What We’re Reading

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

Can you hear me now?

This is crazy:

Nearly half of all cellphone calls next year will come from scammers, according to First Orion, a company that provides phone carriers and their customers caller ID and call blocking technology.

The Arkansas-based firm projects an explosion of incoming spam calls, marking a leap from 3.7 percent of total calls in 2017 to more than 29 percent this year, to a projected 45 percent by early 2019.

Valuations

Robert Shiller on earnings spikes:

Between 1910 and 1930, there was a big jump in earnings, around the time of World War I. “That spike occurred before the U.S. ended the war. You notice the stock market didn’t go up very much. Why didn’t it? Newspapers called it the flood of earnings and they attributed it to the war. A lot of Europeans were buying munitions supplies from the United States. Why didn’t the market go up? [The earnings leap was due to] the war. It was not permanent. After the war was over, the earnings went back down,” Shiller said. “I think the market did the right thing in 1916, which is not to overreact to the sudden burst in earnings.”

Poverty

Excellent:

The global population living in extreme poverty has fallen below 750 million for the first time since the World Bank began collecting global statistics in 1990, a decline of more than 1 billion people in the past 25 years.

The World Bank defines “extreme poverty” as living on less than $1.90 a day, or about $694 a year. The sum, which is based off measures of poverty determined by many low-income countries, is the amount it takes to afford minimal basic needs.

The figure is comparable, adjusted for inflation, to the $1-a-day threshold that became popular in the 1990s as the marker of extreme poverty. In 1990, more than 1.9 billion people lived below the extreme poverty threshold, a rate of 36%.

Luck

This is good:

Luck matters more in an absolute sense and hard work matters more in a relative sense.

The absolute view considers your level of success compared to everyone else. What makes someone the best in the world in a particular domain? When viewed at this level, success is nearly always attributable to luck. Even if you make a good initial choice—like Bill Gates choosing to start a computer company—you can’t understand all of the factors that cause world-class outcomes.

As a general rule, the wilder the success, the more extreme and unlikely the circumstances that caused it. It’s often a combination of the right genes, the right connections, the right timing, and a thousand other influences that nobody is wise enough to predict.

Business and life

This one-hour interview with Jeff Bezos is incredible. Take the time to watch it all:

Enjoy your weekend.


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