow, and silence are perfect for contemplation and communion with the universe. 

Why I decided to do it: 

Given the transient nature of the trip — three days — I didn’t want to lug around my kit: Leica SL body with two SL zoom lenses is roughly 6.5 kilograms. Add other accessories, and we see at the 10 kilograms mark — 22 pounds! (I previously wrote about the weight of creativity, in case (Read more...)

“What’s next?”


This post is by Seth Godin from Seth's Blog


The way we think about our priorities makes a huge difference.

Leaders of every stripe make one thing more than any other: decisions.

In any environment with constraints (which is, actually, any environment), the decisions about time and resources–about what to do next–change everything.

How do we decide what’s next? Is it based on urgency, proximity or values? First in/first out is not a strategy, it’s an excuse. Even worse is the one about the squeaky wheels.

Control, Complexity and Politics: Deconstructing the Adani Affair!



The India Rising story hit some turbulence last week, as one of its biggest corporate success stories, the Adani Group, was hit with a report from Hindenburg Research, an investing group that specializes in targeting and shorting companies that it believes have dubious accounting and business practices. In response, people have fallen into two groups, with the Adani family and its supporters arguing that the short selling report is a hit job by a "foreign" entity to bring down not just the company, but also the country, and others noting that the report just reinforces what has troubled them about the company's meteoric rise in the last decade. I will confess that I know very little about the Adani Group, and I have nothing invested financially or emotionally in the company's fortunes. If you are looking for advice on whether you should buy or sell Adani shares, based upon my analysis, you will be disappointed. Instead, I will argue that the ingredients that led to the Adani stock price meltdown last week, which include an ambitious family group obsessed with control, a financial market where trading momentum trumps financial fundamentals and a capital market (debt and equity) where governments and regulators put their thumbs on the scale, are embedded in many Indian companies, and represent the weakest links in the India story.

The Lead In

    As noted in the introductory paragraph, I start from a position of ignorance about the Adani Group, and it thus made sense to (Read more...)

Thinking EBITDA Multiples for SaaS at Scale



Last week I was talking to a growth stage software investor. We were discussing a recent round they lead and I asked how they thought about the revenue multiple for this SaaS business. Revenue multiple? I was quickly corrected that they didn’t underwrite it as a Rule of 40 multiple of recurring revenue, growth rate, and gross margin (see Rule of 40 Valuations). Rather, they made the investment based on an estimated EBITDA, and EBITDA multiple, five years from now.

Coming from the grow-at-all-costs for several years to the current grow-reasonably-efficient times, making the leap to EBITDA multiples isn’t as dramatic, but it’s still problematic with so many software companies burning cash. EBITDA (earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization) is form of profitability calculation made popular by the Cable Cowboy John Malone many years ago. In rough numbers, a smaller business is worth 4-6x EBITDA, a mid-sized business is 6-8x EBITDA, and a large business or one with an exceptional business model is 10-15x+ EBITDA (also varies dramatically by industry, growth rate, etc.).

SaaS companies, due to characteristics like the stickiness of the product, high gross margins, revenue predictability, and more make for an exceptional business model. Let’s do some basic math to see how a growth stage investor might underwrite a SaaS company at scale to make 3-5x the investment in five years.

Initial Deal
$20M Revenue
$0 EBITDA
$80M pre-money valuation
$20M investment for 20% ($100M post-money valuation)

End of Year 1
$27M Revenue
$0 EBITDA

(Read more...)

A bit of weekend reading


This post is by Om Malik from On my Om


man sitting on bench reading newspaper
Photo by Roman Kraft on Unsplash

…oftentimes you can see change on the horizon, assuming you’re looking for it, and there comes a day when the landscape flips. But the old entities attached to the old ways refuse to adjust, they believe in holding back the future, staying rooted in the past, to their detriment, because the public is not controlled by them. 

Bob Lefsetz

This simple insight is Silicon Valley (a proverbial proxy for post-industrial technology). Why it exists, why it eats itself, and why it finds the future. A more business version of this insight is Clay Christensen’s Innovator’s Dilemma. 

Top Read:

The Junkification of Amazon: Amazon might be the biggest store on the web, but it is also the shittiest place to shop on the web, says John Herrman. I couldn’t agree more — my overall experience with Amazon has deprecated, and I am always worried about what crap I will get in the box. I have shifted about a third of my dollars to Walmart — Amex underwrites the Walmart equivalent of Prime — and another third to Target or independent stores. Shopify has made it easier to shop with independents. Amazon’s great advantage is “returns.” You will see Amazon as just another web place when someone cracks that. (Ironically, New York magazine has no problem linking to Amazon for affiliate revenues.)

Notable 

So Many Podcasts, So Little Money: Spotify has thus far failed its big bet on podcasts. It has become the (Read more...)

The Best of 2022


This post is by Om Malik from On my Om


At the very end of 2022, I wrote about my photographic journey and how it has allowed me to look at both the world and life in new ways. It has allowed me to embrace imperfections, my own and in others. Of course, it could just be that my inner monologue influenced my photography.

