2023.09.06 Issue 24
This issue's cover image was generated by Midjourney with the prompt "A sculpture created with a [lodge in the mountain and river], in the style of colorful woodcarvings, bryce 3d, museum gallery dioramas, landscape-focused, high detail, rim light, isolate on white".
Here is the main text of this issue, with an estimated reading time of about 12 minutes.
1. Sauce Fragrance Latte
In recent days, the "Sauce Fragrance Latte" launched by Luckin Coffee in collaboration with Maotai has not only attracted attention on social media, but also caused overcrowding in offline stores, with cups in high demand.
According to a report by Caixin Net, "The first day sales of the Sauce Fragrance Latte exceeded 5.42 million cups, with sales exceeding 100 million yuan, breaking the record for a single product." For the stock market, the combination of coffee and liquor has also boosted the stock prices of liquor companies. "On September 4th, the CSI Baijiu Index closed at 15,468.68 yuan, up 3.42%. Among the 18 constituent stocks, except for Gujing Gongjiu's slight decline of 0.03%, the rest all rose. Jin Huijiu surged to the daily limit, Shede Wine and Kouzi Cellar rose by about 7%, and Maotai only rose slightly by 0.81%."
When I saw Caixin Net's statement that "Luckin Coffee has achieved a turnaround in performance after getting rid of the scandal of financial fraud," I found it very thought-provoking. A company listed in the United States, being able to make a comeback after a serious financial fraud, I wonder if this phenomenon is due to the power of capital or the skilled and intensive "hands" behind it.
In 2001, the largest financial fraud case in U.S. history was exposed, and Enron Corporation and its related companies suffered a catastrophic blow. Enron was fined $500 million by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, its stock was suspended from trading, and the company declared bankruptcy. Dozens of people were criminally charged, and the company's CEO, Jeffrey Skilling, was sentenced to 24 years in prison and fined $45 million; the mastermind of the financial fraud, Andrew Fastow, was sentenced to 6 years in prison and fined $23.8 million; the company's founder, Kenneth Lay, although the criminal charges were dropped due to his death during the litigation, still had to pay a fine of $12 million. Enron's investors obtained $7.14 billion in compensation through class-action lawsuits. Arthur Andersen, with 89 years of history and one of the world's top five accounting firms, went bankrupt after being convicted of obstructing justice for helping Enron commit financial fraud, and the world's top five accounting firms became the "Big Four" since then. Citigroup, JPMorgan Chase, and Bank of America were found guilty of financial fraud and paid compensation fines of $2 billion, $2.2 billion, and $69 million to Enron's bankruptcy victims, respectively.
According to a report, in the second quarter of this year, Luckin Coffee's revenue increased by 88% year-on-year to 6.201 billion yuan, surpassing Starbucks China for the first time. In terms of profit, Luckin Coffee achieved a net profit of 999 million yuan, with a net profit margin of 16.1%, compared to a loss of 115 million yuan in the same period last year.
On March 24, 2021, Luckin Coffee's financial report showed that the total net revenue reached 7.965 billion yuan, an increase of 97.5% compared to 2020. From being exposed for financial fraud a year ago to successfully getting rid of all bankruptcy proceedings and returning to normal operations, Luckin Coffee only took two years.
2. The Present is Everything
We live in a fast-paced world, often focusing too much on the past and the future, and rarely truly living in the present. We often worry and regret about things that have already happened, and also anxiously anticipate things that may happen in the future. Little do we know, the present is the only thing we truly have.
Nowadays, more and more people are paying attention to the practice of "meditation" and believe that it can help relax the mind and body. Indeed, meditation has this effect. But in my opinion, meditation emphasizes more on "returning to simplicity". Meditation teaches us that everything in the present is complete and sufficient; we don't need to pursue anything else because we already have everything in every moment of the present; and this is the wisdom of returning to simplicity.
In the meditation practice of Buddhism, in addition to Zen meditation (Shamatha), there is also insight meditation, called Vipassana. It emphasizes deep observation of present experience, in other words, observing the present moment. Through insight, we can learn how to focus our attention on the present feelings, emotions, and thoughts, rather than getting lost in past memories or future fantasies.
The purpose of insight is to release our attachment to "me" and "mine" and the suffering that arises from it, through deep observation of the present moment. Only in the present can we truly observe and understand the elements that make up our experience.
In daily life, it is not difficult to translate the concept of "the present is everything" into actual experience. For example, when you are eating, you can focus on the taste, texture, and color of the food, and concentrate your thoughts on the food itself and the act of eating. On the plate on the table, you see the content, color, and portion of the dish. When you pick up a chopstick and feed it into your mouth, chew slowly, you can feel the taste and texture of the dish. In this moment, in the space you are in, there is only the food and you.
