Investors can bet big on almost anything on a new prediction market.
Kalshi allows five-figure bets on the Grammys, the next Covid wave, and future SEC commissioners. Worst-case scenario
On Election Day 2020, two young entrepreneurs received a call from the CFTC chairman. Luana Lopes Lara and Tarek Mansour spent 18 months trying to start a new type of financial exchange. Instead of betting on stock prices or commodity futures, people could trade instruments tied to real-world events, such as legislation, the weather, or the Oscar winner.
Heath Tarbert, a Trump appointee, shouted "Congratulations." "You're competing with 1840s-era markets. I'm sure you'll become a powerhouse too."
Companies had tried to introduce similar event markets in the US for years, but Tarbert's agency, the CFTC, said no, arguing they were gambling and prone to cheating. Now the agency has reversed course, approving two 24-year-olds who will have first-mover advantage in what could become a huge new asset class. Kalshi Inc. raised $30 million from venture capitalists within weeks of Tarbert's call, his representative says. Mansour, 26, believes this will be bigger than crypto.
Anyone who's read The Wisdom of Crowds knows prediction markets' potential. Well-designed markets can help draw out knowledge from disparate groups, and research shows that when money is at stake, people make better predictions. Lopes Lara calls it a "bullshit tax." That's why Google, Microsoft, and even the US Department of Defense use prediction markets internally to guide decisions, and why university-linked political betting sites like PredictIt sometimes outperform polls.
Regulators feared Wall Street-scale trading would encourage investors to manipulate reality. If the stakes are high enough, traders could pressure congressional staffers to stall a bill or bet on whether Kanye West's new album will drop this week. When Lopes Lara and Mansour pitched the CFTC, senior regulators raised these issues. Politically appointed commissioners overruled their concerns, and one later joined Kalshi's board.
Will Kanye’s new album come out next week? Yes or no?
Kalshi's victory was due more to lobbying and legal wrangling than to Silicon Valley-style innovation. Lopes Lara and Mansour didn't invent anything; they changed a well-established concept's governance. The result could usher in a new era of market-based enlightenment or push Wall Street's destructive tendencies into the real world.
If Kalshi's founders lacked experience to bolster their CFTC application, they had comical youth success. Lopes Lara studied ballet at the Brazilian Bolshoi before coming to the US. Mansour won France's math Olympiad. They bonded over their work ethic in an MIT computer science class.
Lopes Lara had the idea for Kalshi while interning at a New York hedge fund. When the traders around her weren't working, she noticed they were betting on the news: Would Apple hit a trillion dollars? Kylie Jenner? "It was anything," she says.
Are mortgage rates going up? Yes or no?
Mansour saw the business potential when Lopes Lara suggested it. He interned at Goldman Sachs Group Inc., helping investors prepare for the UK leaving the EU. Goldman sold clients complex stock-and-derivative combinations. As he discussed it with Lopes Lara, they agreed that investors should hedge their risk by betting on Brexit itself rather than an imperfect proxy.
Lopes Lara and Mansour hypothesized how a marketplace might work. They settled on a "event contract," a binary-outcome instrument like "Will inflation hit 5% by the end of the month?" The contract would settle at $1 (if the event happened) or zero (if it didn't), but its price would fluctuate based on market sentiment. After a good debate, a politician's election odds may rise from 50 to 55. Kalshi would charge a commission on every trade and sell data to traders, political campaigns, businesses, and others.
In October 2018, five months after graduation, the pair flew to California to compete in a hackathon for wannabe tech founders organized by the Silicon Valley incubator Y Combinator. They built a website in a day and a night and presented it to entrepreneurs the next day. Their prototype barely worked, but they won a three-month mentorship program and $150,000. Michael Seibel, managing director of Y Combinator, said of their idea, "I had to take a chance!"
Will there be another moon landing by 2025?
