Month: February 2021

Not Kidding Around – Challenges in Maternal Health…

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) tabulated that 3.792 million people were born in the United States in 2018 – worldwide 385k people are born every day. Tragically, several hundred women die each year due to pregnancy-related complications, and while maternal mortality rates globally have declined 44% between 1990 – 2015, mortality rates in the U.S. have increased 139% since 1987. Notwithstanding the extraordinary healthcare resources, the U.S. is a shameful outlier in maternal health when compared to most other developed countries. The causes are complex, the solutions even more so. Flare Capital’s most recent investment is hoping to address these critical issues.

A 2013 study by Medical Economics calculated that the aggregate cost of all childbirths was 0.6% of the U.S. GDP that year. Childbirth is consistently ranked as the top diagnosis for inpatient stays, accounting for 11.7% of all hospital admissions at a rate of 1,195 per 100k according to the HealthCare Transformation Task Force. There are a number of demographic trends that risk further exacerbating the situation:

  • In 2019, 39.6% of all births were to an unmarried mother (more on that below)
  • Preterm births accounted for 10.2% of all births, strongly suggesting additional complications
  • Rate of cesarean procedures has steadily increased and now is 31.9% of all births (up from 20.7% in 1996), in part due to reimbursement models
  • Unintended pregnancies were 45% of all pregnancies (Brookings Institute)
  • In 2020, the fertility rate was 1.779 lifetime births per woman, a 0.06% increase over 2019 (interestingly, (Read more...)

Book: The Soul of an Octopus

This post is by Valet from Feld Thoughts

My favorite animal is a polar bear.

For some reason, I have always related to polar bears. When I’m reincarnated, I hope I come back as a polar bear.

I’ve always like octopuses but never thought much about why. After reading Sy Montgomery’s incredible book The Soul of an Octopus: A Surprising Exploration Into the Wonder of Consciousness, I now know why. It’s simple – we don’t understand how they think.

While a quick throwaway thought is, “Brad, we don’t really know how animals think” or some other assertion around that, there’s such an enormous gap between this question when applied to a dog versus an octopus. This lives in Sy’s subtitle: “A Surprising Exploration Into the Wonder of Consciousness.”

I read the book over a week and had several incredibly complicated dreams, especially around processing stimuli. I had magic superpowers in my hands, arms, legs, and feet in one of them. I remember waking up thinking, “that would be so cool.” And then the dream slipped away.

One of my favorite movies of the last decade is Arrival. We’ve watched it a few times, and I think I’ll watch it again.

Time and language play key roles in the film. As humans, we have a very linear view of time and a constrained view of language. Sci-fi plays with time a lot, and Arrival plays with both time and language.

That leads me back to octopuses. Humans often anthropomorphize everything, where we apply our concept of time and (Read more...)

Summer in the City: Why there’s no other place I’d rather be than New York

On March 13, 2020, my wife and I went out to dinner with my dad in Brooklyn. That would be our last time indoors in a New York City restaurant. The next day, an 82-year-old woman in Brooklyn with emphysema would be the state’s first COVID-19 death.

Schools and everything else closed the next week. Within a month, over 10,000 New York City residents would be dead, representing nearly half of all of the deaths in the country at the time.

We live along a well-traveled ambulance path. It felt like there were sirens happening every ten minutes.

The speed of that initial spread caught the state and local governments flat-footed. Early mistakes proved costly and it would be months before there were even any glimpses of normalcy.

As the virus spread and the world went into a state of work from home, the media questioned whether “New York is dead.”

If it wasn’t necessary to work in physical proximity to your co-workers, if your favorite restaurant shuttered and if your kid’s school went remote, why stay?


At least, that’s what Mayoral hopeful Andrew Yang and many, many others thought, too.

When even a guy trying to be Mayor of your city leaves it…

As they say, “Houston St., we have a problem.”

(Don’t @ me… I know.)

Those of us who didn’t leave, however, caught a glimpse during the summer of what a more intentionally open, outdoorsy New York might look like…

Kayaking in Newtown Creek between Greenpoint and Long Island City with the  Brooklyn Bridge Park Boathouse.

Kayaking in Newtown Creek between Greenpoint and (Read more...)

Vegas Hockey Town USA

This post is by Jeff Carter from Points and Figures

I am certainly not an expert on Las Vegas only having lived here since last year.  For virtually all of my time here, it’s been Covid Vegas.  But, you do notice some things that come through despite mandated government lockdowns.

Vegas is a hockey town.

They call Detroit Hockey Town USA and for sure, Detroit loves the Red Wings.  But, the Red Wings haven’t been good for a long time now.

I can’t drive anywhere without seeing a Vegas Golden Knights license plate, window sticker, license plate frame, or seeing someone wearing Golden Knights gear.  They are crazy for the Golden Knights.

I asked a couple of people about it.  The first year the Knights were in existence, they were the only pro sports in town.  That was one rallying point.  The other was they were actually really good.  They made it to the Stanley Cup final.  The third was the shooting that happened on the Strip happened in their first year.  The Knights and the town bonded over that I think it’s unbreakable.  Forged in strife.

