#93 - What The Hell is Shein, the Marqeta Fintech S-1, Crypto Winter and the Power of Elon Musk
In this week's episode of Reformed Millennials, Broc and Joel talk fast fashion, the Elon Crypto Winter, and the future of work from home.
If you aren’t in the Reformed Millennials Facebook Group join us for daily updates, discussions, and deep dives into the investable trends Millennials should be paying attention to.
👉 For specific investment questions or advice contact Joel @ Gold Investment Management.
First Things First:
Millennials and young investors should be THRILLED that tech stocks are getting smashed! This is good for the long-term returns of our portfolios. Now the most important thing to do is to save save save and invest invest invest.
Fade the Journalists.
You should know that by the time the journalists catch wind that things are good, it’s probably almost time for it not to be so good anymore...
One of my favorite sentiment indicators is the New Yorker and Economist Covers.
We just saw the best 52-week period for stocks in over 75 years. You know what they were telling you the week that rally started?
Do you remember what those characters were telling you the week stocks bottomed?
These two magazine covers were published at the perfect time to be buying stocks... which is what we were telling people to do on the podcast and in the group... Search the group's post history from Feb-April 2020.
So the journalists got it completely wrong.
Those same publishers with the empty Grand Central Terminal cover (the week stocks bottomed) are now back with their most optimistic cover yet!
And if history has taught us anything, it’s to fade their optimism.
For the last 3 months, we've been telling people to be cautious of SPACs and ARKK names... That a rotation from Growth at an unreasonable price to Value cash-flowing businesses was afoot.
The above magazine cover just adds to our conviction, similar to those stampeding robot bulls the economist printed in February 2020.
And to be clear, it’s not the journalists’ fault. In fact, they actually do an incredible job of aggregating public sentiment. I don’t think there is any group in the world that is better at it, even if it may not necessarily be their intention.
Keep the journalists employed if only as a contra sell and buy signal.
Stocks are in for a rough couple of months. Own things that will pay you to wait. Think dividend and ROC heavy businesses.
There really is something unprecedented and amazing about Elon Musk’s continuing ability to move the prices of Bitcoin and Dogecoin with his slightest whim.
Elon Musks Twitter account is as close to a literal money printer as one could possibly see in finance. He can quickly, easily, silently buy billions of dollars worth of liquid unregulated assets and then tell it to go up, and it will go up. Then he can sell it, tell it to go down, and repeat...
Caveat - we don't think Elon is day trading these things. Even though there is almost no regulation...
Outside of his "proving liquidity" BTC balance sheet scam that he pulled last quarter - this all feels like a troll more than anything sinister.
If you're a crypto investor/entrepreneur I feel sorry for you because celebrities like Elon and Portnose make taking the industry seriously much much harder.
OUR PERSONAL OPINION OF THIS IS ALWAYS CHANGING BUT I'LL TRY TO OUTLINE IT HERE:
Bitcoin is terrible money and will never ever replace a country-controlled currency.
Because there is no utility (use case) value other than evading tax/illegal activity or living off the grid/leaving a failed dictatorship.
The "currency" was never even distributed at the start and founders reap all the reward vs. taxpayers/participants.
There is no enforcing body. There's no tax system to redistribute power and there's no way to solve for liquidity in a pinch. When push comes to shove, the military will always be there to enforce the rules of their currency. Crypto doesn't have such enforcement features.
In my opinion, Crypto is a software layer of the internet - its value relationship will be similar to the iPhone expanding on the desktop computer. Eg: The desktop wasn't replaced by the mobile phone, rather, it was an additional tool for us to use. Crypto is the same - it expands on the use case of the internet creating a new layer where we can build trust in our commerce partners. It allows for Legal, Real Estate Transactions, Medical Transactions, Insurance Transactions, etc. to move online where they were/is relegated to paper because they require trust. Crypto is a solution for that.
Chinese hash centralization. (60% of hash power is in China) They are mining USD and paying down their USD-denominated debt.
We can simultaneously question Elon for his public company scams while love him exposing the store of value con for what it is.
I can simultaneously question crypto for its disingenuous libertarian narrative while also appreciate it for the brilliant new technology that it is.
We are confident enough in our understanding of crypto to write the above things publically while leaving ourselves open to being wrong about it all. This is all still very new and we think there are amazing opportunities on the horizon for entrepreneurs and investors alike.
We think that playing the software protocol game is where the true lasting utility is going to be found. We have no interest in the scam coin trading I see on Tiktok and Instagram.
We don't play greater fool games.
"Shein won’t stay a secret in tech for long. In January 2019, it raised $500 million from Sequoia China and Tiger Global at a $5 billion valuation. In August 2020, it raised an undisclosed amount from an undisclosed investor at a $15 billion valuation. Is that Masa’s music?"
