Welcome to the home of Noah Brier. I'm the co-founder of Variance and general internet tinkerer. Most of my writing these days is happening over at Why is this interesting?, a daily email full of interesting stuff. This site has been around since 2004. Feel free to get in touch. Good places to get started are my Framework of the Day posts or my favorite books and podcasts. Get in touch.

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Building Your Own McDuck Vault

This is important: How much gold would you actually need to be able to dive into your gold vault like Scrooge McDuck?

In most money circles (insider tip: “money circles” is a term used by only the most elite investors), wealth is measured exclusively by how closely one can recreate this famed animation. It has come to represent success in America and anything less than doing the backstroke amongst a sea of Earth’s rarest metal should be considered an abject failure. A main problem of this measure, however, is that there is no agreed-upon Scrooge McDuck quantity of gold. In order to give the young investor a goal to shoot for, and to clear up this age-old question once and for all, the following is a precise judgment of exactly how money you need to be successful.

April 23, 2012 // This post is about: , , , ,


I thought this was a really interesting way to look at free agency in the NFL from Grantlant:

The bigger problem is the idea that upgrading at that position, or in that facet of the game, requires a team to throw money at acquiring a talented player, even if it means that the team overspends in the process. Teams approach the problem of having below-average output at a position by saying, “We need to upgrade to something better here, even if it costs us too much.” Instead, they should approach it from the equally compelling, alternative viewpoint of, “We’re already so bad here that we can’t be much worse next season, so upgrading to a superior player is incredibly easy!” Rather than seeing the free-agent pool as being full of players who would provide superior production to the guys on your roster, bad organizations insist on picking one player from that pool and spending more money than they should to obtain an upgrade they can get from just about anyone.

I know you’re not all football fans, but it’s an interesting way to think about how business is run generally (I’m sure there’s a behavioral economics fallacy for this).

March 19, 2012 // This post is about: , , ,

NFL Solidarity and Bounties

If you’re a football fan (American that is), you’ve been following the bounty story about how the Saints were paying out when one player injured an opposing player. Anyway, I’ve been paying attention to the debate with moderate interesting, but I really liked this point about the whole debate from my friend Jeff over at Da Bears Blog:

Here is my big problem with the Saints bounty story. A year ago, during labor negotiations, the players preached solidarity. They preached they were a single organism and ownership was out to limit to their economic intake during their short-term NFL tenures. They were against the 18-game schedule for health reasons and never allowed the issue to be put on the table. They are still against rigid HGH testing and many believe it is because players depend on HGH for muscle regeneration. (Being that football is just 300-pound guys hitting each other repeatedly, I get it.) Now we find out that 1 of the 32 teams was benefitting economically from sending players to the sideline. Not just quarterbacks, either. This was tight ends and linemen and backups. Guys who play less than five years on average in the league. If you knocked ANY player out of a game, you were worthy of a bonus. I don’t get on the moral high horse with these types of issues. But if the Bears had done this I would be incredibly embarrassed.

March 6, 2012 // This post is about: , , ,


Card Case from Square sounds interesting. Esentially it lets you set up a “tab” with any store that uses it and they’ll just “put it on your tab” when you go up to pay. More interesting to me, though, is the iPhone technology they’re using to do it (which I didn’t know about): “Square has taken advantage of a new Apple technology called ‘geofencing,’ which notifies an app when a phone has entered a specified geographical area. The key thing about this approach is that it happens in the background; the app doesn’t have to be on for it to work.” As am aside, I’ve heard rumors that Facebook looks at who else opens the FB app in your vicinity and uses that to recommend new friends.

November 3, 2011 // This post is about: , , , ,