Whine and Dime #0015

Whine

Welcome to 2016. And welcome to ridiculous mobile phone pricing. Virgin Mobile refuses to give me an additional pay-monthly SIM, even though the amount I have paid topping up the prepaid SIM over the last three months is approximately 3 to 4 times the pay-monthly tariff. Their line that it is because of my 'credit rating' is clearly nonsense, as they won't let me pay in advance, and easily debunked because they will allow for my wife to get her own pay-monthly SIM on a separate account, but not for me to have two on the one account. It's obviously designed as a cynical way to extract higher rates. What a nasty little scam. Any mobile carriers out there want a new customer? Drop me a line.

Shine

What about this English weather, eh? The warmest December on record was also one of the wettest.

Industry News

Paul Graham started the new year with a pair of posts on Y Combinator that address the issue of economic inequality: 'Economic Inequality' and 'The Refragmentation' are both well worth a read. There have also been a number of rebuttals that are equally worth reading, some with more venom than others. For example: Paul Graham is Still Asking to be Eaten. The bottom line here: people are talking constructively about inequality, and that is a good start.

Apple and China UnionPay will bring Apple Pay to China.

There was a bunch of cryptocurrency activity over the break, including:

London is still buzzing with fintech activity. For example, "in last five years, out of $9.8 billion of investments in FinTech across the European region, 55% are invested in UK FinTech."

Insurance is a terrible investment, but one that the majority of people are forced into for cash-flow reasons. You only have to look at what large corporations do with insurance: they mostly underwrite themselves. So, is 'microinsurance' the answer to the insurance industry? Notwithstanding that "the insurance industry" is not a question, the changes afoot in banking and finance could mean that insurance is ripe for disruption, too.

In a move that foreshadows a move towards financial services by one of techs Big 4, Amazon is to start offering loans to customers with pay monthly option.

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