What I Learnt In 2019

A common theme in history is that progress happens too slowly to notice while setbacks happen too quickly to overlook. This is exactly what 2019 feels like. It was a year categorised by far too many negative articles and not enough good ones. So let’s start of this year on a good note by looking at feel good articles from the previous year. And also a few other articles I found interesting during 2019.


Great Things Happen All The Time

A collection of 99 feel good stories from 2019. The world is not as bad a place as the news makes it seems. The world keeps improving each and every day and life gets better.




Adjusted for inflation, median personal income has increased from $22,682 in 1981 to $33,706 in 2018. On an annual basis that growth is barely noticeable. But in most of our lifetimes the median worker has become almost 50% richer.



Technology and Deflation

In 1981 IBM sold its 5150 PC for $1,556, or $4,402 adjusted for inflation. It was effectively useless. Today the same amount of money can buy a Chromebook for every student in an average middle-school class.



AgriProtein is a British company that operates two fly farms in South Africa. Each farm contains 8.4 billion flies, which consume 276 tonnes of food waste and lay 340 million eggs each day. Those eggs (maggots) are dehydrated, flattened and used as animal feed. The company is worth $200m, and they’re planning to open 100 more factories around the world by 2024.


5 Keys To Unhappiness 

‘ Normally when you feel unhappy, you blame your mood on whatever your environment is serving up to you. It’s easy to blame your environment because you can interpret everything as bad news or potentially bad news. Just add pessimism or cynicism to any observation and you can manufacture bad news out of thin air…I’m here to tell you that the primary culprit in your bad moods is a deficit in one of the big five: flexible schedule, imagination, sleep, diet and exercise’



Any company that creates more than $10 billion in shareholder value does one of two things:extend time(more time, saving time) or enhance time.



Motorway Designs

Since the 1960s, British motorways have been deliberately designed by computer as series of long curves, rather than straight lines. This is done for both safety (less hypnotic) and aesthetic (“sculpture on an exciting, grand scale”) reasons.

On Roads


10,000 steps a day

The goal of walking 10,000 steps per day may have originated when a Japanese pedometer manufacturer noticed that the 万 symbol (which means 10,000) looks a little like someone walking. The actual health merits of that number ‘have never been validated by research.’




In 2017 Google and Facebook lost $100 million between them to one scammer who sent them fake invoices.



Change In Song Length

Spotify pays by the song. Two three minute songs are twice as profitable as one six minute song. So songs are getting shorter.



The Instagram Generation

Worldwide, growth in the fragrance industry is lagging behind cosmetics and skincare products. Why? ‘You can’t smell a selfie’.

Washington Post


The Downsides Of Personalisation

A man who bought the personalised number plate NULL has received over $12,000 of parking fines, because the system records ‘NULL’ when no numberplate has been recorded.



The Business Of Sport

In 2012, only one sports team (Manchester United) was worth more than $2bn. Today, there are 52 sports teams worth more than $2bn.




Flamin’ Hot Cheetos were invented by a cleaner at a Frito-Lay factory. He’s now VP of multicultural sales for PepsiCo America.



Ever Wondered Why

Those weirdly expensive books on Amazon could be part of a money laundering scheme.



West End Shows

A typical West End Show needs to charge £27.92 per ticket to break even. So if you buy a discounted £15 ticket, you’re being paid almost £13 to sit through the show

The Stage



Researchers found that Starbucks customers in northern China are more likely to move chairs out of their way, while customers in southern China will move themselves around the chairs. The researchers attribute this to ancestral food production. In the north, the primary crop is wheat, which is grown by individual farmers. In the south, farmers have to collaborate to grow rice. So, they believe, people in the south are less individualistic.



Focus On Saving Or Investing?

To answer this, I would ask you to consider the following:

Which is Greater?
Your Total Assets * Your Expected Annual Return
Your Expected Annual Savings

If Total Assets * Expected Annual Return > Expected Savings this means your investments are earning you more than you are saving, so you should focus on your investments. However, if you can feasible save more than your assets can earn you in a year, focus on saving.



