When Instagram Changed Its Terms of Service

When Facebook bought Instagram in 2012 for $715 million, it got its hands on the four hundred million user base that was severely under-monetized. So what’s the first thing that Facebook decided to do? Why, of course, change the rules so that the user base would enjoy diminished rights and the Facebook-controlled Instagram could take greater commercial advantage of the activities that occur on the image-sharing site that it hosts.

To achieve this, Facebook’s law firms, one of which was rumored to be Charlie Munger’s firm of Munger, Tolles, and Olson, announced that it was changing its terms of service in December 2012 and if you didn’t like it, you had until January 19, 2013 to object by deactivating your account.

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Average 401(k) Balance by Age: The Full Data Set

It took me awhile, but I finally compiled a data set that tracks the average 401(k) by age for American workers from age 25 through 67. It was difficult to get a full apples-to-apples comparison because some studies use premises like “assuming two years of employment with a job before calculating” and also the data sources rely on averages rather than medians which has the affect of an upward skew because people with millions of dollars in a 401(k) raise the numbers of what is “typical.”

My view is that it looks like a good chunk of Americans waste the opportunity in their late 30s to sock aside a meaningful amount for retirement. By age 35, the average American has a little over $32,000 in a 401(k). But over the next four years, the amount only goes up to $39,000. Without factoring in any capital appreciation, that suggests a monthly savings rate in the realm of $140-$150. Because we don’t know the investment gains for the typical investor between those ages, we can at least establish that this is the upper boundary.

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Alexander Hamilton’s One Share in the Bank of New York Stock

Many people know that Alexander Hamilton was the founder of the Bank of New York in 1784. A topic of less regular discussion is the fact that neither Hamilton nor his estate benefitted substantially from his magnificent creation as Hamilton only held one share in his name.

Despite working tirelessly to launch the Bank of New York, which exists today as BNY Mellon, Alexander Hamilton did not furnish or demand any capital in the bank and did not gain riches from it.

How did this come to be?

In 1783, New York attorney Robert Livingston—who was one of the five Founding Fathers that drafted the Declaration of Independence alongside John Adams, Roger Sherman, Thomas Jefferson, and Benjamin Franklin—wanted to create a “land bank.”

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Gillette Razor Stock: The Rise and Fall

Of the few crowned jewels in the Procter & Gamble crown, Gillette razors may very well occupy a spot at the top of the list, though I suspect a strong argument can be made that Tide detergent and its related products such as the pods. Gillette did not enter the Procter & Gamble portfolio until the 2006 acquisition, making high-profile investors like Warren Buffett billions of dollars after P&G paid a substantial premium to gain control over the razor market.

The interesting thing about Gillette is that it can largely credit its success to an immense operating budget and the acquisition of patents and competitors over the years.

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State Farm’s Long-Term Life Insurance Strategy

I have long been intrigued by business institutions that have found ways to survive for not only decades but centuries. How come York Water was able to make dividend payments during the Battle of Gettysburg and find a way to still pay shareholder dividends all the way into 2017? How come the little Wall Street bank whose charter was written by Alexander Hamilton manages to collect exorbitant fees stewarding over ADRs under its current name BNY Mellon? My most recent case study involved the study of how State Farm became a major player in the life insurance industry.

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