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IN THIS ISSUE

When advice gets misinterpreted

Ray Dalio on the changing world order

BeReal is all the rage

 
 

Editor's Note

 
 

Good morning. Happy Easter, Happy Passover, and Happy Sunday to all who celebrate.

At Passover Seder last night, in between cups of wine and debating the merits of Elon Musk's takeover bid for Twitter, we read the phrase, "In every generation..." It's a famous refrain in the Passover text: that each generation must pass on the story of the exodus from Egypt to the next generation, who should tell the story to their kids, and so on.

It reminded me of something else I read this week. To celebrate its 150th anniversary, Yellowstone National Park released "Inheritance Passes" to raise money for the park. For a $1,500 donation, you'll receive an annual pass this year, along with another annual pass to the park that cannot be used for another 150 years, until the year 2172.

Both acknowledge that the things that are important to us now aren't guaranteed to last on their own. Preservation over the long term requires a whole lot of effort, whether that's reciting the same story each year, or making a financial investment in a public space.

Essentially, it's a self-fulfilling prophecy: Yellowstone will only exist in 150 years if we believe it will.

—Neal Freyman

 

CULTURE

 
 

Q&A

 

Icebreakers with…billionaire investor Ray Dalio

Ray Dalio Roy Rochlin/Getty Images

Along with founding the world's largest hedge fund, Bridgewater Associates, Ray Dalio is a big history buff. And in this informative video, Dalio explains that empires rise and fall in a predictable pattern known as the Big Cycle. He believes that a new world order is imminent as China leapfrogs the US to become the dominant global power.

We chatted with Dalio about his thesis of the rise and fall of empires.

Does the Russian invasion of Ukraine and the corresponding ripple effects across the globe change your calculus around the current trajectory of the world order?

The Russian invasion of Ukraine is consistent with the expected trajectory of the dynamic behind the changing world order. The process is happening quite quickly now. We are seeing the two sides take shape in the two theaters (European and Asian) of the war the way they last did in World War II.

  • In the European theater, we are seeing the US, Western European countries, and Singapore on one side (let's call them the Allied powers) and Russia, China, India, Middle Eastern countries, and Brazil on the other (let's call them the Axis powers).
  • In the Asian theater it is the United States, Australia, and the UK on one side and China, Russia, and North Korea on the other.

It isn't totally clear what some countries will do yet. We are now seeing classic economic warfare and the testing of its effectiveness via applying and trying to get around sanctions. We are seeing big deficits, money printing, and inflation, and we are seeing the vicious internal conflicts between increasingly extreme political left and political right. It all looks very classic.

How do cryptocurrencies change your model of empires' rise and fall?

We are moving away from a dollar-dominated world currency system to a multicurrency system. Currencies are mediums of exchange and store-holds of wealth. Because of enormous debt creation and money printing to monetize the debts in the major reserve currencies, which are fiat currencies that can be printed without constraints, the value of these reserve currencies is declining, and investors are looking for alternative currencies that are store-holds of wealth. Some will be by governments and some will be private, such as cryptocurrencies. They will be digital and nondigital, like gold, and they will all compete. The most important aspect of all this is that we will see the relatively rapid decline of the leading world reserve currency [the dollar] for all the classic reasons.

Did the Fed pour too much money into the US economy during the pandemic?

Definitely. The Fed has a dual mandate to not have too much inflation and not have economic activity move too slowly. By all these measures, they way overdid the stimulus for much too long.

What does "empire" actually mean in 2022?

Span of control.

This interview has been edited and condensed.

     
 
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WORK LIFE

 

My boss is misinterpreting a leadership book. I know because I used to live with the author.

Make it work image

Each week, our workplace whisperer Shane Loughnane answers a reader-submitted question about problems at work. Anything nagging at you? Ask Shane here.

I love my job. But recently my boss has implemented policies that have been well-intentioned, but off-kilter. I discovered most of these ideas come from a workplace culture book he's been reading. That would be fine, except I happen to know the author of this book (I lived with him in college) and my boss is interpreting the suggestions in a way I know the author never intended, leading to uncomfortable implementation that I think is putting our wonderful workplace culture at risk. Without coming off as "actually, I know better than you," even though I have the "credentials" of knowing the author, how do I bring this up with him?—L.

Today is a day that many will spend reading from what is often cited as the most misinterpreted book of all time. Of course, old roommates of the apostle Paul and other biblical authors who might offer revealing insights aren't exactly an "Icebreaker" Q&A away.

Depending on your current relationship with the author, what if you were to arrange for your boss to have coffee/lunch (or some remote meeting) with them? Say to your boss, "I noticed you've been reading [insert book] and, small world, I happen to know [insert author] quite well. I'd be happy to put you two in touch." Mention to your ex-roommate that your boss has been implementing policies inspired by their book, in order to pique his interest (and all but guarantee the topic comes up). I think if you set the stage properly, there's a good chance the author might be inclined to offer course-correction himself.

The less clandestine approach is to simply provide the feedback to your boss directly. If your workplace culture is truly wonderful, then ideally it promotes honest and open feedback. Even without having to rely on the "credentials" of whose dirty dishes you once cursed, you should always feel comfortable tactfully sharing how policy and cultural changes are impacting your workplace experience.

