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🏦 SWIFT is kinda a big deal

The Hustle

Yesterday we came across a story about an artist blowing up a Lamborghini to sell 999 videos of individual pieces of shrapnel as NFTs. And there you were thinking NFTs would never have a useful purpose…

In today’s email:

  • SWIFT: The global payments network and powerful political tool.
  • Chart: Tech jobs are leaving the West Coast.
  • Morgan’s Musings: The 3 most important skills in investing.
  • Around the web: A VC glossary, very old pants, and more cool internet finds.

🎧 On the go? Listen to today’s 10-minute podcast to dive deeper on SWIFT, the theme park boom, TikTok’s lengthy videos, Nike’s new playbook, and more.

The Big Idea
SWIFT gif

What the heck is SWIFT?

The unfortunate fate of financial acronyms is that for most people, their meaning goes in one ear and out the other (shoutout to EBITDA, SPAC, ETF, and countless others).

Such is the case with SWIFT, which stands for Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication (say that 5 times fast).

With Russia facing SWIFT sanctions, we did a little digging to go beyond the acronym and figure out why SWIFT matters, and what the sanctions actually mean.

So, what does SWIFT do?

The primary function of SWIFT is to serve as a messaging system that provides transaction instructions for international transfers among its members (AKA banks).

Before SWIFT, when transferring funds internationally, banks needed to describe transactions manually — using sentences — which opened the door to human error and long processing times.

SWIFT’s key innovation is the use of codes, which apply to both its members and transactions:

  • Each member institution gets a code, which identifies its country, city, and the institution
  • Each transaction type gets a code specifying what’s happening (e.g., customer payment, bank transfers, etc.)

Its use of codes, along with the security of its platform, have made SWIFT the dominant network for global transaction communications.

How big is SWIFT?

In short, very. Per BBC, the SWIFT network:

  • Is used by 11k banks across 200+ countries
  • Powers 40m+ messages per day that influence trillions of dollars in transactions

This scale poses a problem for Russia. Cutting off its banks from SWIFT means banks will have to deal with each other directly, adding delays and costs to the country’s global transactions.

This isn’t the 1st time sanctions have been imposed

In 2012, as part of sanctions due to its nuclear weapons program, Iran was booted from SWIFT. The total sanctions resulted in a 50% drop in oil revenue and a 30% decrease in foreign trade.

The news of sanctions has already caused a sharp drop for the ruble, Russia’s local currency, and is figured to have wider implications down the line.

For more: Check out this running Twitter thread from The Atlantic’s Derek Thompson, who is tracking the economic fallout from Russia’s sanctions.

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SNIPPETS

Malls are becoming more experiential, offering entertainment like indoor skydiving, pickleball, and craft beer bars. #ecommerce-retail

Green Germany: Germany’s goal is to achieve ~100% clean energy by 2035, proposing annual capacity additions of both wind and solar power. #clean-energy

Nurse Alexa: Amazon and Teledoc have partnered to allow patients to seek nonemergency medical appointments via Alexa. #emerging-tech

Meta says it found Russian attempts to spread misinformation and to hack profiles of Ukrainian journalists and military officials on Facebook and Instagram. #privacy

Crypto exchange Binance refused to block Russian accounts despite requests from Ukrainian vice prime minister Mykhailo Fedorov, saying it won’t “unilaterally freeze millions of innocent users’ accounts.” #fintech-crypto

Epic TikToks: Tiktokers can now make videos up to 10 minutes long! Previously, the platform introduced 3-minute videos. #big-tech

Chart
tech jobs

Visual: Selina Lee

The West Coast looks east for hiring

Working in tech outside of Silicon Valley is a trend that started pre-covid, but accelerated rapidly with it.

At the start of 2019, 30% of the jobs for West Coast tech companies were listed outside of the region. That’s now 43%.

You could say the big winners here are states that attracted lots of this talent like Texas and Virginia, but then again, rent in Austin was up ~25% last year.

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Opinion
stocks

Morgan Housel’s 3 most important investing skills

The stock market’s been wild lately — plenty of high-profile tech stocks are down 50% or more in the last year.

It hurts.

And it’s a good time to focus on the few skills that truly matter over your lifetime as an investor.

3 stick out in my mind:

  1. Low susceptibility to FOMO (fear of missing out): The urge to buy an investment because its price went up means you probably don’t know why the price has gone up. And if you don’t know why the price has gone up, you’re more likely to bail when it falls — which can be the worst possible time to sell. Quash the need to own what’s going up the most, and you reduce the urge to abandon whatever eventually goes down.
  2. Becoming comfortable being miserable: And misery can come in many forms. Losing money can be miserable. So is the honest admission that your investment success may not have come entirely from skill. The trick is not assuming you can avoid being miserable, but becoming comfortable with and accepting the feeling when it arises.
  3. Defining and understanding what game you’re playing: Many investing debates don’t reflect genuine disagreement; they reflect investors playing different games talking over each other. Nobody should pretend a 17-year-old day trader is playing the same game as a 97-year-old widow on a fixed income. Understanding your game, without being swayed by people playing different games, is an investing power.
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TRENDS

How Sahil Bloom grew a 500k Twitter following

The business Twittersphere is a… particular kind of ballgame.

But of course, the managing partner of SRB Ventures quickly established himself as a leading voice, proliferating to half-a-million followers in just 1.5 years.

Trends distilled 100+ of his top tweets to deliver the savviest insights.

Bloom’s top 3 Twitter growth hacks

  • Run a few types hard: Education and storytelling threads win, time and time again. Try the “explain-like-I’m-5” Feynman technique.
  • Use proven templates: Like the classic 101 rundown or “Big Bold Story” model. We specify 4 — along with high-performing examples.
  • Visionary keys to success: As in proper value, crisp consistency, and building a synergistic content ecosystem.

We deliver niche market trends and round up community highlights weekly.

For more on how to boom like Bloom…

Try Trends for $1 →
AROUND THE WEB

🏞️ On this day: In 1872, President Ulysses S. Grant signed a bill establishing Yellowstone as the 1st national park.

👖 That’s interesting: Researchers were impressed with a pair of fashionable pants, 3k+ years old and found on a mummified body near Turfan, China.

🤓 Useful: What’s burn rate? What’s CAC? What’s non-participating preferred stock? You’ll find out in this glossary of 40 key terms for your VC meetings.

👀 How to: This article examines what makes writing more readable, plus offers examples of how to translate text for maximum accessibility.

🎸 Cure boredom: Here Before a Million is a streaming site for music videos that have less than 1m views on YouTube.

Tweet of the Day
SWIFT tweet

The power of SWIFT in action. (Source: Twitter)

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Psst

How'd Bezos build a billion dollar empire?

In 1994, Jeff Bezos discovered a shocking stat: Internet usage grew 2,300% per year.

Data shows where markets are headed.

And that’s why we built Trends — to show you up-and-coming market opportunities about to explode. Interested?

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