My Favorite Charts, Pictures, and Ideas of 2019

Below are all my favorite pictures, ideas, and charts from January – December 2019 – a visual representation of some of the coolest things that I’ve been reading, thinking about, and studying for the past year. Most of them are scraped from the non-financial tweets that I’ve liked over the past 12 months.

None of the below represents investment advice or endorsement. All credits are linked in the title of each favorite. Please let me know if you see a miscredit or something that is yours!


States with a lower population than Los Angeles County

Los Angeles. Is. So. Large.

Source: Mike Sharif

The Stock Market Does Better When Kanye Drops an Album

According to Nathan Feifel, the markets have never been down the day that Kanye released an album

Source: Nathan Feifel

A Resting Colobus Face

“We cannot make assumptions about other species based on human characteristics” – Sarah L Jacobson, Sign via the Syracuse Zoo

A good reminder that although we all might be similar, we are not all the same.

Source: Sarah L Jacobson

CURVY: The Game that Keeps Itself Alive is autodecentric (self-decentralizing) technology. The autodecentric infrastructure is C.U.R.V.Y (cute, unstoppable, recursive, virus, yikes) – how software uses money to keep itself alive.

Read their very interesting whitepaper here.


Deutsche Bank Responds to Zero Hedge

They simply had enough of that nonsense.


The Fall in MBA Applications

Originally posted by Austen Allred, the CEO of Lambda School. Read more about Lambda here.

Source: Austen Allred

The Braille Edition of UNO

Accessibility and inclusivity are always to be celebrated.

Source: CNN

Consumer Subscription Software Matrix

Pricing and frequency usage across different subscription services. The late 2010s will be remembered as the age of “oh yeah, I have a subscription for that”.

Source: Tanay Jaipuria

Amusing Ourselves to Death

Postman advises on what happens when media and politics become entertainment.

Source: David Perell

Is Uber a substitute or complement for public transit?

“Uber’s entry increases public transit use for the average transit agency and that effect grows over time“. Turns out that people use Uber as a “last-mile” tool – to get them to the final point in their destination.

Fig. 2
Source: Hall, Palsson, and Price

How Nick Maggiulli thinks about levels of wealth (x axis as log scale)

  • Level 1.  Paycheck-to-paycheck:  $0-$0.99 per decision
  • Level 2.  Grocery freedom:  $1-$9 per decision
  • Level 3.  Restaurant freedom:  $10-$99 per decision
  • Level 4.  Travel freedom:  $100-$999 per decision
  • Level 5.  House freedom:  $1,000-$9,999 per decision
  • Level 6.  Philanthropic freedom:  $10,000+ per decision.

Our levels of wealth are more of steps, rather than a smooth line. The above table outlines how much would be trivial in our decision making. A $8 decision impacts a Level 2 more than a Level 6, because $8 is a much larger percentage of Level 2’s overall wealth.

Source: Nick Maggiulli

The Cloud Appreciation Society

First introduced to me by a friend, I now cannot avoid the Cloud Appreciation Society. Not that I mind. Because they post pictures like this. And I personally love the clouds. Check out their online gallery here.

Source: Cloud Appreciation Society

Alcohol is getting stronger

We’ve been getting more turnt than we thought!

Source: Martinez, Kerr, Subbaraman, and Roberts

Yoga is really, really good for you.

“Brain regions showing differential task-related activation in yoga-practitioners. Yoga practitioners showed less activation than non-practitioners in the left dorsolateral prefrontal cortex during the encoding phase of a Sternberg Working Memory task (yellow). Yoga practitioners also showed less activation than non-practitioners in the right dorsolateral prefrontal cortex and right superior frontal gyri, but more activation in the left ventrolateral prefrontal cortex during various aspects of an Affective Stroop task (red). All regions shown were created by making a 5 mm sphere around the coordinates provided in the studies reviewed.”

Brain regions showing differential task-related activation in yoga-practitioners. Yoga practitioners showed less activation than non-practitioners in the left dorsolateral prefrontal cortex during the encoding phase of a Sternberg Working Memory task (yellow). Yoga practitioners also showed less activation than non-practitioners in the right dorsolateral prefrontal cortex and right superior frontal gyri, but more activation in the left ventrolateral prefrontal cortex during various aspects of an Affective Stroop task (red). All regions shown were created by making a 5 mm sphere around the coordinates provided in the studies reviewed.
Source: Gothe, Khan, Hayes, Erlenbach, and Damoiseaux

Is there a loneliness epidemic?

“There is no empirical support for the fact that loneliness is increasing, let alone spreading at epidemic rates.” Loneliness =/= aloneness. We might be spending more time alone, but that doesn’t mean that we are lonely.

Declining loneliness of us students
Source: Our World in Data

Can Tolling Help Everyone?

