The Stealth Regulatory Arbitrage Unicorn

A cynical theory of startups claims that they succeed by evading laws. Airbnb is just an attempt to get around zoning, Uber is just forging taxi medallions, Juul is just making a nicotine delivery mechanism for people who need to hide cigarettes, Facebook is the new cigarette, and so on. All of these theories are very satisfying to people who are personally offended when somebody else gets rich, but they’re also usually untrue.

Airbnb was clearly inspired by couchsurfing, not by Hyatt. Uber’s management was shocked at how brazen Lyft’s ride-sharing was. Juul’s…