It’s been interesting to watch.  People that have tickets tell me it’s a great place to see a game.  I will go when the government-mandated restrictions against freedom lapse.

One thing I do have a preference for is the Original Six jerseys and logos.  For some reason, they just look classic, timeless, and almost perfect to me.  Red Wings, Canadiens, Maple Leafs, Rangers, Bruins, and Black Hawks…..There is something about the newer team’s (Read more...)

SPAC Week On My Blog – Social Leverage Acquisition Corp …And Not Everyone Will Have A SPAC but Roger Fradin Has One!!

This post is by Howard Lindzon from Howard Lindzon

I have been in Coronado the last week just trying to change up my work routine. It has been fantastic.

After writing this post I will head down the strand on my Sunday ride.

My early morning routine this week has been a coffee and pastry from Tartine on the bay side of the island.

I love my street (we have had a home on Coronado for almost 12 years) and this town. I sense this summer will be the best/busiest in Coronado’s long history. COVID has done its damage to retail and restaurants, but already new ones have popped up and I can feel the energy ready to explode.

In a new brush with fame, my neighbor of two years from Kentucky shouted out that he loved my blog/tweets. He and his family live right next door and he works at Invesco. We never talk business but he had been following me on Twitter and never connected the dots until he started listening to my podcast and put it all together from my Coronado references and riffs about Max and Rachel. The world is smaller than ever in 2021.

Ok so what is coming up on SPAC week?

Let me start by publicly announcing the Social Leverage SPAC. The ticker is $SLAC.U and the unit started trading a few weeks back.

Here is the S-1 filing which I am very proud of our team and plan. I will write the longer backstory this week on the blog this (Read more...)

“Count me in”

This post is by Seth Godin from Seth's Blog

That’s the opposite of, “count me out.”

Either you seek to unite and be part of it. Or to divide and watch it go away.

Whatever ‘it’ might be.

We can seek to trigger those we’ve decided are our enemies, undermine the standards and burn it all down. Or we can commit to the possibility that together, we can create something that works.

It’s not that hard to realize that even if we can’t always see the gunwales on the boat, we’re all in the same one.

How investors are valuing the pandemic

Welcome back to The TechCrunch Exchange, a weekly startups-and-markets newsletter. It’s broadly based on the daily column that appears on Extra Crunch, but free, and made for your weekend reading. Want it in your inbox every Saturday morning? Sign up here.

Ready? Let’s talk money, startups and spicy IPO rumors.

Kicking off with a tiny bit of housekeeping: Equity is now doing more stuff. And TechCrunch has its Justice and Early-Stage events coming up. I am interviewing the CRO of Zoom for the latter. And The Exchange itself has some long-overdue stuff coming next week, including $50M and $100M ARR updates (Druva, etc.), a peek at consumption based pricing vs. traditional SaaS models (featuring Fastly, Appian, BigCommerce CEOs, etc.), and more. Woo! 

This week both DoorDash and Airbnb reported earnings for the first time as public companies, marking their real graduation into the ranks of the exited unicorns. We’re keeping our usual eye on the earnings cycle, quietly, but today we have some learnings for the startup world.

Some basics will help us get started. DoorDash beat growth expectations in Q4, reporting revenue of $970 million versus an expected $938 million. The gap between the two likely comes partially from how new the DoorDash stock is, and the pandemic making it difficult to forecast. Despite the outsized growth, DoorDash shares initially fell sharply after the report, though they largely recovered on Friday.

Why the initial dip? I reckon the company’s net loss was larger than investors hoped (Read more...)

World Beer Index 2021: What’s the Price of a Beer in Your Country?

This post is by Iman Ghosh from Visual Capitalist

View the full-size version of this infographic.

World Beer Index 2021 - Average Price of a Beer 1200px

What’s the Price of A Beer in Your Country?

View the high resolution of this infographic by clicking here.

Although fewer people have been able to grab a beer at the pub during this pandemic, the global desire for beer prevails. For example, sales of the Corona beer actually shot up in the past year, despite—or perhaps because of—associations with the coronavirus.

This World Beer Index from Expensivity compares the average price of a bottle of beer in 58 countries in a detailed map. Additionally, we show which countries spend the most on beer per capita, and just how much beer people really drink.

Pricey Pints: The Average Price of a Beer

Researchers calculated the average price of a typical bottle of beer (330ml, just shy of a pint) from well known brands via online stores and statistics database Numbeo. In addition, local beer prices were pulled from hotel and bar menus, and average values converted to USD.

In Qatar, you’d have to shell out $11.26 for a single beer, which would surely make for a really expensive night out on the town. In part, this is because in 2019, the Muslim-majority country introduced a 100% excise tax on top the previous sales price of all alcohol imports.

These steep prices are aimed at tourists—and with Qatar hosting the 2022 men’s soccer World Cup, there’ll be thousands of visitors in the country looking for a cold one at any price.

Rank (Read more...)