CapEx, Attention, Intention, Progressive Ohio, Pickleball, Ponzi, ENIAC — things I learned this week


A meandering tour through capital expenditures.  First the semiconductor industry, where it is now estimated to cost almost $20B to create a state-of-the-art fab.  Fab is now primarily done in SK and Taiwan, which is geopolitically risky for the US.  And our politicians mutter about on-shoring and good manufacturing jobs — losing fab capability to offshore competitors seems like a horrible outcome both economically and geopolitically. Intel is facing this decision with a new CEO, I suspect the US government will find a way to help Intel keep fab capacity in the US.

Meanwhile, Amazon/Google/Microsoft spent $73.5B in CapEx in 2020.  Staggering numbers, particularly Amazon alone.  One has to be really brave to implement any on-prem computing in this market.  It is interesting that Google is falling off a little.

The auto industry knows they need to transform into software/chips/battery companies but they are facing a daunting task as CapEx and R&D from the tech world races past automotive CapEx and R&D.  

As software (and silicon) eats the world, the tech players have a distinct advantage.  I’m long Intel, Amazon, Microsoft, Apple, NVidia, Tesla.

Attention and Intentionality

The attention economy is damaging us as producers and consumers.  We squander our time and attention across 1000s of sources, and we squander our productive energy seeking attention. It is the challenge of our time to find a way to fight through this. 

Hey John, why are you posting this, aren’t you guilty of fighting for attention like everyone else?  Hmm, you have a point.  To be clear, I mostly write these articles for myself — I find that I don’t really learn something unless I take the time to reflect and write about it.  But I could just as well stick this in a diary and not share it with the world. Hmm.

Bezos on high standards — powerful and simple.  And partly explains to me why I bother to publish these thoughts publicly.  If I am writing just for myself, I can be sloppy and imprecise.  Knowing that I am going to share these publicly forces me to be more thoughtful, more precise, more attentive, and I get some feedback on the quality of my thinking.

Charlie Kindel on how to be a change agent — this is a nice framework, I have often failed to segment and prioritize the stakeholders and have wasted time and energy on the opposed.  I have not been intentional enough about how to create change. Thank you Charlie.

The entire point of these postings may be — forcing myself to be more intentional about what I think on and what I learn.

Political Life

Ohio Governor DeWine wants $50M to market Ohio as a great progressive place to live.  And apparently the marketing spend is already happening. As many observers point out, this is not really a marketing problem.  If DeWine wants Ohio to be seen as a progressive destination for progressive industries and progressive people, DeWine and the Ohio government actually have to implement progressive policies — where does the state stand on healthcare access, on education funding, on minimum wage and income equality, on equal rights and voting rights?  And Ohio has to elect progressive leaders — Jim Jordan is the most visible political face in the state.  I have great affection for Ohio, and I know there are progressive people and progressive urban areas in the state, but overall the state has work to do.


Pickleball is the fastest growing sport in America. Don’t forget ENIAC day is coming up. There is a website dedicated to reporting on Ponzi scheme activities — criminality and gullibility are evergreen.