We all understand that companies collect information on our behaviors, our shopping patterns and the like. But we collect data about ourselves, too. The problem is that we’re not analyzing much of it. And we’re missing a big opportunity to improve our lives and our finances.
A friend was recently asking me about Fitbit. Most of my friends know that I’m a huge fan of Fitbit, those little pedometers on steroids, that help you monitor the number of daily steps you take and things like calories burned, food consumption, weight, sleep patterns and other health statistics.
I love the service and what it tells you about your health. My friend was curious about how it can tell if you got a good night’s sleep. I told him that it’s a cool feature.
Monitoring Your Sleep Is All the Rage
A lot of very cool smartphone apps, in addition to Fitbit, monitor your sleep patterns. Studies have shown that there is an optimal time to wake up at your lightest phase of sleep based on your REM sleep patterns, which ebb and flow throughout the night over the course of a few hours each.
One app, Sleep Time by Azumio, provides you with stunning graphs and a ream of data about how well you slept the night before. But I told my friend that I don’t really know what to do with all of the information. Should I go to bed earlier? Should I stop watching television in bed before I fall asleep?
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Just how good at math is Andrew Beal? The answer to that question depends on which qualifier you’d like to use as proof of his skills. On the one hand, there’s the fact that he is worth several billion dollars. There’s the fact that a mathematical proposition called Beal’s Conjecture named after him.
And, there’s the fact that he’s won the largest single game of poker ever, taking in eleven million dollars with the right cards. If you’ve never heard of Andy Beal, you can be forgiven. He’s a much less visible billionaire than Bill Gates or Warren Buffet, but his example of success is an inspiration to get better for anyone who claims that they aren’t very good at numbers.
From Humble Origins
Andy Beal began to build up his fortune at just age 19 when he began to flip houses in his native Michigan. While his first home offered rent for just $120 per month, he developed a career in real estate that reached a climax by selling off the New Jersey based Brick Towers property for 3 million dollars after purchasing it earlier for only $20,000.
With the money made from flipping real estate, Andy Beal opened a series of banks and began to capitalize on market turmoil by buying up assets when they had reached a low point, holding onto them, and selling high in the aftermath. Examples include debt on airline companies following 9/11 and real estate during the 2008 housing crisis. There are now 37 branches of the Beal Bank across the United States, which enjoy a return on assets of 8.1, far exceeding that of most other major banking firms.
He further developed a space exploration company called Beal Aerospace, but had to shut it down after three years due to the difficulty in competing with NASA and the firms that provide NASA with equipment and parts for their space program. In part due to his head-butting with the national space program, Andy Beal announced his open dislike of “big government” that restricts the capabilities of private enterprise. [click to continue…]