According to Jonathan Hall of the University of Toronto:

Source: Jonathan Hall
  1. When roads get congested, they get clogged, and throughput falls
  2. Carefully designed tolls can increase highway capacity
  3. If travelers were identical, this would be enough to conclude that everyone is better off. Drivers pay a toll, but travel times fall.
  4. Problem: Drivers are not identical. We do not all value our time the same way.
  5. Pricing just some of the lanes can help everyone, without requiring everyone to pay the toll AND increases social welfare by $1,740 per driver per year.

The Power of Amazon

AWS is everywhere.

Source: James Wang

And it runs everything.

Source: Vetle Forsland

The Blue Room Theory

Category density and opportunity of 729 digitally native brands. Outlined in a white paper on 2pm’s website. Where does the most opportunity lie?


Is there an Enterprise Margin Crisis in Software Startups?

All via Martin Casado:

  1. Artifical intelligence is expensive
  2. Lack of a central buyer in non-traditional verticals like forestry, mining, etc
  3. Data costs are high – expensive to collect, store, maintain, move, process, label, and keep fresh
  4. Automation isn’t magic – humans are sometimes the easiest (albeit not the cheapest) option
  5. Unoptimized cloud – cloud implementations can be inefficient as companies scale out
  6. Reselling clouds – back-end cloud costs get resold without the direct discounting authority attached to it
  7. Dropping ACVs – need to boost annual contract value
  8. Getting to market – there has been a shift to bottom-up adoption, but larger dollar pools are reached via enterprise sales.
  9. Services – continual shift of customer dollars from product to service

The Shift of the Largest Public Companies

  • 1980s: U.S.
  • 1990s: Japan
  • 2000s: U.S.
  • 2010s: China
  • 2019: Saudi Arabia
  • 2020s: ?
Source: Charlie Bilello

When Does it Count? The Timing of Food Stamp Receipt and Educational Performance

Math scores tend to be higher when children receive their benefits at the beginning of the month, and drop when they’re late in the benefit cycle. This is extremely important to consider as students are judged more and more on the results of testing.

Source: Cotti, Gordanier, and Ozturk

The Most Used Words in the Titles of 500 most-cited Articles in AER, JPE, and QJE by decade

via The Era of Evidence

Source: Montesinos and Brice

Relationship Between Trust and Economic Performance

If you don’t trust, you don’t gain. Trust is the hallmark of any good relationship.

Source: Marcelo P Lima

How do big life events affect self-reported life satisfaction?

“In general, the evidence suggests that adaptation is an important feature of well-being. Many common but important life events have a modest long-term impact on self-reported happiness. Yet adaptation to some events, such as long-term unemployment, is neither perfect nor immediate.”

We celebrate. And then we move on.

Source: Our World in Data


Sam Zell on Demographics

Sam Zell had many excellent things to say on the changes that are coming as this next generation takes the societal reins. Read the entire piece from Ed Friedrichs here.

Source: Ed Friedrichs,

The Crab Bubble

Read the whole thread for a litany of crab jokes.

Source: Mar Hicks

How Much Companies Spend on Content

“There were 496 scripted TV shows made in the US last year, more than double the 216 series released in 2010. In the past eight years the number of shows grew by 129%, while the US population rose only 6%”. Not only is how we consume content rapidly evolving, but so is the content that we consume.


The Streaming Wars: Running Tally $16B

Via Vox:

  • If watching sports (and to a lesser extent, news) on TV is important to you, you’re going to probably keep paying for a bundle of TV channels 
  • There are plenty of people who are paying for a TV bundle who don’t care about sports and news, and those people are eventually going to cut the cord.
  • Those 13 million cord-cutters-to-be are up for grabs for the streamers: They’d like you to take the money you’re paying Comcast and spend it with them instead. Which means they’re going spend like crazy over the next few years to win you over.
Source: Michael Nathanson of MoffettNathanson Research

Donald Trump as Muhammad Ali

I would be wrong to not include at least one tweet from Trump in this wrap-up. I’ve kept it at one (and the most popular one), if you were concerned.

Source: Donald Trump (maybe)

StarKist tuna fined $100M for price fixing

Not even tuna is safe.


The sheer number of homes expected to hit the market post-Boomers

The Millennials aren’t going to want any of this.

Source: WSJ

The Time When FedEx went after the NYT

“Corporations don’t pay taxes.”

Source: Epsilon Theory

Waffle Houses by State via Eddy Elfenbein

Waffle House has a strong presence in the South!

Source: Eddy Elfenbein

Interest Rates Throughout History

via Win Smart, CFA, chart created by Visual Capitalist. Will be interesting to see how they move for the next 50 years.