People Don’t Buy Products. They Buy Better Versions Of Themselves.

“People don’t buy products because of what those products do, they buy products because of what they imagine they can do   with them.



In a Big Craze, Be the Arms Dealer

Whenever there is a market fad/phenomena with low or no barriers and a flood of entrants—the best strategy is often: Be the arms dealer. The lowest profile players in high-profile, low-barrier industries are almost always the most profitable. Don’t sell wine, sell barrels. Don’t make movies, create animation software. Don’t own restaurants, build the restaurant supply company.

Twitter – Brent Beshore


Why Coca Cola Is Different

Here’s Warren Buffett: “Cola has no taste memory. You can drink one at 9am, 11am, 5pm. You can’t do that with cream soda, root beer, orange, grape. You get sick of them after a while. The average person drinks 64 ounces of liquid per day, and you can have all 64 ounces of that be Coke.”




A 90s study showed that women preferred the scents of men whose immune systems were most different from their own immune-system genes. Evolutionarily this makes sense as, children should be healthier if their parents’ genes vary, protecting them from more pathogens.



The Continental Axis Hypothesis

“One of the most striking hypotheses in Jared Diamond’s Guns, Germs, and Steel was that technology diffused more easily along lines of latitude than along lines of longitude because climate changed more rapidly along lines of longitude making it more difficult for both humans and technologies to adapt.

Thus, a long East-West axis, such as that found in Eurasia, meant a bigger “market” for technology and thus greater development.”



Is your bank robbing you?

After that one disclosure from only one bank/brokerage firm, approximately $100 billion was moved from a 2% money market into a 0.3% bank sweep in one year. This move just about doubled the amount of customer deposits in their lower yielding sweep account. So, that will be close to $3.4 billion in earned interest taken straight from customers’ pockets in only one year



Climate Change and Automation Leading To Socialism

Two narratives, “The world is ending soon due to climate change” and “Robots are going to eat all the jobs” will usher in socialism on completely false, overblown, and exploited pretenses.

This alarmism isn’t from solutions-builders, it’s being elevated by bureaucrats and politicians for votes and fundraising. Perfect example is how Green New Deal disallows market innovation for climate — only gov’t “solutions”

Knowledge Is Power

Those who were most opposed to genetically modified foods believed they were the most knowledgeable about this issue, yet scored the lowest on actual tests of scientific knowledge.
In other words, those with the least understanding of science had the most science-opposed views, but thought they knew the most.




Average miles per gallon among all vehicles has increased from 14.9 in 1981 to 22.3 in 2017. That alone cuts effective gasoline prices by a third.



Money and Happiness 

CLAY COCKRELL has an unusual job. He describes himself as a psychotherapist treating the “1% of the 1%” in New York City. From this vantage point, Cockrell has gained unique insights into the lives of the extremely wealthy. What conclusions does he draw about money and happiness? “If you have an enemy,” Cockrell says, “go buy them a lottery ticket because, on the off-chance that they win, their life is going to be really messed up.”

1. Money does indeed buy happiness—but to a limited extent. If you earn $40,000, you’ll definitely feel happier if you get a raise. But those benefits top out more quickly than you might expect—at around $75,000. People who earn $500,000 are indeed happier than those who earn $50,000, but not 10 times happier. The same applies to retirees: Those with $1 million in the bank are certainly happier than those with $100,000, but the happiness benefits aren’t proportional to the sum involved

Humble dollar


Downsides Of Wealth

Being rich does come with some downsides, though. The first thing you are thinking reading that, is, “cry me a river”. That is one of the downsides. You are not allowed to complain about anything, ever. Since most people imagine being rich as nirvana, you are no longer allowed to have any human needs or frustrations in the public eye. Yet, you are still a human being, but most people don’t treat you like one.