Seibel's skepticism was rooted in America's historical wariness of gambling. Roulette, poker, and other online casino games are largely illegal, and sports betting was only legal in a few states until May 2018. Kalshi as a risk-hedging platform rather than a bookmaker seemed like a good idea, but convincing the CFTC wouldn't be easy. In 2012, the CFTC said trading on politics had no "economic purpose" and was "contrary to the public interest."
Lopes Lara and Mansour cold-called 60 Googled lawyers during their time at Y Combinator. Everyone advised quitting. Mansour recalls the pain. Jeff Bandman, a former CFTC official, helped them navigate the agency and its characters.
When they weren’t busy trying to recruit lawyers, Lopes Lara and Mansour were meeting early-stage investors. Alfred Lin of Sequoia Capital Operations LLC backed Airbnb, DoorDash, and Uber Technologies. Lin told the founders their idea could capitalize on retail trading and challenge how the financial world manages risk. "Come back with regulatory approval," he said.
In the US, even small bets on most events were once illegal. Under the Commodity Exchange Act, the CFTC can stop exchanges from listing contracts relating to "terrorism, assassination, war" and "gaming" if they are "contrary to the public interest," which was often the case.
Will subway ridership return to normal? Yes or no?
In 1988, as academic interest in the field grew, the agency allowed the University of Iowa to set up a prediction market for research purposes, as long as it didn't make a profit or advertise and limited bets to $500. PredictIt, the biggest and best-known political betting platform in the US, also got an exemption thanks to an association with Victoria University of Wellington in New Zealand. Today, it's a sprawling marketplace with its own subculture and lingo. PredictIt users call it "Rules Cuck Panther" when they lose on a technicality. Major news outlets cite PredictIt's odds on Discord and the Star Spangled Gamblers podcast.
CFTC limits PredictIt bets to $850. To keep traders happy, PredictIt will often run multiple variations of the same question, listing separate contracts for two dozen Democratic primary candidates, for example. A trader could have more than $10,000 riding on a single outcome. Some of the site's traders are current or former campaign staffers who can answer questions like "How many tweets will Donald Trump post from Nov. 20 to 27?" and "When will Anthony Scaramucci's role as White House communications director end?"
According to PredictIt co-founder John Phillips, politicians help explain the site's accuracy. "Prediction markets work well and are accurate because they attract people with superior information," he said in a 2016 podcast. “In the financial stock market, it’s called inside information.”
Will Build Back Better pass? Yes or no?
Trading on nonpublic information is illegal outside of academia, which presented a dilemma for Lopes Lara and Mansour. Kalshi's forecasts needed to be accurate. Kalshi must eliminate insider trading as a regulated entity. Lopes Lara and Mansour wanted to build a high-stakes PredictIt without the anarchy or blurred legal lines—a "New York Stock Exchange for Events." First, they had to convince regulators event trading was safe.
When Lopes Lara and Mansour approached the CFTC in the spring of 2019, some officials in the Division of Market Oversight were skeptical, according to interviews with people involved in the process. For all Kalshi's talk of revolutionizing finance, this was just a turbocharged version of something that had been rejected before.
The DMO couldn't see the big picture. The staff review was supposed to ensure Kalshi could complete a checklist, "23 Core Principles of a Designated Contract Market," which included keeping good records and having enough money. The five commissioners decide. With Trump as president, three of them were ideologically pro-market.
Lopes Lara, Mansour, and their lawyer Bandman, an ex-CFTC official, answered the DMO's questions while lobbying the commissioners on Zoom about the potential of event markets to mitigate risks and make better decisions. Before each meeting, they would write a script and memorize it word for word.
Will student debt be forgiven? Yes or no?
Several prediction markets that hadn't sought regulatory approval bolstered Kalshi's case. Polymarket let customers bet hundreds of thousands of dollars anonymously using cryptocurrencies, making it hard to track. Augur, which facilitates private wagers between parties using blockchain, couldn't regulate bets and hadn't stopped users from betting on assassinations. Kalshi, by comparison, argued it was doing everything right. (The CFTC fined Polymarket $1.4 million for operating an unlicensed exchange in January 2022. Polymarket says it's now compliant and excited to pioneer smart contract-based financial solutions with regulators.
