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Money

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I Read It So You Don’t Have To

A recent book explains how humans think about wealth, economics, and success

The Psychology of Money: Timeless Lessons on Wealth, Greed, and Happiness published in September 2020.

Morgan Housel is a former financial columnist for the Wall Street Journal. He is now a partner at Collaborative Fund, an early-stage venture capital firm.

Unlike in the fields of medicine or engineering, expertise in finance requires an understanding of human psychology. Investors and consumers behave with flawed attitudes such as overconfidence, impatience, and anchoring bias. These irrational patterns have tangible effects on global markets and, likely, on your own personal finances.

Housel explores these topics with a thoughtful mix of anecdotes, research, and advice…


The technology is fine, but its speculative bias reveals something sad about our relationship with money

Photo: Bermix Studio/Unsplash

As those of us who were around will remember, Bitcoin emerged out of the same spirit as Occupy Wall Street. Those of us holding seminars about economic power in Zuccotti Park were thrilled by the possibility of a decentralized currency that could be authenticated in a peer-to-peer fashion instead of by some big bank. Bitcoin would break the monopoly of the Federal Reserve. And the love affair went both ways. Early Bitcoin enthusiasts made crypto donations to Occupy while many Occupiers lauded Bitcoin as an alternative to bank-issued central currency.

Bitcoin was thought to have two main advantages over traditional…


Corporate consolidation is squeezing our economy

Tim Mossholder / Unsplash

Back in 2005, comedian George Carlin gave a ruthlessly cynical take on big business in America. To an audience of mostly regular workers, he said:

You have owners. They own you. They own everything. They got you by the balls.

He added that politicians exist to give you the illusion of choice while the wealthy capitalists pull the strings. It’s a pithy expression perhaps, but the sentiment resonated with many Americans for a reason.

Since the wind-down of the Cold War, capitalism has been heralded by the Western political class as the golden ideology. …


No Mercy No Malice

A herd of unicorns is at the stable door, looking to trample Wells Fargo and Chase.

My north star(s) for philosophy, management, and politics are Star Wars, The Sopranos, and Game of Thrones, respectively. The Iron Bank (GoT) is a metaphor for today’s financial institutions, if present-day banks didn’t need bailouts or to invent fake accounts to juice compensation. Regardless, it was well known throughout Braavos that The Iron Bank will have its due. If you failed to repay, they’d fund your enemies. So today’s Iron Bankers are the venture capitalists funding (any) incumbents’ enemies. If this makes VCs sound interesting/cool, don’t trust your instincts.

Lately, I’ve spent a decent amount of time on the phone…


Meet the executives who burn millions daily and enrich themselves while creating no real value

The Daily Benjamin Burn™ (DBB) is how much money an executive lit on fire per day during their tenure.

I’ve lost a lot of other people’s money. The most stressful times in my life have been when people believed in me and invested tens (if not hundreds) of millions in my company or idea, only to see their capital go up in smoke. I’ve also made a lot of people a lot of money — but only in America would someone with my (lack of) pedigree be given this many swings at the plate.

To be a truly great investor or operator or CEO, you need to be a bit of a sociopath: You have to be able to…


The new world of ‘shit coins’ is fertile ground for pump-and-dump schemes

Pierre Borthiry for Unsplash

Last Wednesday was a rough day for cryptocurrency investors. Cryptocurrencies fell across the board, losing more than $500 billion in value at one point, with Bitcoin plummeting more than 20%. And while the market stabilized near the end of the day and bounced back some over the next couple of days, Bitcoin is still down almost 35% over the past two weeks, with other cryptocurrencies tumbling even more. …


Number Crunch

Some of these interns sure look a lot like employees

Number Crunch logo next to a giant dollar sign and below the text “43%: Share of internships at for-profit companies that are unpaid Source: Washington Post”

43%: That’s the share of internships offered by for-profit companies in the United States that are unpaid, according data from the National Association of Colleges and Employers, per the Washington Post.

While unpaid internships have long been a subject of contention, Jane Slater, a reporter at the NFL Network, kicked off a furious online debate last week when she bemoaned the negative comments she’d received for posting an unpaid internship opportunity. …


Number Crunch

If I had a million dollars, I… still wouldn’t be rich enough to join the 1%

A infographic illustration with the “Number Crunch” logo and the text “$4.4 million: How much money you need to be a 1 percenter in the United States Source: Knight Frank”

$4.4 million: That’s how much wealth you need to be counted as a member of the richest 1% in the United States, according to a report by the consultancy Knight Frank.

The United States has the third-highest threshold for entry to the 1% in the world. (In the country with the highest threshold, Monaco, you need a net worth of almost $8 million to earn the designation.)

North America has the highest share of millionaires in the world, and the United States saw its number of individuals with a net worth of more than $30 million increase by 4% in…


NUMBER CRUNCH

How to be an art snob but with memes

$580,000: That’s the approximate dollar equivalent (at the time) of how much an anonymous bidder paid in the cryptocurrency Ether last month to the creator of the Nyan Cat, an animated cat with a Pop-Tart body flying through space with a rainbow trail behind it, for a unique, remastered version of the meme, the New York Times reported.

The Nyan Cat sale is one of several recent examples of a phenomenon that allows individuals to buy and sell ownership of digital art and media using non-fungible tokens (NFTs), which are digital records that operate using blockchain technology. The NBA’s Top…


NFTs allow people to claim ownership of a unique and authentic piece of digital art. How much are they really worth?

One of 10,000 unique CryptoPunks. Image courtesy of the owner

According to Oscar Wilde, a cynic is someone who knows the price of everything and the value of nothing, while a sentimentalist is someone who sees an absurd value in everything and doesn’t know the market price of any single thing. The sudden surge of cultural interest in non-fungible tokens (NFTs) has already sparked a battle between cynics and sentimentalists in the creative economy, and it’s playing out on the blockchain.

Marker

Pop business for the intelligent reader. A publication from Medium.

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