What We’re Reading

A few good articles the Collab team came across this week …



Average intelligence levels, as measured by standardized intelligence tests, have been rising since at least the early 20th century. A recent meta-analysis that included more than 4 million people in 31 countries found an average gain of about three IQ points per decade, or roughly 10 points per generation.


This is impressive:

WordPress now accounts for 30 per cent of the world’s websites … WordPress’s share of the top 10 million websites had ticked over from 29.9 per cent to 30 per cent. The firm put some context on that data by noting that 50.2 per cent of the world’s websites don’t run a content management system (CMS) at all. That means WordPress has over 60 per cent share among websites thatdorun a CMS. That’s a dominance few products in any category can claim.


This is more impressive:

Since its founding nine years ago, Uber has burned through about $10.7 billion, according to a person familiar with the matter. Over the past decade, only one public technology company in North America lost more in a year than Uber lost in 2017. None has burned such a tremendous amount in the first stage of its life, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

Ease of use

Monopolies of attention:

Americans say they prize competition, a proliferation of choices, the little guy. Yet our taste for convenience begets more convenience, through a combination of the economics of scale and the power of habit. The easier it is to use Amazon, the more powerful Amazon becomes — and thus the easier it becomes to use Amazon. Convenience and monopoly seem to be natural bedfellows.

Pure loss

Envy is the worst:

The analysis reveals that envy today is a powerful predictor of worse mental health and well-being in the future. A change from the lowest to the highest level of envy, for example, is associated with a worsening of mental health by approximately half a standard deviation (p <0.001). Third, no evidence is found for the idea that envy acts as a useful motivator. Greater envy is associated with slower – not higher – growth of psychological well-being in the future.


This is so true:

Our conversation concludes on an optimistic note: “We’ve survived 200,000 years as humans,” says Taleb. “Don’t you think there’s a reason why we survived? We’re good at risk management. And what’s our risk management? Paranoia. Optimism is not a good thing.” Is the paradox, I ask, that human pessimism offers grounds for optimism? “Exactly,” Taleb replies. “Provided psychologists don’t fuck with it.”

Have a nice weekend.

Read next
All posts