Kalshi was approved unanimously despite some DMO members' concerns about event contracts' riskiness. "Once they check all the boxes, they're in," says a CFTC insider.
Three months after CFTC approval, Kalshi announced funding from Sequoia, Charles Schwab, and Henry Kravis. Sequoia's Lin, who joined the board, said Tarek, Luana, and team created a new way to invest and engage with the world.
The CFTC hadn't asked what markets the exchange planned to run since. After approval, Lopes Lara and Mansour had the momentum. Kalshi's March list of 30 proposed contracts caused chaos at the DMO. The division handles exchanges that create two or three new markets a year. Kalshi’s business model called for new ones practically every day.
Uncontroversial proposals included weather and GDP questions. Others, on the initial list and later, were concerning. DMO officials feared Covid-19 contracts amounted to gambling on human suffering, which is why war and terrorism markets are banned. (Similar logic doomed ex-admiral John Poindexter's Policy Analysis Market, a Bush-era plan to uncover intelligence by having security analysts bet on Middle East events.) Regulators didn't see how predicting the Grammy winners was different from betting on the Patriots to win the Super Bowl. Who, other than John Legend, would need to hedge the best R&B album winner?
Event contracts raised new questions for the DMO's product review team. Regulators could block gaming contracts that weren't in the public interest under the Commodity Exchange Act, but no one had defined gaming. It was unclear whether the CFTC had a right or an obligation to consider whether a contract was in the public interest. How was it to determine public interest? Another person familiar with the CFTC review says, "It was a mess." The agency didn't comment.
CFTC staff feared some event contracts could be cheated. Kalshi wanted to run a bee-endangerment market. The DMO pushed back, saying it saw two problems symptomatic of the asset class: traders could press government officials for information, and officials could delay adding the insects to the list to cash in.
The idea that traders might manipulate prediction markets wasn't paranoid. In 2013, academics David Rothschild and Rajiv Sethi found that an unidentified party lost $7 million buying Mitt Romney contracts on Intrade, a now-defunct, unlicensed Irish platform, in the runup to the 2012 election. The authors speculated that the trader, whom they dubbed the “Romney Whale,” may have been looking to boost morale and keep donations coming in.
Kalshi said manipulation and insider trading are risks for any market. It built a surveillance system and said it would hire a team to monitor it. "People trade on events all the time—they just use options and other instruments. This brings everything into the open, Mansour says. Kalshi didn't include election contracts, a red line for CFTC Democrats.
Lopes Lara and Mansour were ready to launch kalshi.com that summer, but the DMO blocked them. Product reviewers were frustrated by spending half their time on an exchange that represented a tiny portion of the derivatives market. Lopes Lara and Mansour pressed politically appointed commissioners during the impasse.
Tarbert, the chairman, had moved on, but Kalshi found a new supporter in Republican Brian Quintenz, a crypto-loving former hedge fund manager. He was unmoved by the DMO's concerns, arguing that speculation on Kalshi's proposed events was desirable and the agency had no legal standing to prevent it. He supported a failed bid to allow NFL futures earlier this year. Others on the commission were cautious but supportive. Given the law's ambiguity, they worried they'd be on shaky ground if Kalshi sued if they blocked a contract. Without a permanent chairman, the agency lacked leadership.
To block a contract, DMO staff needed a majority of commissioners' support, which they didn't have in all but a few cases. "We didn't have the votes," a reviewer says, paraphrasing Hamilton. By the second half of 2021, new contract requests were arriving almost daily at the DMO, and the demoralized and overrun division eventually accepted defeat and stopped fighting back. By the end of the year, three senior DMO officials had left the agency, making it easier for Kalshi to list its contracts unimpeded.
Today, Kalshi is growing. 32 employees work in a SoHo office with big windows and exposed brick. Quintenz, who left the CFTC 10 months after Kalshi was approved, is on its board. He joined because he was interested in the market's hedging and risk management opportunities.
