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Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

Charles Duhigg has a wonderful profile of billionaire financier Chamath Palihapitiya in the New Yorker. His piece includes 31 instances of the word "story" or its cognates ("stories," "storytellers").

Why it matters: As financial markets have matured, the importance of old-fashioned storytelling has generally waned. The stock market is no longer governed by brokers phoning up clients and sweet-talking them into a certain company; instead it has increasingly rewarded lightning speed and brute computational power.

  • The current stock-market frenzy, however, has seen a significant spike in stocks that trade on the strength of their narrative — sometimes to the point at which the story-based valuation diverges wildly from anything you might learn at finance school.

How it works: "Having a great story, and knowing how to tell it, can be a quick way to get rich," writes Duhigg.

  • "When it seems that some improbable group has become fantastically rich overnight," he continues, "a few financial storytellers often rise to prominence: people you’ve never heard of who fill the media with sensational tales of wealth earned in bold, exciting ways."
  • Chamath is one such storyteller — one of the very best, a native speaker of both Twitter and CNBC.

Context: Chamath, alongside many of his followers, has lost a lot of money this year as his SPACs have imploded and the price of his beloved bitcoin has started to fall. But he's still happy to spin his own genius in a misleading and innumerate letter to his investors.

The big picture: In a sense, Chamath and Elon — the first-name-only lords of the Redditverse — are unnecessary. Many of today's most compelling investment stories are distributed across social media in a way that is largely authorless.

  • Satoshi hasn't published anything in years, but his crypto story still resonates; AMC stock might not have its own Roaring Kitty, but it's still headed to the moon, cheered on by TikTokers.

Go deeper

Dan Primack, author of Pro Rata
45 mins ago - Economy & Business

The mental health deal boom

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

The positive social media response to Simone Biles withdrawing from Olympic competition highlights how the artificial line between health care and mental health care is finally beginning to dissolve. And startup investors have taken notice.

By the numbers: Venture capital investments in mental health startups rose 72.6% between Q1 2020 and Q1 2021, per CB Insights.

U.S. economy grew at a 6.5% rate last quarter, missing expectations

Contractors work on a home under construction. (Photo: Micah Green/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

The U.S. economy grew at an annualized 6.5% rate last quarter, the government said Thursday — slower than the 8.4% economists expected.

Why it matters: It came as the economy made strides toward further reopening, vaccinations rolled out and government stimulus bolstered spending. But supply crunches held the pace of growth back.

1 hour ago - Sports

U.S. gymnast Suni Lee wins Olympic gold in individual all-around

Suni Lee Photo: Jamie Squire/Getty Images

U.S. gymnast Sunisa "Suni" Lee won Olympic gold on Thursday in the individual all-around event.

The big picture: Simone Biles, who withdrew from the event to focus on her mental health, cheered from the stands with the rest of the women's gymnastics team as they watched Lee and teammate Jade Carey compete. Brazil's Rebeca Andrade won the silver and Russian Angelina Melnikova took the bronze.