A fun work story which hits a lot of geeky interests at once, and some brief notes about it: stripe.com/newsroom/stori…

Shueisha, one of largest publishers in the world, used Stripe to sell gallery-grade manga prints direct to consumers globally.
One of the most striking graphs I’ve ever seen is the international popularity and country of origin of various characters. The U.S. dominates the top 50 slots (Disney, Hollywood, etc) but Japan punches far above its weight, entirely due to the anime/manga/games industries.
These all started as mass market entertainment, but many manga fans have grown up over the years and now have disposable income, and so Shueisha thought to do a more high-art project to fill the market need.
There are people more qualified than me to discuss archival quality paper and printing techniques, but focusing on the bit I do understand: this upends the traditional distribution model, which is based on licensing agreements with globally distributed publishers.
“Well how hard can global e-commerce be in 2021?”

As it turns out, still surprisingly difficult! Presenting a payment experience that met customer expectations across many, many markets was tough, and left Shueisha with a second paper logistics problem: moving money around.
It’s interesting that there is no size of company at which this sort of thing ceases to be challenging. Receiving money in even the top markets worldwide for the largest companies worldwide causes endless headaches. (Oh the stories I can’t tell.)

Shueisha ended up using Stripe.
And in lieu of the traditional method of a back office full of salarymen tallying numbers in Excel and staying up far too late to make sure wires were made from countries in Europe, South America, and Southeast Asia, they automated most of the money movement.
I’ll observe that they also put provenance information about the prints onto a blockchain, so technically speaking the physical artifacts are also tied to NFTs.

They explained that the thought was provable scarcity and authenticity (in a world where knockoffs are common).
There’s also an interesting angle here of hobbies once classified as geeky moving mainstream and high-status by sheer economic force, which observers of the trajectory of e.g. Marvel over the past two decades can probably appreciate.
Is Spider-Man high-status in the same way that e.g. Othello is? I don’t have a rigorous answer, but I will observe that you can find both performed on Broadway.

Who knows, maybe you’ll see Dragonball Z there one day as well.

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More from @patio11

8 Oct
Got a “Happy 21st year anniversary” message from my first bank account, which a) I feel old, b) goodness am I a bit of a pack rat for bank accounts, c) you have to love the LTV versus CAC math that makes a bank happily open accounts for kids with $20 in expectation of this email.
In “could have come directly out of a strategy presentation” my mom called the university I was going to attend, asked them who ran the campus branch, and then drove me to their local branch to open an account so that I’d be able to deposit work study checks.
And so that’s how I chose which business card I started using ~7 years later and which currency desk to rip my eyes out on buying yen for dollars in those dark days pre-TransferWise.
Read 7 tweets
8 Oct
Kind of want to update my Tether post for the 2 year anniversary: kalzumeus.com/2019/10/28/tet…

The short version would have to be "The skeptics have been vindicated left and right but there's something like $60 billion more Tethers now."
I might or might not get around to it as I have a number of writing projects going through the pipeline now. (Which is good news! One will hopefully hit the Internets in the next week or two.)
Remember when this was a controversial assertion and the crypto community said "Nope nope this is a cash-and-carry business. We are believers in hard money here."

Now the line is "Oh pishposh we are grown-ups with prime brokerages. Capital efficiency, my good chap." Image
Read 8 tweets
8 Oct
Worth reading both for a lucid explanation of Tether and for a great mental model (“senior and junior claims”) to import from finance into your worldview. (It is also extremely extremely applicable to engineering compensation among other things.)
Employees have de facto a (relatively small) senior claim to cash in their employer’s bank account AND a (hopefully larger) junior claim on enterprise value, via equity.

That junior claim is junior claim among junior claims, due to the preferred/common structure, until success.
By law and custom, a company crashing will attempt to satisfy payroll first.

Which tends to be a lot less than employees were *counting on* but the feature of being paid what one *is owed* is a notable one in case of business failure!
Read 6 tweets
7 Oct
Who could possibly have seen that coming.
One great social ability for large media orgs which independent journalists don’t have: they can email you a pointed question and, if you don’t answer it, your non-answer will be treated as an answer by everyone that matters, and so you straight-up disclose unfavorable facts.
And so Bloomberg, arriving to the story (it has to be said!) several years late, called up the plausible Tether contras and asked something rhyming with “It’s been alleged that Tether loans out tethers to contras. Have you borrowed tether? Have you borrowed more than a billion?”
Read 6 tweets
7 Oct
I am going to be seriously irked if Tether collapses and @Bitfinexed is described as a troll and not as “independent researcher who scooped every media outlet worldwide for years.”
Anyhow it’s a great writeup which adds relatively little to what cognoscenti know about the situation, other than an on-the-record expression of doubt by one of their bankers (!).
And the other one is, prudently, hedging and distancing themselves.
Read 4 tweets
6 Oct
Individually: choose to do something where you can be Right Side Energy as much as possible. Which sometimes means choosing to bring Right Side Energy to whatever it is you happen to be doing.

Societally, make same possible for as many people as possible.
It’s painful how many institutions are designed not just to be oblivious to Right Side Energy but to either a) assume it is something that doesn’t exist in world or b) treat it as actively suspicious and have people whose literal jobs it is to stamp it out.
I’ll observe that I’ve been both left and right sides during my career and probably both within most single jobs I’ve had.
Read 5 tweets

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