Mid-May, the company's website had 75 markets, such as "Will Q4 GDP be negative?" Will NASA land on the moon by 2025? The exchange recently reached 2 million weekly contracts, a jump from where it started but still a small number compared to other futures exchanges. Early adopters are PredictIt and Polymarket fans. Bets on the site are currently capped at $25,000, but Kalshi hopes to increase that to $100,000 and beyond.
With the regulatory drawbridge down, Lopes Lara and Mansour must move quickly. Chicago's CME Group Inc. plans to offer index-linked event contracts. Kalshi will release a smartphone app to attract customers. After that, it hopes to partner with a big brokerage. Sequoia is a major investor in Robinhood Markets Inc. Robinhood users could have access to Kalshi so that after buying GameStop Corp. shares, they'd be prompted to bet on the Oscars or the next Fed commissioner.
Some, like Illinois Democrat Sean Casten, accuse Robinhood and its competitors of gamifying trading to encourage addiction, but Kalshi doesn't seem worried. Mansour says Kalshi's customers can't bet more than they've deposited, making debt difficult. Eventually, he may introduce leveraged bets.
Tension over event contracts recalls another CFTC episode. Brooksley Born proposed regulating the financial derivatives market in 1994. Alan Greenspan and others in the government opposed her, saying it would stifle innovation and push capital overseas. Unrestrained, derivatives grew into a trillion-dollar industry until 2008, when they sparked the financial crisis.
Today, with a midterm election looming, it seems reasonable to ask whether Kalshi plans to get involved. Elections have historically been the biggest draw in prediction markets, with 125 million shares traded on PredictIt for 2020. “We can’t discuss specifics,” Mansour says. “All I can say is, you know, we’re always working on expanding the universe of things that people can trade on.”
Any election contracts would need CFTC approval, which may be difficult with three Democratic commissioners. A Republican president would change the equation.
More on Economics & Investing
Sofien Kaabar, CFA
6 months ago
Innovative Trading Methods: The Catapult Indicator
Python Volatility-Based Catapult Indicator
As a catapult, this technical indicator uses three systems: Volatility (the fulcrum), Momentum (the propeller), and a Directional Filter (Acting as the support). The goal is to get a signal that predicts volatility acceleration and direction based on historical patterns. We want to know when the market will move. and where. This indicator outperforms standard indicators.
Knowledge must be accessible to everyone. This is why my new publications Contrarian Trading Strategies in Python and Trend Following Strategies in Python now include free PDF copies of my first three books (Therefore, purchasing one of the new books gets you 4 books in total). GitHub-hosted advanced indications and techniques are in the two new books above.
The Foundation: Volatility
The Catapult predicts significant changes with the 21-period Relative Volatility Index.
The Average True Range, Mean Absolute Deviation, and Standard Deviation all assess volatility. Standard Deviation will construct the Relative Volatility Index.
Standard Deviation is the most basic volatility. It underpins descriptive statistics and technical indicators like Bollinger Bands. Before calculating Standard Deviation, let's define Variance.
Variance is the squared deviations from the mean (a dispersion measure). We take the square deviations to compel the distance from the mean to be non-negative, then we take the square root to make the measure have the same units as the mean, comparing apples to apples (mean to standard deviation standard deviation). Variance formula:
As stated, standard deviation is:
# The function to add a number of columns inside an array def adder(Data, times): for i in range(1, times + 1): new_col = np.zeros((len(Data), 1), dtype = float) Data = np.append(Data, new_col, axis = 1) return Data # The function to delete a number of columns starting from an index def deleter(Data, index, times): for i in range(1, times + 1): Data = np.delete(Data, index, axis = 1) return Data # The function to delete a number of rows from the beginning def jump(Data, jump): Data = Data[jump:, ] return Data # Example of adding 3 empty columns to an array my_ohlc_array = adder(my_ohlc_array, 3) # Example of deleting the 2 columns after the column indexed at 3 my_ohlc_array = deleter(my_ohlc_array, 3, 2) # Example of deleting the first 20 rows my_ohlc_array = jump(my_ohlc_array, 20) # Remember, OHLC is an abbreviation of Open, High, Low, and Close and it refers to the standard historical data file def volatility(Data, lookback, what, where): for i in range(len(Data)): try: Data[i, where] = (Data[i - lookback + 1:i + 1, what].std()) except IndexError: pass return Data
The RSI is the most popular momentum indicator, and for good reason—it excels in range markets. Its 0–100 range simplifies interpretation. Fame boosts its potential.
