“ ... It was hard to see how that value made sense.” (Said Dr Michelle Deaker who, if anyone might see sense she might, being founder of one of Australia’s leading venture capital firms, OneVentures, as reported in today’s Business Australian “Start-up layoffs just the beginning for sector”.) Dr Deaker was referring to the buy-now pay-later sector comprised of start-ups with names that sound like 1960s family board games: Sezzle, SplitIt, Humm and Zip being the four mentioned in the story. The story quotes Zip as having lost an astounding 94% of its market ‘value’ in twelve months. Of course those exact words were uttered in a past downturn: no, not the Great Depression, the 1970s recession or even the '87 stock market crash. It was the dot.com crash of a mere two decades ago. We could say people have short memories but mass hysteria has always trumped common sense. *Acronym time!
When Ronnie Di Stasio opened Cafe Di Stasio decades ago he jettisoned the twee travel-postered fake Italianity of some 'family style' restaurants and introduced a kind of low-key, high-class style based around a grown-up architectural sensibility and an interior design devoid of fads. Closed since January due to industry-wide staff shortages, the Herald Sun reports today that it is hoped to reopen soon. Meanwhile, Di Stasio's other outlet, Di Stasio Citta, near bureaucrat-central in Spring Street, lost most of its customers due to the work-from-home obsession that has, of course, outlasted the Covid panic. During that time, Di Stasio Citta also suffered heavy-handed 'trading restriction' compliance raids. "I'm not sure what six heavily armed police all entering as a raid can achieve," Di Stasio said at the time. "Terrorists hiding in the spaghetti al dente?"
These past few weeks from mid-May, which makes it a full month, seem to have been the most sustained stretch of poor weather I can remember. Incessant rain, low temperatures, and even a spring-like wind during the week that drove rain before it like bullets; and no sunshine beyond a few minutes' worth here and there - which had the effect of merely teasing you before disappearing again behind the dreary, cold, grey cloud-mass that is a constant canopy. Or was it an illusion? Schooldays had plenty of cold and wet weather. I remember the gurgling drainpipes and drumming rain drowning out a teacher's voice; wind-fanned rivulets of rain flooding the schoolyard; and running my fingers along the icy tops of front fences and walls, arriving at school almost frostbitten. We didn't worry then. We didn't have to think about roof leaks and flooded gardens and getting clothes dry. But no: it wasn't an illusion. I heard on the radio that this has been the coldest start to a Mel
The post office is one of those hybrid ones located in the local newsagency, a pleasant five minute walk from my front door on a cold winter day, with the sun slanting in from the north and clouds roaming across from the southwest. I try to pay most of the bills there because direct debit is the world of consumer finance's worst invention, as you cannot keep track of your balance. While waiting, I browse the wall of magazines; there has always been an excellent selection of titles across music, currents affairs and old cars, three vastly different subject areas in which I have an interest. I usually walk out with a Restored Cars or a Spectator or a Vintage Rock or even a Rolls-Royce and Bentley Driver . Until last week. I walked across the square and into the shop to pay a ridiculously high power bill. The entire east wall, instead of being covered in eye-catching magazine covers, was a shop-long panorama of slightly dusty white desolate emptiness. 'No-one buys them any mor