Landmark Links September 28th – Shot Across the Bow


Must Read: Amazon has made it clear that they want to own the “smart home” space, releasing over a dozen new devices powered by Alexa.  Now the eCommerce behemoth is taking things a step further and dipping its toes in the home building business by investing in Plan Prefab, a company that uses sustainable construction processes and materials to build prefabricated custom single and multifamily houses. (h/t Dave Kidder)


Road to Nowhere: More people are working for ride-sharing and delivery companies than ever before but they are making less than they did five years ago on average.

Lies, Damn Lies and Statistics: The average net worth of a US household is a whopping $692,100.  However, the median net worth of US households is only $97,300.

Coming on Strong: As interest rates and spending increase, the US government will soon spend more on interest than it will on the military.


In The Zone: Opportunity Zones, which were created in the 2017 tax reform bill – and are intended to direct capital to overlooked regions – are attracting a lot of real estate interest due to their lucrative tax incentives for long-term investors.  With an estimated $6 trillion in unrealized capital gains that are “sitting on the sidelines” and eligible for potential tax-free investment,  several institutional investors have already launched funds that will focus in the space.


And, Now For Some Good News: Polling is showing that Prop 10, the California initiative to expand rent control faces a big deficit.

Big Tree Fall Hard: Lumber is down 45% from its highs.

Scapegoat: The American dream of home ownership has largely been vilified as a primary cause of the Great Recession.  However, the fact still remains that building equity in a home is typically the best way for people who aren’t rich to accumulate wealth.


Opening Up: The number of so-called accredited investors or those allowed to buy into private companies is up 10-fold since the ’80s as the metrics to qualify accreditation were never indexed to inflation.  While this allows more people to invest in potentially lucrative opportunities, it also opens up a lot of unsophisticated investors to a ton of risk.

On the Ropes: Sears Chairman Eddie Lampert is pushing a restructure plan in order to allow the soon-to-be-out-of-business retailer to survive for another few days.  If the past is any indication, this plan will likely consist of Lampert getting ownership of the few remaining valuable assets while other stakeholders get a dying carcass.

Getting High: The marijuana industry is starting to look a bit like the internet in 1997 with big companies, wealthy families and amateurs alike are taking stakes in speculative companies, many of which have scant revenue or history.  The winners will make a fortune.  The losers will go to zero.

Chart of the Day

Over a 10-year period, all of the household growth in the United States occurred in the rental segment of the market (h/t Doug Jorritsma)



Gotta Hear Both Sides: A Penn State student is facing trial after charging $15,000 for porn on his ex-roommate’s credit card over three years.  This begs two important questions:

  1. Did the roommate actually not check his credit card bill for three years?
  2. Who the hell still pays for porn?

Evolution? A recent fashion show in Milan, Italy featured several models wearing a prosthetic 3rd breast because fashion.

A Fool and His Money: People are being scammed out of millions of dollars by fake celebrity social media accounts mainly because people are morons.

Put That In Your Pipe: Some teens smashed a stolen van into a Colorado Springs marijuana dispensary and stole a bunch of herb that turned out to be oregano.

Landmark Links – A candid look at the economy, real estate, and other things sometimes related.

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