After nine seasons 76 million people tuned into watch the last episode of the TV Show Seinfeld. That episode was a profound middle finger to the audience of Seinfeld, basically telling every dedicated fan that after all those years the show was pointless. It was an extremely polarizing episode, some loved it, some hated it. But 76 million viewers! Do you ever wonder how they came up with that number? Did NBC have some magical way of tracking every TV with a wire or antenna that tuned in for the finale? No, they did not. Instead they used statistical sampling to come up with that number. This is how most ratings and viewership "estimates" work; a company like Nielsen polls a set of people who are representative of the total viewership, and then they multiply it out. If you sample 1000 people, which is supposed to represent a 100 million human beings, you’re going to multiply it by 100,000 to get your best guess at the actual number of viewers. This sort of estimation in statistical analysis is hugely important in understanding what’s going on today with numbers about viruses like the flu and the novel coronavirus.
- How We Paid Off Our Mortgage (for the finance nerd)
- Life with a Twist of Lemon - The First Year (for the person with nothing to do)
- React PouchDB Components (for the programmer)
- My Favorite Marvel Movies (for the pop culture nerd)
Lately I’ve been writing a lot about personal finance, especially topics related to budgeting. Lots of people think we’re on the verge of a recession, but my eyes have been set solely on the NFL, where my favorite team, the Pittsburgh Steelers, are gearing up for a run at another Lombardi. I love football, and the idea of a players' strike is entirely disconcerting to me. So while the finance world is worrying about a recession, I’m worried about whether or not the 2021 season will get played.
Awhile back I wrote an article about visualizing my mortgage after my buddy Jon and I discussed buying a house on our podcast. Since then my wife and I have aggressively gone after our mortgage and I was happy to report (on Facebook) that at the end of June we made the final payment. I hesitated posting about this on Facebook (I don’t post often), but I was pretty proud and happy and wanted to share that joy. Yes, it was a brag and it was anything but humble, but sometimes you earn a little bit of that. :)
It can be difficult to know where to start budgeting. There are entire companies built around the art of budgeting, everything from Intuit’s once ubiquitous Quicken software to classic envelope budgeting, where you use actual physical envelopes loaded with cash. In some respects a whole industry of financial self help experts like Dave Ramsey have popped up with the sales pitch of helping you budget. The truth is budgeting doesn’t have to be hard and there’s a really easy way to start.
For close to a year now my friend Jon and I have been recording our podcast, Life with a Twist of Lemon. Jon and I have been friends for a long time, and he had been advocating for us to do a podcast for a while when I finally caved, contingent on one condition: I would do nothing. I knew if Jon was serious this wouldn’t be a problem, and we could simply replace one of our usual phone calls with a high-quality microphone and it wouldn’t be more time out of my day. To sweeten the deal, Jon suggested we use my name in the title. As if I could resist!