🔥 The Fireside #16

How Visa become Visa, Starbucks secret side-hustle and How to get new ideas

Hello beautiful human being! This issue of the Fireside has fewer links than usual because I really struggled to find great articles (the Internet seems to go on holiday in August). However, I think this issue’s articles are all amazing, in particular the one about the history of Visa.

A bit of house keeping: I'm moving this newsletter to a different email provider (Substack) and it would be really helpful if you could add the email address “thefireside@substack.com“ to your contacts list. If you are on Gmail, please also drag this email to the Priority tab.

And in other news, a couple of weeks ago I got down on one knee and asked the love of my life to marry me and she said yes 😊💍

On to The Fireside...

New blog post: A couple of weeks I found a free app called Glide that makes it crazy simple to create a mobile app using Google Sheet. That’s right: Google Sheet. I built myself a food diary app in 30 minutes and since a lot of people asked me how I did it, I recorded a short video. Enjoy it.

New Book: “Shoe Dogby Phil Knight is the memoir of Nike’s CEO and founder. I’m usually not a big fan of memoirs but this book is exceptionally well written and a reminder of what running a business *actually* looks like. Super recommended, especially if you are a Nike detractor.

Have a great rest of the week :)


➤ The links

💳 A History of Visa

[Manuel's best pick] Visa is one of the biggest companies in the world. Cards bearing the Visa logo are used more than 340 million times every day. Yet unlike other companies of similar size and ubiquity, few people know what Visa does, how they make money, or why they even exist. This is the fascinating story of how Visa came to be and how it has built such a huge competitive advantage that even companies like Apple or Google chose to partner with Visa rather than compete head-to-head.

☕️ Starbucks, monetary superpower

When you think about Starbucks you probably don't think about a financial company. But what if I told you that Starbucks is able to raise $1.6B at 0% interest rate, every year, from their customers and make a $155M pure profit simply by offering gift cards? An amazing account of how even a small thing like a gift card, at Starbucks scale, can become a multi-billion dollar side business.

🧘🏻‍♂️ On Finding Your Purpose and Living a Meaningful Life

Hunter S. Thompson's letter to his friend, Hume Logan, on finding your purpose and living a meaningful life. One of the most profound advice I've ever come across.

💡 Isaac Asimov Asks, “How Do People Get New Ideas?”

Isaac Asimov is one of the most prolific writers of all time, having written more than 500 books (including legendary series like "Foundation" and "I, Robot"), and one of my childhood heroes. In 1959 was invited by the American secret agency ARPA to help their scientist to "think out-of-the-box". While he eventually decided to leave the agency, he wrote an essay on creativity that was never published. Until now.

★ Other things from the internet

(That may or may not make you look smart at dinner parties)

📚 Free and liberated ebooks, carefully produced for the true book lover

Many people don't know that copyrights for books expire 70 years after the death of their author. This means that the works of Jane Austen, Lewis Carroll, Edgar Allan Poe and Shakespeare (to mention few) are all available for free to anyone. Standard ebooks is a website that offers hundreds of old books in modern, high-quality free ebook format. There are lots of websites with free public domain ebooks, but this is the highest quality one I’ve ever encountered, by a looooong shot.

PS: Read the full TheFireside archives here