October 10, 2023

Lego outperforms venture funds – FreightWaves


Welcome to the WHAT THE TRUCK?!? Newsletter presented by AIT. In this issue, Lego as an investment; Tesla Semi back in black; Prime Day’s real value; and more.



Brick by brick If you’ve been trying to build wealth through stocks and venture funds during the pandemic, you’ve been doing it all wrong. Science.io CEO Will Mandis did the math and broke down the return on Lego sets vs venture capital funds. What he found was that, “Top decile sets will return 30%+ constantly over a decade.”


Killer sets There are a lot of Lego sets out there; how do you know which ones to bet on? According to a study by Higher School of Economics, “The market prices of retired LEGO sets, when sold on secondary marketplaces, grew by at least 11% annually.” Like all collectibles a number of factors play into buyer demand including nostalgia, scarcity, and if the set is retired or not.

Dooner and sons building the Lego Death Star during the early days of COVID

Take a look at the Lego Death Star, for example. It was in print from 2016 to 2020 and retailed for $499. According to Brick Economy, “The current value for a new and sealed The Death Star is estimated around $1,080 today with current average yearly gain of about 19% but will level off in the next year closer to a 10% annual growth.”

Most valuable But which sets have provided the best return? According to data from BrickEconomy, it’s a 174-piece set released in 2011 that depicts a Lego molding plant in Mexico. Certainly not as cool as a first-edition Charizard but look at the 38.4% return!

If you were lucky enough to get one of the 350 2013 Comic-Con exclusive Spider-Man minifigs, you’d now be sitting on $15,000.

Like with the Death Star, most Star Wars sets grow significantly in value when retired, but none so much as the 2003 Cloud City set, which is now worth $8,700. 

Maybe it’s time to stop betting on spot freight and start hoarding Lego sets.

Back in black


Tesla Semi Black Edition — While there may only be about 70 Tesla Semis on the road, the black edition is by far the sharpest member of the pack. This matte black beast looks like it’s waiting for KITT to pop out of the trailer. 

With all of the hype, government funding, curiosity and interest, why have only 70 been built so far? According to Electrik, Giga Nevada only has capacity to produce five Semis a week. But, with Giga Nevada expanding and Tesla building its own use cases for these trucks, that should start to accelerate. Right now, aside from pulling loads for Pepsi, Tesla is using them to move battery packs between its Giga Nevada and Fremont plants.

Oh, and Jay Leno drove one recently. You can watch that here.

Prime Day’s real value to Amazon?

Is Amazon’s main biz advertising? — ViaHart CEO Molson Hart recently posted about how Prime Day impacts e-tailers like himself. He says the biggest issue with October Prime Day is that it fundamentally alters consumer buying behavior around the event. His sales stalled before and after the retail “holiday.”

LAX ECommerce reports that, “July prime day, the majority of what I ordered missed the fulfillment promise by over a week.  Some items never arrived and were auto-refunded.  That combined with mostly fake deals (40% off!!! except it’s the same price it’s been for the past year) makes prime day very wack.”

If the seller and user experience on October Prime Day isn’t that great, why does Amazon keep it? After all, the original October Prime Day was in response to the pandemic postponing it in July 2020. Ever since, the company has kept the tradition while also carrying out Prime Day in July. 

Retail Dive reports, “The average order size during the Prime Early Access sale in October was $46.68, down nearly 23% from Prime Day in July.”


$70.8 billion by 2027 — Although sellers may hate it, they’re going to have to get used to it because advertising is a massive growth category for Amazon. According to Statista, “In 2022, Amazon reported 37.74 billion U.S. dollars revenue generated through advertising sales. A year earlier, the figure was roughly seven billion lower.”

Estes hack update


Good news — It’s been a long week for LTL shippers and carriers in Estes’ network as a cyberattack took down its system. However, users are reporting that most systems have now been restored, including phones, electronic data interchanges, and chat. Let’s just say a small prayer for all impacted as they try to unwind this and get your freight where it needs to go.


Bad news — While Estes may be restoring its systems, the inevitability of another supply chain hack is unavoidable. In fact, look at that chart above. As we become more tech-enabled, these opportunities have only grown. That doesn’t mean abandon tech; that means that supply chain firms have to start taking IT and cybersecurity much more seriously.

WTT Wednesday

Supply chain’s new AI assistant; Andrew Silver’s next move; how mail trucking works On Wednesday’s episode of WHAT THE TRUCK?!?, Duke AI’s Marcus Cooksey joins the show to talk about their new fully automated back office assistant. It’s Siri for your supply chain and promises to automate document management, audit invoices and detect errors. 

Andrew Silver built a FreightTech giant with Molo Solutions. Now that he has exited the company, he’s on to his next venture — one that hits close to home for me: podcasting. We’ll dive deep on his career journey and we’ll find out what The Freight Pod is all about.

FreightWaves’ Justin Martin and Understand LTL’s Curtis Garrett update us on the Estes hack; tells us how truckers move the mail; share astonishing trash cleanup solutions; show pretrip inspection falls; talk about smuggling; and more.

Plus, news, weirdness and much more.

Catch new shows live at noon ET Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays on FreightWaves LinkedIn, Facebook or YouTube or on demand by looking up WHAT THE TRUCK?!? on your favorite podcast player.

Now on demand

TQL verdict fallout, Mack on strike and bad trucking deals

Uber Freight’s autonomous loads; truckload volumes plunge; FreightTech’s new API

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Don’t be a stranger,



The second annual F3: Future of Freight Festival will be held in Chattanooga, “The Scenic City,” this November. F3 combines innovation and entertainment — featuring live demos, industry experts discussing freight market trends for 2024, afternoon networking events, and Grammy Award-winning musicians performing in the evenings amidst the cool Appalachian fall weather.

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