Cobra Effect, First Spreadsheet, Happiest Billionaire, and PhD at 89

#25 of 10+1 Things


⚡ Welcome to #25 of 10+1 Things!

Last week this newsletter crossed the 500 subscriber mark in less than 6 months. To give you a scale of things, here's how 500 people will look in a theatre! A huge thanks to everyone who supported me right from the beginning!

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Without further ado, here are 10+1 Things that I thought were worth sharing:

🐍 The Cobra Effect

When the British ruled colonial India, they were concerned about the venomous Cobra snakes in Delhi. To tackle this issue, the government decided to offer a bounty to every dead cobra. Even though this was a successful strategy initially, people began to breed cobras on farms for the bounty. When the government became aware of the situation, the bounty program was scrapped. Due to this, people released all the farmed cobras into the wild and there was an overall rise in the population of cobras. Based on this incident, economist Horst Siebert coined the term ‘Cobra Effect’ and it refers to the unintended negative consequences of an incentive that was designed to improve society or individual well-being. The same effect can be observed in the famous Gun Buyback Program of 2008 in Oakland, California!

Read about Cobra Effect


🚴 Count us In

Count Us In is the world's largest community of people and companies taking action against climate change before it's too late. The mission of the community is to mobilize 1 billion people around the world to take practical lifestyle steps to tackle climate change, which when aggregated will have a significant impact in reducing carbon pollution. Individual lifestyles of people actually account for 65% of the total global carbon pollution. If 1 billion people made small lifestyle changes, we can reduce carbon pollution by almost 1/5 of the total reduction needed. The steps you can take are quite easy and convenient but has a bigger impact than you can imagine.

Count Us In

I have counted myself for the 'WALK & CYCLE MORE' step and have decided to replace all my grocery shopping via cycling. By doing this I can have a potential savings of 50 kgs of CO2 in the next 2 months.

What have you decided?

Leave a comment


🐭 Future Evolution

Many scientists are believing that we are living through the sixth major extinction event in natural history, caused mainly by our activities resulting in a climate crisis. Over time our actions might result in the extinction of humans and other mammals but some animals would definitely adapt and survive to the harsher worlds. Vox has written an interesting article exploring opinions by various scientists on what animals are likely to exist tens of thousands, or even millions of years from now. According to experts, rats, rodents, cockroaches and pigeons would survive as they are doing fine despite the climate concerns. Thanks to the plastic trash we are leaving behind, future evolution will force new life forms that could feed on this plastic waste. The future world will have rabbit-sized praying mantises, ants as large as hummingbirds, dragonflies as large as hawks and fully aquatic whale rats!

Read more on Future Evolution


🎓 PhD at 89

After successfully defending his dissertation, at the age of 89, Manfred Steiner earned a PhD in Physics and fulfilled his lifelong dream of being a physicist. After reading about the work of Maxwell and Einstein, Steiner wanted to become a physicist. But after WWII, his family advised him to study medicine and he earned his medical degree from the University of Vienna in 1955 and moved to the United States soon after. He had a stellar career in the field of Hematology and led the department for an extended period. After his retirement, at age 70, he started taking undergraduate classed at Brown and eventually earned his PhD by defending various health issues as well.

Read His Story

“I am really on top of the world. This PhD is the one that I most cherish because it’s the one that I was striving for my whole life.”


🌲 Remarkable Trees

Moss and Fog have shared an incredible collection of remarkable trees around the world. There are more than 60,000 trees in the world and they range from the tiniest Dwarf Willow (1-6 cm) to the massive Coastal Redwoods in California (>75m). From the 1000-year-old Baobab tree to the Dragonblood trees in Yemen, the collection explores trees of unique shapes and sizes around the globe.

