Lea and I are both from the Midwest — Lea from Michigan, and I am from Kentucky (South-Midwest, to be specific!) Lea is a startup operator currently at Column, and I work at On Deck, an incredible company built on education and community.

We both wanted to take a quantitative look at innovation and the Midwest. We both moved to the coasts after graduating college two years ago, but miss our homes- and want to give them a place in the growing VC narrative.

This was a really fun piece to work on. I grew up in Kentucky, but now…

The Video Game Market

Reddit user u/DeepFuckingValue turned a $53k YOLO into $11M.

Through GME call options.

Let me explain.

What happened with GameStop?

Let’s start from the beginning:

  1. Chewy CEO Ryan Cohen joined GameStop’s Board of Directors
  2. Upon this move, Citron Research predicted that the stock price would drop
  3. r/wallstreetbets decided otherwise

For a bit of historical context, r/wallstreetbets is a subreddit that is self-described as a

The users tend to place a lot of…

In a letter to Helen Keller, Mark Twain wrote:

“All things…

The time I biked 50 miles.


  • I wore a mask the whole ride.
  • The most that I’ve biked in one go over the past 12 months is ~10 miles (which I do 6 out of the 7 days a week, with weekly mileage ~60miles) as I primarily use my wheels for commuting
  • The terrain was relatively flat, but there were some climbs peppered in
  • I don’t clip in. There was a lot of street riding. My bike is 6 years old. I had no fuel (beyond one apple). Excited to hopefully do this again soon.

The Open Road

On January 1…

How to get into the holiday spirit? Do some math!

The Twelve Days of Christmas is a Christmas carol that lists out items that a (supposed) lover is purchasing for his love.

The earliest version of the song appeared in a kid’s book titled, Mirth With-out Mischief in 1780. However, the version that we are most familiar with was established by Frederic Austin in 1909.

The gifts are as follows:

  • One partridge in a pear tree
  • Two Turtle doves
  • Three French hens
  • Four calling birds
  • Five gold rings
  • Six geese a-laying
  • Seven swans a-swimming
  • Eight maids a-milking
  • Nine ladies dancing

Spotify Wrapped is making the rounds at the end of this very *insert preferred adjective here* year. Everyone shares their top artists and songs of the year, and we rejoice in the gift that music gives us.

But, can music actually be a predictor of our moods? And if it can predict our moods, does it somehow reflect the stock market?

Do America’s Top Music Choices predict market returns?

Subscribe to Lea’s Substack here!

This week, I partnered with a fellow Midwesterner (though a bit more Midwest than I am) and startup operator Lea Boreland to take a quantitative look at innovation and the Midwest.

This was a really fun piece to work on. I grew up in Kentucky, but now live in Los Angeles. I miss Kentucky deeply — and I remember driving by the Ford plant most days, or going on field trips where we would pass quarry after quarry. (In fact, you can feel the tremors from a nearby drilling at my childhood home).

We wanted…

There are a lot of charts floating around, discussing how x is related to y because they are “highly correlated”.

Our brains tend to make nonsensical connections to try and explain the world to us. We draw two lines and claim a relationship, thinking that we have effectively answered the question in the process.

Not quite.

Source: Etsy

Correlation is not causation.

Correlation is a relationship, in which A moves with B. There are three types:

  • Positive: A and B increase/decrease at the same time
  • Negative: increase (decrease) in A leads to a decrease (increase) in B
  • None: A and B are…

A Nugget Analysis

According to Epictetus, the right way to eat is the same as the way to live: “just, cheerful, equable, temperate, and orderly.”

More precisely:

So when I came across a chicken nugget dataset on Kaggle, I was fascinated. This person had weighed their individual nuggets from McDonalds and Wendys.

Like Epictetus, I wanted to explore how “equable, temperate, and orderly” the nuggets might be — how much chicken is in the chicken nugget?

Nugget Numbers

According to this dataset, McDonalds nuggets weigh 16.5g on average — and they range from 21g to 14.6g. Wendy’s nuggets…

  • “How do you grow your audience?”
  • “How do you monetize content?”
  • “What’s your niche?”

These questions have haunted me for the past several weeks. After figuring out that I don’t really have a niche as a writer, I had a sort of analysis paralysis. I wrote a piece about learning in public and how the best niche was to have no niche, but it all felt wrong.

I resigned myself to the fact that I might never have a niche, and then thought about TikTok.

What creates a TikTok star? What’s the relationship between content and fame? What’s the secret?

Kyla Scanlon

Thinking. Los Angeles transplant via Kentucky. Passionate about educational equality, data science, and quantitative finance.

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