Meltem Demirors’ Crypto Market Map

Via the CoinSharesCo Crypto Trends report. An interesting overview of the different ways that crypto is being implemented cross-markets.

Source: Meltem Demirors

David Dobrik Wins Sexiest Heartthrob

THIS is power of the crowds. Dobrik “rallied his 9.4M Instagram followers to beat out the competition”.

Source: David Dobrik

Photographs Underwater

Images via Christy Lee Rogers, an extremely talented and fantastic visual artist from Hawaii. Check out her work here.

Source: Christy Lee Rogers

The Correlation Between James Harden’s Performance and Strip Clubs

Conclusion: “I have proven to a statistically significant degree that James Harden’s game performance declines in cities with higher rated strip clubs” As always, correlation =/= causation.

Read the whole piece here.

Source: AngryCentrist on Reddit

Softbank’s Wreck Deck

I don’t even know where to begin. There are so many gems in this deck. Please read in it’s entirety here.

Source: SoftBank

Optimistic People Live Longer

  • “Optimistic people live longer, based on nearly 50 years of longitudinal data.
  • Optimism better predicts mortality than income, including health and other controls.
  • Optimism changes over time and is positively associated with socio-economic status.”
Source: O’Connor, Graham


Favorite Halloween Candy by State via Darren Rovell

A controversial post. Especially considering that it’s based on Google search volume. (Love that Kentucky is the ONLY state that was searching Swedish Fish)

Source: Darren Rovell

Growth in Popular Protests Across the World

Source: Xavi Ruiz, GZero Media

How Do You Like We Now by Matt Levine

Levine wrote an excellent piece on the fallen angel, WeWork, and imagined a series of conversations between Adam Neumann, the founder of WeWork, and Masayoshi Son, the CEO of SoftBank Group Corp. All are hilarious.

Source: Matt Levine

20 Years of Price Changes in the U.S.

As Matt Ridley quoted, “the inflation is here, it’s just not evenly distributed.”

Source: Matt Ridley, (h/t @balajis, @howmuch_net)

Kellogg’s GLAAD All Together Cereal

Inclusivity. For everyone.

Source: CNN

Mike Hart and Anton Kulikov Options Management Flowchart

Love all the amazing work that tasty trade continues to do!

Source: Mike Hart and Anton Kulikov

Smudge the Goblin Cat

He is here. Source: @dark_putout

Transaction Platforms vs Innovation Platforms

Transaction (primarily social media platforms and other engagement tools) versus Innovation (pure tech companies)

Source: Bluegrass Capital

Poorly Drawn Lines (one of my favorite comics)

Support them here!

Source: Poorly Drawn Lines


The Physical Demands of Chess

Chess players are ATHLETES.

Source: Aishwarya Kumar

Myopia Caused by Lack of Time Outside

Myopia (short-sightedness) has gripped East Asia in recent years. Almost 90% of Chinese teenagers are short-sighted, up between 70-80% from a mere 60 years ago. The solution? Send people outside.

“Eye drops and light boxes do not have quite the appeal of sending children outside to play, which has plenty of other benefits besides those for the eyes. “It probably also increases physical activity, which decreases likelihood of obesity and enhances mood,” Rose says. “I can only see it as a win — and it’s free.””

Source: Elie Dolgin


The Everything Store: Jeff Bezos and the Age of Amazon

How Amazon came to be. And how it has continued to be.

Source: Eric Jorgenson

Jackson Hole 2019 Summary

A shift in dialogue and in focus. And probably not for the best.

Source: Bloomberg

Moats are Actually Loops

Competitive advantage can be represented in the form of feedback loops. Once a company masters any of the below, which takes effort to do, the wheel spins along smoothly, moving based on it’s own momentum.

Source: Future Blind

Here are som real world examples of Wal-Mart, Microsoft, Amazon, and Google. As you can see, the “most succesful moats have multiple flywheels that feed off each other’s momentum.”

Source: Future Blind


The Lack of Ventilation in Conference Venues

It’s getting hot in here and the CO2 levels are making me fall asleep.

Source: Cara Battersby (h/t Keflavich)

The Healthiness of Meatless Burgers

In honor of BYND.

Source: Market Watch

The Size of the Video Game Market

One of the most fascinating spaces to watch. Video gaming has become evolved from something that people did in their parent’s basement to a booming industry with mega-prize money.

Source: Statista

PLSE Seminar Series: Emery Berger “Saving the World from Spreadsheets”

Saving the world from Excel Hell!

Source: Emery Berger

Effects of Respiratory Muscle Endurance Training in Hypoxia on Running

“These results suggest that the improvement of respiratory muscle endurance and blunted respiratory muscle metaboreflex could, in part, contribute to improved endurance performance in endurance-trained athletes. However, it is also suggested that there are no additional effects when the RMET is performed in hypoxia.”