Regardless, many of you wrote wanting to see more of my photos from 2022. There are quite a few favorites, so instead of creating a long string of photos, I roped in my friend Felix and had him create a video presentation of the best of my 2022 photos! Sit back, relax, and enjoy!

February 4, 2023, San Francisco.

“No photos”


This post is by Seth Godin from Seth's Blog


That’s what it said at the florist shop.

I’m guessing because ‘taking’ a photo sometimes feels like a taking. The creativity, skill and effort that goes into making a distinctive arrangement might feel uncompensated when someone simply takes the work and posts it.

This misses the real point, though.

Once you’ve made something worth photographing, having the idea captured and spread helps you, it doesn’t hurt. More than ever, people are paying for famous, even if it’s as prosaic as a famous bouquet, produced by the originator of the design.

The hard part is making something worthy, not protecting it from cameras.

Visualizing Population Density Patterns in Six Countries


This post is by Pallavi Rao from Visual Capitalist


As of 2022, Earth has 8 billion humans. By 2050, the population is projected to grow to 10 billion.

In the last 50 years, the global population more than quadrupled. But none of this growth has been evenly spread out, including within countries.

This series of 3D maps from Terence Teo, an associate professor at Seton Hall University, renders the population density of six countries using open-source data from Kontur Population. He used popular programming language R and a path-tracing package, Rayshader, to create the maps.

France and Germany: Population Density Spikes and Troughs

Let’s take a look at how the population spreads out in different countries around the world. Click the images to explore higher-resolution versions.

This image shows a map of France and its population spread.

France is the world’s 7th largest economy and second-most-populous country in the EU with 65 million people. But a staggering one-fifth of the French population lives in Paris and its surrounding metro—the most populous urban area in Europe.

Many residents in the Paris metropolitan area are employed in the service sector, which makes up one-third of France’s $2.78 trillion gross domestic product.

This image shows a map of Germany and its population spread.

Unlike France, Germany has many dense cities and regions, with Berlin, Munich, Stuttgart, and Cologne all having over a million residents. Berlin is the most populated at 3.5 million residents in the city proper, and 6 million in the wider urban area.

That said, the relatively recent reunification of West and East Germany in 1991 meant that post-WWII growth was mostly concentrated in West Germany (and West (Read more...)

Ranked: The Top Online Music Services in the U.S. by Monthly Users


This post is by Nick Routley from Visual Capitalist


Top Online Music Services in the U.S.

Can I share this graphic?
Yes. Visualizations are free to share and post in their original form across the web—even for publishers. Please link back to this page and attribute Visual Capitalist.
When do I need a license?
Licenses are required for some commercial uses, translations, or layout modifications. You can even whitelabel our visualizations. Explore your options.
Interested in this piece?
Click here to license this visualization.

The Briefing

  • Two-thirds of music listeners in the U.S. used YouTube at least once per month
  • 64% of music listeners use multiple music services per month

The Top Online Music Services in the U.S.

The music streaming industry is characterized by fierce competition, with many companies vying for market share.

Companies are competing on multiple fronts, from price and features to advertising and exclusive content, making it a challenging market for companies to succeed in.

YouTube (the standard offering and YouTube Music) has the highest amount of users, attracting around two-thirds of music listeners in the U.S. during a given month. This is largely due to the YouTube’s massive reach and extensive catalog of music.

Here’s a full rundown of the top music streaming services in the U.S. by monthly listeners:

RankMusic Service% of U.S. Music Listeners Who Use Monthly
#1YouTube61%
#2TSpotify35%
#2TAmazon Music35%
#4Pandora23%
#5SiriusXM21%
#6Apple Music19%
#7iHeartRadio15%
#8SoundCloud10%
#9Audacity6%
#10TTuneIn5%
#10T (Read more...)

Ranked: The Top Online Music Services in the U.S. by Monthly Users


This post is by Nick Routley from Visual Capitalist


Top Online Music Services in the U.S.

Can I share this graphic?
Yes. Visualizations are free to share and post in their original form across the web—even for publishers. Please link back to this page and attribute Visual Capitalist.
When do I need a license?
Licenses are required for some commercial uses, translations, or layout modifications. You can even whitelabel our visualizations. Explore your options.
Interested in this piece?
Click here to license this visualization.

The Briefing

  • Two-thirds of music listeners in the U.S. used YouTube at least once per month
  • 64% of music listeners use multiple music services per month

The Top Online Music Services in the U.S.

The music streaming industry is characterized by fierce competition, with many companies vying for market share.

Companies are competing on multiple fronts, from price and features to advertising and exclusive content, making it a challenging market for companies to succeed in.

YouTube (the standard offering and YouTube Music) has the highest amount of users, attracting around two-thirds of music listeners in the U.S. during a given month. This is largely due to the YouTube’s massive reach and extensive catalog of music.

Here’s a full rundown of the top music streaming services in the U.S. by monthly listeners:

RankMusic Service% of U.S. Music Listeners Who Use Monthly
#1YouTube61%
#2TSpotify35%
#2TAmazon Music35%
#4Pandora23%
#5SiriusXM21%
#6Apple Music19%
#7iHeartRadio15%
#8SoundCloud10%
#9Audacity6%
#10TTuneIn5%
#10T (Read more...)