Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Some finances over the last 5-8 years

Lending Club: I put in $x in 2010/2011, and now I have $1.31*x.
Kiva: I put in $x around the same time, I now have $0.88*x. (this is fine. in the meantime that $x has been loaned and reloaned about 7 times. it's trying to do some good, not trying to make a return. shoot, you can't even make a return.)
Scottrade traditional index funds stuff: I put in $x: 7% in 2008, 14% in 2009, and 78% in 2011, and now I have $1.96*x. Wow.

Lessons learned:
1. invest in 2008/09 :-/
2. invest in index funds, still, always
3. I can't really trust anyone to calculate these numbers in ways I can easily understand. Lending Club tells me I'm getting "Adjusted Net Annualized Return" of 8.31%. I assume this means I would have (1.0831^5)*x = 1.49*x dollars now. If you gave me those start/end numbers, I'd calculate that I've made about 5.5% per year. Which is not terrible, but it's not 8.31%.
4. It's surprisingly hard to get this info. Which is surprising, because this is exactly the kind of info you should get. It's easy to see your portfolio's performance over the last N days, which is worse than useless.

Edit: if you want to try Lending Club, use this link and I think we both get some free money?
Also, my other current jam is Wealthfront, so try that out too. Happy to talk more about either.

Friday, March 18, 2016

Sell a new metaphor, and the world will beat a path to your door

I was just thinking about the guy who convinced us that the filmy feeling on your teeth was Bad and you should brush them to always feel minty fresh and never filmy. (Source: some Gladwellian pop-psychey book, epistemic status: probably false but it's a useful story and "toothpaste creator" would make a nice concept handle (see #9))

The phrase "tech addiction" is real tempting b/c it uses something we know how to talk about (addiction). (well ok we're bad at talking about addiction too but we at least know a way to talk about it.) Talk instead about "building tech muscle" and we'd look at the same behavior a different way. Candy Crush builds tech muscle.

Probably something for a designer in this, or like a rhetoritician, or really a politician. (see also: "tough on crime" etc)

Thursday, March 17, 2016

We need a better mnemonic than ABCDE for skin cancer

ok here is the mnemonic for "is this skin mole something I should worry about?"
It's real dumb:
Asymmetry - if it's asymmetric
Border - if the border is jagged
Color - if it's 2+ colors
Diameter - if it's larger than a pencil eraser
Evolving - if it's changed
if it hits any of these criteria, then ask your doctor about it.

Don't get confused! E is not "elevated" or "eraser-sized", B is not "big", D is not "dark", C is not "changing", etc. Good luck stashing this in your brain along with a million other things.

Here's my best attempt given like 10 minutes of thinking:
if it's funny colored
funny shaped (if the border is jagged that also counts as funny shaped)
real big
or changed
see your doctor.

I feel like 2 "funny appearance" rules + 2 non-"funny appearance" rules is easier than 5 rules. And the "real big" and "changed" are for me the easiest to remember - a big frickin spot or a thing growing on you? YEP SCARY

I don't know, give me your best shot, internet medicine hive mind.

Thursday, March 10, 2016

adios for now, Ingress

Ingress was pretty fun, but I'm done with it for now. Hit level 14 (out of 16).

I liked running into people on the street who were also playing (happened maybe 6 or 8 times?). I didn't like the idea of getting involved in a local community and like meeting up at fixed times. I don't have time to join a WoW guild; I don't have time to schedule meetups to play Ingress.

I liked having a spare moment and using it to hit up a couple nearby portals.
I didn't like:
- explaining to people when I played it.
- that weird itch whenever I was anywhere thinking "ooh I better check if there are any good portals here"
- losing a lot of time sometimes. "oh, I'll just hit this portal on the way home." -> "hey... there's another one over there that's well linked, I should hit that one too" -> "oops I've been walking around here futzing around with my phone for 45 minutes."

I liked exploring places! I've found like a couple neat nooks and crannies playing this.
I didn't like usually not finding new nooks and crannies, because I spent all that "exploring" time hunched over my phone.

I liked getting points. The same way I liked getting sweet items in Diablo II.
I didn't like glyph hacking. You kinda have to do it in order to get enough items and it's just not a fun minigame. It takes like 30 seconds, which is too long (and it's too involved) to just do it real quick.

Why I quit now: The Sojourner/"play Ingress N days in a row" badge was keeping me going (if I hit 360, I'd get an Onyx badge, and I'd need two onyxes to get to level 16), but I realized, if I wanted to hit the AP requirement, I'd probably get the Recharging and Glyphing badges first.