Maybe athletes don’t need to go into the mountains to train.

Source: ACSM

Behavioral Investment Bias

How where we live impacts how we invest. “Invest in what you know” is clearly articulated.

Source: Ashby Daniels

Interpretations and Methods: Towards a more effectively self-correcting social psychology

How motivated beliefs affect the direction of the entire field(s). Moshe Hoffman has an excellent thread unpacking it.

Source: Jussim et al


Pelican with Mouth Very Open

Nature at its finest.

Source: Jen Merritt

The U.S. Food Delivery Space

So much competition.

Source: Vox

Computational models for the evolution of world cuisines

This paper discusses the evolution of culinary systems across the world, compiling recipes from 25 different world regions to study statistical patterns and usage of ingredients over time.

Source: Tuwani, Sahoo, Singh, and Bagler

The Consolidation of the Airline Industry

“Why have airline prices gone up? I’ll give you a hint: It is not due to indexing or “Common ownership.” Bankruptcies + mergers have taken what had been 10 major U.S. airlines down to four mega-carriers which dominate the market. ” – Barry Ritholtz

Source: Barry Ritzholtz

Disney and ESPN: The Disney Takeover

Disney’s attempt to nab NFL football rights.

Source: Variety

Just How Big Is Disney?


Source: Title Max

Genetics Apply to Startups Too

“Genetics applies to startups as well! This study finds startups carry over practices from the “parent” firms where the founders used to work. Looking at the Valley family tree (from a different source) you can see why there is a common culture there: most companies are cousins!” – Ethan Mollick

Source: Ethan Mollick

Ton Sargent’s Valuable Lessons

Source: Scott Cunningham

The Importance of Information

Robert Jensen wrote a paper detailing how the “price dispersion for fish decreased in India when cell phone towers were built and information about prices up and down the beach became easier to obtain.”

Source: Devin Pope

The Elasticity of Candy

“Kitkat and Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup customers won’t tolerate price hikes. For every 1% increase in pricing, volume drops 2.1% and 3.9%, respectively.” – UBS (h/t Sam Ro)

Source: Sam Ro

Costco in First Place for Fair Wages

Costco’s business model is fascinating.

Source: Real Money

Chevron’s Position in the Permian

“Chevron’s data set in the Permian is about to get a lot larger and more valuable. The APC Delaware acreage is further east of CVX’s more recent activity. It’s oilier too.” – Robert Clarke

Source: Robert Clarke

Chick-fil-A Unit Economics

” Chick-fil-A unit economics…at $4M AUV, let’s assume they’re operating at industry EBITDA margins (25%) and build-out is ~$1.5M. 60%+ ROIC per location isn’t too shabby. It’s no wonder they continue to build 100+ locations/year. ” – Devin Gfeller

Source: Devin Gfeller

Nathan Pyle

Support him here!

Source: Nathan Pyle


Periodic Table of AWS

Jerry Hargrove is a genuis.

Source: Jerry Hargrove

The Payoff of Investing in Stock IPOs

What investing $100 at IPO would be worth today

Source: HowMuch

The S-Curve of Technology Adoption

The pattern of technology adoption: holds true for 100 years across dozens of different technologies


Right-Skewed Distribution of U.S. Venture Returns

“Huge wins are rare

Mostly luck Claimed as skill

But huge wins beget halos

And halos beget better reputation

And better rep begets better opps

And better opps up the odds

That you get lucky

With a rare huge win “

Source: Josh Wolfe
Source: Brian Launge Aoaeh, CFA

Peloton Bike Fiasco (early ’19)

Not to be confused with Peloton woman.

Source: Clue Heywood

A Lookback at Expectations

Were they met?

Source: Alastair Williamson

Newspaper Advertising Revenue

Also known as the “Oh My God” graphic to Jeremy Littau

Source: Jeremy Littau

The Red, Green, Blue, and Yellow

“Given sufficient time, all big companies will change their brand colors to be made up of red, green, blue, and yellow” – Vlad Magdalin

Source: Vlad Magdalin

Weighing In by Guthman

“This is such a key point. The American food system will not change by creating an alternative system. The giants will simply subsume it (General Mills buying Annie’s, Hormel buying Applegate, Pepsico buying Naked Juice, etc). Change the existing system.” – Austin Frerick

Source: Austin Frerick

2018 Returns

Source: J. Brett Freeze, CFA

The Coddling of the American Mind

The distance between Republicans and Democrats on set of 10 policy questions

Source: Michael Batnick

Investors Top Concerns for 2019

Did they come true?

Source: State Street

Finally: one of my favorite pictures of all of 2019.

Source: Kyla Scanlon

Thanks for reading! Connect with me on Twitter @kylascan or email me at

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