Shein (pronounced She In) is the fastest-growing eCommerce company in the world. It reportedly did almost $10 billion in revenue in 2020, and has grown over 100% for each of the past eight years. The company is based in China, yet spurns its local market in favor of selling abroad. Shein sells into nearly every other major market in the world, with the notable exception of India, where it was banned along with TikTok and 57 other Chinese apps last June.
The tech and financial press, usually so infatuated with highly-valued Chinese tech companies, doesn’t talk about Shein much.
But if you’ve spent much time on Instagram or TikTok, you can’t escape it. Influencers from Addison Rae and Katy Perry to Lil Nas X have worked to make Shein’s clothing a mainstay in every Gen Z closet from the United States to the United Arab Emirates.
There’s a reason why Gen-Z is infatuated with SheIn — those prices — tops for $7, dresses for $12, jeans for $17, coats for $28. SheIn makes Amazon look positively expensive. Run a search for “addicted to Shein” on Twitter and you get a sense that this company’s user retention metrics might be Juul-in-2018-good.
Shein ranks as No.1 in the iOS App Store’s Shopping category for 56 countries, and garners a top 5 spot for 124, out of a total of 174.
Since mid-February, Shein has seen an unbroken run of being ranked second only after Amazon for shopping apps in the United States.
A recent survey of American upper-income teens by investment bank Piper Sandler also ranked Shein as 2nd after Amazon for most popular shopping website.
Shein’s website ranks no.1 in the world for web traffic in the fashion and apparel category, according to SimilarWeb, putting them ahead of household names Nike, Zara, Macys, Lululemon, and Adidas.
The average duration of a site visit is estimated at 8 mins 36 seconds, higher than every major US fashion brand.
A recent report claimed Shein was the most talked about brand on TikTok in 2020.
🌊Best Links of The Week🔮
Does Amazon know what it sells? Amazon has scaled indefinitely by treating every product as an interchangeable packet, and by not caring what they are, only what they weigh. At a fundamental level, it doesn’t know what it sells. What would happen if it could change that?
Smart home standards? We might be in a smart home 'trough of despondency, and I'm not actually sure that smart home even really exists - there may just be a range of devices that might have had a chip and a network connection (do you have an 'electric home'?) But one problem is how many standards there are, and now most of the CE industry has joined around a connectivity and configuration standard called 'Matter', previously called 'CHIP', previously called 'Zigbee. (That history might tell you something).
Weed - Waiting On Federal Language. While most investors remain focused on movement at the federal level, our baseline bull case remains predicated on continued state-level adoption driving the total addressable market higher over time. With New York and New Jersey next year, Maryland and Pennsylvania behind them, and Florida, Ohio, Texas, and others on tap, the inside-out legalization of The United States of Cannabis will continue to continue no matter what happens in DC. We try not to overthink things too much but when a sector pulls back 35% in three months, it’s only natural to question your thesis. Now, we could argue that after the massive run the sector enjoyed year-over-year, taking a third off the top to alleviate overbought conditions and blowing the froth off the then-sizzling sentiment is long-term heathy. But there’s more to the story: structural inefficiencies that continue to plague the natural order of price discovery.
Home prices keep escalating in Canada but moderation may be coming. Canada’s housing mania toned down a notch in April as home resales reversed their clearly unsustainable spike of the previous two months. It may be an early sign some buyers are reaching their limit to engage in bidding wars. Soaring property values have significantly raised the bar for those contests. Yet, for now, prices continue to escalate. Despite easing in the past three months, demand-supply conditions remain incredibly tight, sustaining intense upward price pressure. Canada’s composite benchmark price (MLS Home Price Index) rose another $17,000 (2.4%) between March and April, pushing up the increase to $135,000 (23.1%) since April last year.
Marqeta S-1 teardown - Modern card issuing, financial infrastructure and usage-based pricing.
This blog is presented as a general educational, informational, and entertainment resource. While the author of this blog, Joel Shackleton, is registered as an Associate Advising Representative with Gold Investment Management Ltd., a firm registered as a portfolio manager and located in Edmonton, Alberta, this blog does not provide, and should not be construed as providing, individualized investment advice, nor as containing any recommendation to buy or sell any specific securities or otherwise make any other form of investment or investment decision. Joel Shackleton and Gold Investment Management Ltd. specifically disclaim any reader of this blog from relying on any of its contents as investment advice or as an investment recommendation. The views and opinions expressed herein are the personal views and opinions of the author only and do not necessarily reflect the views or opinions of Gold Investment Management Ltd. or any of its other registered individuals or employees. For a comprehensive legal disclaimer please visit GIM’s website at https://gold-im.com/legal/