The more traders and portfolio managers look at the RSI, the more people will react to its signals, pushing market prices. Technical Analysis is self-fulfilling, therefore this theory is obvious yet unproven.
RSI is determined simply. Start with one-period pricing discrepancies. We must remove each closing price from the previous one. We then divide the smoothed average of positive differences by the smoothed average of negative differences. The RSI algorithm converts the Relative Strength from the last calculation into a value between 0 and 100.
def ma(Data, lookback, close, where): Data = adder(Data, 1) for i in range(len(Data)): try: Data[i, where] = (Data[i - lookback + 1:i + 1, close].mean()) except IndexError: pass # Cleaning Data = jump(Data, lookback) return Data def ema(Data, alpha, lookback, what, where): alpha = alpha / (lookback + 1.0) beta = 1 - alpha # First value is a simple SMA Data = ma(Data, lookback, what, where) # Calculating first EMA Data[lookback + 1, where] = (Data[lookback + 1, what] * alpha) + (Data[lookback, where] * beta) # Calculating the rest of EMA for i in range(lookback + 2, len(Data)): try: Data[i, where] = (Data[i, what] * alpha) + (Data[i - 1, where] * beta) except IndexError: pass return Datadef rsi(Data, lookback, close, where, width = 1, genre = 'Smoothed'): # Adding a few columns Data = adder(Data, 7) # Calculating Differences for i in range(len(Data)): Data[i, where] = Data[i, close] - Data[i - width, close] # Calculating the Up and Down absolute values for i in range(len(Data)): if Data[i, where] > 0: Data[i, where + 1] = Data[i, where] elif Data[i, where] < 0: Data[i, where + 2] = abs(Data[i, where]) # Calculating the Smoothed Moving Average on Up and Down absolute values lookback = (lookback * 2) - 1 # From exponential to smoothed Data = ema(Data, 2, lookback, where + 1, where + 3) Data = ema(Data, 2, lookback, where + 2, where + 4) # Calculating the Relative Strength Data[:, where + 5] = Data[:, where + 3] / Data[:, where + 4] # Calculate the Relative Strength Index Data[:, where + 6] = (100 - (100 / (1 + Data[:, where + 5]))) # Cleaning Data = deleter(Data, where, 6) Data = jump(Data, lookback) return Data
def relative_volatility_index(Data, lookback, close, where): # Calculating Volatility Data = volatility(Data, lookback, close, where) # Calculating the RSI on Volatility Data = rsi(Data, lookback, where, where + 1) # Cleaning Data = deleter(Data, where, 1) return Data
The Arm Section: Speed
The Catapult predicts momentum direction using the 14-period Relative Strength Index.
As a reminder, the RSI ranges from 0 to 100. Two levels give contrarian signals:
A positive response is anticipated when the market is deemed to have gone too far down at the oversold level 30, which is 30.
When the market is deemed to have gone up too much, at overbought level 70, a bearish reaction is to be expected.
Comparing the RSI to 50 is another intriguing use. RSI above 50 indicates bullish momentum, while below 50 indicates negative momentum.
The direction-finding filter in the frame
The Catapult's directional filter uses the 200-period simple moving average to keep us trending. This keeps us sane and increases our odds.
Moving averages confirm and ride trends. Its simplicity and track record of delivering value to analysis make them the most popular technical indicator. They help us locate support and resistance, stops and targets, and the trend. Its versatility makes them essential trading tools.
This is the plain mean, employed in statistics and everywhere else in life. Simply divide the number of observations by their total values. Mathematically, it's:
We defined the moving average function above. Create the Catapult indication now.