Check out Remarkable Trees


👨‍🔬 How to be Great

Steph Smith has written a popular article, exploring the question "How to be Great?". Many people want to be great. But realistically speaking, many people are not ready to put in the effort over a sustained period of time to achieve their goals. There is no secret to success that exists as hard work brings success. Instead of focusing on “How do I become great in life?”, reframe it as “How do I become good in life” or even “How do I become decent” and repeat those habits over time. You literally need to become good at being decent and success will follow you.

How to be Great?

Great is just good, but repeatable.


📷 The Big Bang

This week I'm exploring a photography project called 'The Big Bang' by Deborah Bay, a visual exploration of the impact of projectiles fired into bullet-proof plexiglass. The work indirectly depicts gun violence and illustrates the immense amount of energy released by bullets on impact. Law enforcement professionals at a college fired the shorts into the plexiglass and the photographs were made later in the studio. They look like galaxies, stars and meteors flying through space and represent a big bang of another sort.

Check out more photos

"Many of the images resemble exploding galaxies, and visions of intergalactic bling sublimate the horror of bullets meeting muscle and bone."


🎬 World's Happiest Billionaire

This week I've enjoyed watching the video titled 'The World's Happiest Billionaire', a short story of Herbert Wertheim who never intended to become a billionaire. Billionaires around the world come in different shapes and forms, but Wertheim is different. He is a happy spirited soul, calmly talking about his business and supporting the causes that are dear to him along the way. Wertheim worked as an optometrist for many years and founded Brain Power Incorporated (BPI) in 1971. BPI never achieved hyper-growth but was more than enough to feed his passion for investing, which led him to become a billionaire. You can read more about his investment story here or watch the video.

"We all have time in common and we all have our humanity, what we do with those two things defines who we are"


🧵 First Spreadsheet

In an excellent thread, Chris Hladczuk has shared the story of VisiCalc, the world's first spreadsheet software. Visicalc was founded by two students at Havard Business School for analyzing financial data. After graduation, they formed a company and sold VisiCalc with every Apple II computer for $100. The software revolutionized the way people saw computers and fueled the popularity of Apple computers.

Check out the thread

"If VisiCalc was written for another computer, you'd be interviewing someone else right now." ~ Steve Jobs


📚 Little Book of Talent

I finished reading The Listening Book last week and started reading a book called 'The Little Book of Talent: 52 Tips for Improving Your Skills’ by Daniel Coyle. This is a short handbook(< 160p) of scientifically proven, field-tested methods to improve skills in sports, music, art, math, and business. Daniel has distilled his key findings from the world’s greatest talent hotbeds and master coaches into 52 clear concise directives.

Check out the Book

My favourite quote so far from the book is:

“Feeling stupid is no fun. But being willing to be stupid—in other words, being willing to risk the emotional pain of making mistakes—is absolutely essential, because reaching, failing, and reaching again is the way your brain grows and forms new connections.”
~Little Book of Talent, resurfaced using Readwise (FREE)


❓ One Question for You

This is a section where I ask you a thought-provoking question. This week's question is:

Where do you live? Are you happy with where you live?

I would love to hear your answer as a comment or as a reply to this email.
Like being anonymous? Use this form to submit your response.

Curious enough to know my answer? Read it here.


📣 Shoutouts

  • Chalkboard Life is a weekly newsletter about preserving the heart of teaching in a tech-saturated world. David Thomson who writes Chalkboard Life has nearly 30 years of teaching experience and seeks to build a community of teachers at all levels.

  • The Ice Berg by Eleanor Konik is a great way to learn obscure history & science. I have enjoyed reading this article by Eleanor on Cheese!
    [Resharing as there was an issue in last week’s link!]

  • The Sample is a great newsletter discovery tool that lets you discover newsletters outside your bubble. Based on your preference daily or weekly, Sample sends a newsletter recommendation to your inbox. By rating the newsletters, Sample learns your preferences, thereby delivering only relevant newsletters.

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That’s 10+1 Things for the week.

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See you next week!

With Love,
Rishi

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“Creative products are always shiny and new; the creative process is ancient and unchanging."
Silvano Arieti