To put it simply, when you are in love, carefully choosing your words and sentences, the moment you send a text message to the other person is an experience of "the present is everything". When two people enjoy sex and the climax is about to come, it is also an experience of "the present is everything".
In a busy and fast-paced life, we need to understand and practice the meaning of "the present is everything" and seize every moment to reduce our burden. Because every moment is special, every moment is new.
3. The Shortcut is Not Taking the Shortcut
Alan Kay said at the 20th Annual Stanford Computer Forum:
I think the weakest way to solve a problem is to solve it.
From this, it triggered my thinking, "The shortcut is not taking the shortcut."
This statement may seem contradictory, but in reality, in the pursuit of personal and professional achievements, the most effective and lasting methods are often not the most direct or "shortcut" ways.
If we only seek quick solutions, we may miss the opportunity for deeper learning and understanding. True progress takes time and effort, and requires us to deeply understand the problem and find fundamental solutions, rather than just superficially achieving something that "looks good".
Going back to Alan Kay's statement, he is actually emphasizing the way of thinking about and solving problems. His point is that we often focus too much on the problem itself and overlook the deeper underlying causes of the problem. If we only directly solve the surface-level problem without understanding its root causes, then we may only address the symptoms without fundamentally changing the conditions that give rise to the problem. Such solutions are often short-sighted and lack long-term effectiveness.
4. Night Sailing Ship
- The article "The limits of our personal experience and the value of statistics" argues that personal experience is not sufficient to have a comprehensive understanding of the world because our personal experience is limited and narrow. News media also provide a fragmented and biased worldview, leaving many things unclear. The article suggests that statistics are necessary to broaden our perspective and provide a reliable understanding of the world because they allow us to draw conclusions about the entire population. The article concludes by advocating for a more central role for statistical literacy in our culture.
- Whether you are interested in running your own personal media or already doing so, this article "4 Steps Playbook to Build Individual Brand" is worth reading. The article introduces how to build a personal brand through Twitter and newsletters, including determining brand positioning, establishing a content system, building a growth system, and starting monetization. The author shares their experiences and learnings, emphasizing the value of personal branding and pointing out that with the help of Web3 and AI, personal branding is easier to create and monetize. The article also discusses how to achieve compounding effects, including content, brand, fans, network, reputation, product, and capital compounding.
- Personal Information Acquisition and Knowledge Management System (Heptabase + Logseq + Readwise) is an article that introduces personal information acquisition and knowledge management methods. The author categorizes information sources into random thoughts, information streams, and focused reading to demonstrate how they acquire and manage personal knowledge. They use a series of software tools such as Logseq, Readwise, and Heptabase to record and organize information. The text also mentions the experience of using WeChat Reading as an active reading tool. The whole article emphasizes the author's emphasis on information acquisition and management and shares their personal practices and tool choices.
- The rapid changes in society pose challenges to individuals, and traditional cultural norms provide a set of rules for social behavior that may create tension when coexisting with modernity. "Every person has only 24 hours a day, I hope my choices are really my choices" suggests that when making long-term plans, individuals should prioritize important life issues such as career and interpersonal relationships. However, modern society also brings new problems, such as meaningless work and a lack of personal time. The author believes that despite these challenges, individuals should strive to make choices that align with their personal values and priorities.
- What are the development plans for Heptabase 1.0 after its launch? Alan provides some answers.
- Ethan's short article "The Answer Lies Beyond the Question" is powerful enough to provoke deep thinking.
- I watched all eight episodes of the live-action version of "One Piece" that was recently released on Netflix. Overall, the viewing experience was good, although it may not be suitable for fans of the original work. But if you just want to mindlessly binge-watch a series, it's worth a watch.
- After receiving the news of the passing of Professor Situ Zhaodun, I rewatched the HBO-produced drama film "Taking Chance", which is based on a true story about the escort of the body of a soldier, Chance Phelps, who died in Iraq, back to his hometown.
5. Living Elsewhere
- On the morning of August 30th, I received a call from my family, and the respected Professor Situ Zhaodun passed away peacefully at the age of 85. On the morning of September 4th, we bid farewell to Professor Situ at Babaoshan Cemetery.
- Professor Situ was known as the "Father of Chinese Documentary" and was a senior professor at the Beijing Film Academy. He was also the class advisor for the 1978 directing class, nurturing directors of the Fifth Generation such as Chen Kaige and Tian Zhuangzhuang.
- Today, I took a professional MBTI test on different platforms and finally transitioned from an INTP personality type to an INTJ personality type.
- I speculate that perhaps it is due to a certain age or being polished by society, I am no longer whimsical but starting to accept and slowly enjoy order.
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