The Profile: The rapper mixed up in a global financial scandal & Putin’s secret weapon
This edition of The Profile features Pras Michél, Emma Chamberlain, and more.
Good morning, friends!
Many of my friends (and this newsletter’s readers) were affected by the Silicon Valley Bank collapse this week. They were blindsided by how quickly everything unraveled. It’s something few had foreseen. This tweet shows just how much uncertainty founders (but really, all of us) have had to contend with in the last few years.
One of life’s most difficult things to accept is that you can make all the right decisions, check all the boxes, devise contingency plans, and still get hit with an unexpected event that brings you to your knees.
In a blog post titled, “The Three Sides of Risk,” author and investor Morgan Housel posits that there are three distinct aspects to risk-taking: 1) The odds you will get hit; 2) The average consequences of getting hit; and 3) The tail-end consequences of getting hit.
It’s the tail-end consequences of risk that matter in the long run, which he calls “the low-probability, high-impact events.” They are the hardest to control but the ones that matter most.
When [mountaineer Conrad] Anker and his friends attempted to scale Shishapangma, they knew they were competent climbers. They had calculated the risk of climbing to the best of their abilities. But in their case, “the low-probability, high-impact event” was the avalanche they hadn’t foreseen. It came down to a simple, dumb-luck decision: Anker went to the left while they went to the right.
The point is this: When we think we have become masters of chaos, life has a way of humbling even the most competent risk-mitigators. And if we survive, there are an endless number of lessons we can learn from the experience. As big wave surfer Garrett McNamara puts it, “I think you’re a master when you realize you know nothing.”
I hope you’re all doing OK, and just remember that none of us can accurately predict what the next few months or years have in store. The important thing to keep in mind is that your life has been stress-tested before. You’ve likely been in seemingly impossible situations — tight on money, failed in business, or lost a loved one. And here you are today, still alive, still breathing, still hopeful.
The ability to build (and re-build) our lives deliberately is what gives us confidence in the face of uncertainty.
— The rapper mixed up in a global financial scandal [**HIGHLY RECOMMEND**]
— The YouTuber leaving YouTube behind
— The Christian TV star reclaiming her identity
— Putin’s secret weapon on energy
— India’s e-commerce giant beating Amazon
PEOPLE TO KNOW.
The rapper mixed up in a global financial scandal: Pras Michél, rapper and member of legendary hip-hop group the Fugees, got entangled in one of the century’s great financial scandals. After Michél mediated a high-stakes negotiation between global superpowers, he was being accused of major crimes. What on earth happened? His involvement began by chance, around 2006, when he met a baby-faced Malaysian businessman named Jho Low. This is an absolute must-read. (Bloomberg; reply to this email if you can’t access the article)
“They can’t kill me in the Four Seasons.”
The YouTuber leaving YouTube behind: At only 21, Emma Chamberlain is already a veteran of YouTube fame. Starting at 16, Chamberlain began making and sharing videos of herself doing things like showing off her dollar-store haul or making a late-night burrito. She became one of the platform’s most popular personalities. But now the world of YouTube is not, as it turns out, big enough. She recently signed a deal with Spotify to produce a podcast, she became one of the global faces of Lancôme cosmetics, and she also started her own coffee brand, Chamberlain Coffee. “Now that I’m older,” Chamberlain says, “I’m more interested in things being more creative rather than just pure entertainment — things that feel more beautiful.” (The New York Times)
“I’ve seen people get destroyed on the internet. It’s a scary place to exist.”
The Christian TV star reclaiming her identity: Jinger Duggar Vuolo was one of 19 children on a popular reality show called 17 Kids and Counting. Vuolo, the sixth-oldest Duggar child, is now a 29-year-old married mother of two living 1,500 miles from her hometown. As a child, she was a symbol of sweetness and obedience to the many conservative Christians who admired her family. Now, she is using her fame to denounce many aspects of that upbringing, and promote a different vision of Christianity she describes as defined by grace, not rules. (The New York Times)
“Even though you’re told your life is going to fall apart if you leave, it’s not. You don’t have to even lose your faith in God.”
Putin’s secret weapon on energy: Russia urgently needs to develop new markets for its oil and gas companies, with Western sanctions cutting into the backbone of its economy. It’s relying on a 37-year-old former Morgan Stanley banker to keep profits flowing. Pavel Sorokin, Russia’s deputy energy minister, is part of a cadre of young technocrats with deep knowledge of the West, fast-tracked by Vladimir Putin to the upper echelons of power. (Wall Street Journal; reply to this email if you don’t have access to the article)
COMPANIES TO WATCH.
India’s e-commerce giant beating Amazon: Flipkart, India’s largest e-commerce company, was acquired by Walmart in 2016. The sale was a critical moment for Flipkart. Its status as India’s most valuable startup and e-commerce leader had long gone unchallenged. But a series of missteps had allowed global behemoth Amazon, then a relative newcomer to the Indian market, to catch up. The U.S. giant’s momentum was such that many investors and analysts at the time quipped, “The Amazon of India will be Amazon.” Here’s how Flipkart did the seemingly impossible. (Rest of World)
“The task given to Kalyan was very straightforward: You have to keep beating Amazon.”
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