Good luck—and if you need any advice from my old college roommate, his most recent publication was a gripping Facebook post about choosing the best standalone A/C unit for his garage.

     
 

ANALYSIS

 

Let's get real

Three screenshots of Matty's BeReal photos Matty Merritt's boring BeReal

Sometimes you just want to see what all your friends are doing without you. And while Instagram stories and Snaps might hint that your friends didn't invite you to hot pot, there's only one app that may actually feel authentic: BeReal. The social media app founded in December 2019 by French developer Alexis Barreyat is quickly making its way onto the phones of Gen Zers around the world.

How it works: BeReal is the anti-influencer site, notifying you in the App Store that if you want to be famous, "you can stay on TikTok and Instagram." At a random time each day, the app sends you a notification to post a photo. You have 2 minutes to take the perfect pic—there's no uploading saved photos or a 30-minute grace period to set up your ring light. If you miss the notification, you can still upload your photo for the day, but you get a rude little note that tells all your friends how late you were.

  • Fair warning: Most of your BeReals are going to be laptop screens and a reflection of you brushing your teeth. Turns out our real lives are actually very boring.

Plus, you have to post every day to see your friends' posts. Which are also mostly laptop screens and reflections of them brushing their teeth. But every so often someone's on a walk or at hot pot with the girlies.

And people…like this?

Short answer: yes. Longer answer: like you wouldn't believe. BeReal has spread rapidly since it hit app stores two years ago, but the app's growth in 2022 is on another level. Of its 5 million total lifetime downloads, 65% have come from this year alone.

Of course, investors are paying attention, too. BeReal raised $30 million in its most recent funding round last summer.

It's especially popular on college campuses, where social apps historically make it or break it. BeReal has sponsored events at schools like Harvard and Georgetown and launched a paid college student ambassador program in January. Student newspapers at Bowdoin College, Alabama, and Yale have all tried to get to the bottom of the hype.

Big picture: What sets BeReal apart from the other social media heavy hitters is its Wordle-like scarcity: Post just one photo a day and you're done. Which means that, after years of promoting endless scroll feeds, VIPs like Facebook, Instagram, and TikTok will find it hard to copy BeReal's unique offering.

Still, upstart social media apps come and go like memecoins, and two photo app friends of BeReal have petered out.

  • Dispo, an app that lets users post photos that don't appear until the next day, experienced a massive slowdown last year after its founder, David Dobrik, addressed sexual assualt allegations against someone in his inner circle.
  • And Poparazzi, a no-selfie app where your page is full of photos your friends post of you, launched last May with a lot of hype, but quickly lost steam. It's now hovering close to 90 in the App Store's photo and video chart.

As Tulsi Patel, a student at Penn State, told Protocol about BeReal, "I'm not going to keep posting on it if I'm not seeing my friends post on it. That's the whole point."—MM

     
 

FROM THE CREW

 

The Brew's on the big screen. Well, a screen as big as the size of your monitor or smartphone, at least. Brought to you by our in-house team of creators, our YouTube channel is packed with all kinds of content to help you stay up to date and in the know. Stream the latest vids here.

 

REAL ESTATE

 

Open house

Welcome to Open House, the only newsletter section that requires proof of Canadian citizenship. We'll give you a few facts about a listing and you try to guess the price.

Waterfront Toronto condo with views of yacht harbor. It's on the top floor, above a dentist office. The condo also has a terrace, a massive curved glass window wall, and wood floors.Zillow

Today's home is in Toronto, Canada, where the government banned non-Canadians from buying homes for two years in order to help alleviate the country's affordability crisis. So if you think you know how much this 4,800 square-foot, waterfront condo costs, go higher. Amenities include:

  • 3 beds, 4 baths
  • Private AstroTurfed terrace for football with the boys
  • Plenty of double doors to be dramatic with
  • Extreme proximity to the dentist

How much to never lose sight of your yacht?

     
 

RECS

 

Just click it

  1. On the evolution of Japanese kitchen design and the legacy of the humble rice cooker. (ArtReview)
  2. Bucha's month of terror. (New York Times)
  3. TikTok created an alternate universe just for Russia. (Washington Post)
  4. Donald Glover interviews Donald Glover. (Interview Magazine)
  5. Why American teens are so sad. (The Atlantic)
  6. The fortunes of MacKenzie Scott. (New York Times)
  7. Inside the messy fight over "healthy" sugar tech. (MIT Technology Review)
  8. How loud can sound physically get? (Benn Jordan)
  9. Take a trip to Vermont for a town meeting. (99% Invisible)
  10. Why EV battery prices are set to climb after a decade of declines. (Emerging Tech Brew)

Money Moves: Money With Katie is our weekly newsletter that takes a fresh approach to spending habits, investing best practices, and tax strategies. Finance bros are out, accessible personal finance is in. Check it out.

 

CONTEST

 

Meme competition

Welcome back to Morning Brew's Meme Competition, where we crown a single memelord every Sunday.

Today's winner: Kelly in Valdosta, GA

Meme contest winner

This week's challenge: You can find the new template here for next Sunday. Once you're done making your meme, submit it at this link for consideration.

 

ANSWER

 

$3.97 million (CAN$5 million)

         

Written by Neal Freyman, Matty Merritt, Jamie Wilde, and Shane Loughnane

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