Indicator of the Catapult
The indicator is a healthy mix of the three indicators:
The first trigger will be provided by the 21-period Relative Volatility Index, which indicates that there will now be above average volatility and, as a result, it is possible for a directional shift.
If the reading is above 50, the move is likely bullish, and if it is below 50, the move is likely bearish, according to the 14-period Relative Strength Index, which indicates the likelihood of the direction of the move.
The likelihood of the move's direction will be strengthened by the 200-period simple moving average. When the market is above the 200-period moving average, we can infer that bullish pressure is there and that the upward trend will likely continue. Similar to this, if the market falls below the 200-period moving average, we recognize that there is negative pressure and that the downside is quite likely to continue.
lookback_rvi = 21 lookback_rsi = 14 lookback_ma = 200 my_data = ma(my_data, lookback_ma, 3, 4) my_data = rsi(my_data, lookback_rsi, 3, 5) my_data = relative_volatility_index(my_data, lookback_rvi, 3, 6)
Two-handled overlay indicator Catapult. The first exhibits blue and green arrows for a buy signal, and the second shows blue and red for a sell signal.
The chart below shows recent EURUSD hourly values.
def signal(Data, rvi_col, signal): Data = adder(Data, 10) for i in range(len(Data)): if Data[i, rvi_col] < 30 and \ Data[i - 1, rvi_col] > 30 and \ Data[i - 2, rvi_col] > 30 and \ Data[i - 3, rvi_col] > 30 and \ Data[i - 4, rvi_col] > 30 and \ Data[i - 5, rvi_col] > 30: Data[i, signal] = 1 return Data
Signals are straightforward. The indicator can be utilized with other methods.
my_data = signal(my_data, 6, 7)
Lumiwealth shows how to develop all kinds of algorithms. I recommend their hands-on courses in algorithmic trading, blockchain, and machine learning.
To conclude, my goal is to contribute to objective technical analysis, which promotes more transparent methods and strategies that must be back-tested before implementation. Technical analysis will lose its reputation as subjective and unscientific.
After you find a trading method or approach, follow these steps:
Put emotions aside and adopt an analytical perspective.
Test it in the past in conditions and simulations taken from real life.
Try improving it and performing a forward test if you notice any possibility.
Transaction charges and any slippage simulation should always be included in your tests.
Risk management and position sizing should always be included in your tests.
After checking the aforementioned, monitor the plan because market dynamics may change and render it unprofitable.
11 months ago
A student trader from the United States made $110 million in one month and rose to prominence on Wall Street.
Genius or lucky?
From the title, you might think I'm selling advertising for a financial influencer, a dubious trading site, or a training organization to attract clients. I'm suspicious. Better safe than sorry.
But not here.
Jake Freeman, 20, made $110 million in a month, according to the Financial Times. At 18, he ran for president. He made his name in markets, not politics. Two years later, he's Wall Street's prince. Interview requests flood the prodigy.
Jake Freeman bought 5 million Bed Bath & Beyond Group shares for $5.5 in July 2022 and sold them for $27 a month later. He thought the stock might double. Since speculation died down, he sold well. The stock fell 40.5% to 11 dollars on Friday, 19 August 2022. On August 22, 2022, it fell 16% to $9.
Smallholders have been buying the stock for weeks and will lose heavily if it falls further. Bed Bath & Beyond is the second most popular stock after Foot Locker, ahead of GameStop and Apple.
Jake Freeman earned $110 million thanks to a significant stock market flurry.
Online broker customers aren't the only ones with jitters. By June 2022, Ken Griffin's Citadel and Stephen Mandel's Lone Pine Capital held nearly a third of the company's capital. Did big managers sell before the stock plummeted?
Recent stock movements (derivatives) and rumors could prompt a SEC investigation.
Jake Freeman wrote to the board of directors after his investment to call for a turnaround, given the company's persistent problems and short sellers. The bathroom and kitchen products distribution group's stock soared in July 2022 due to renewed buying by private speculators, who made it one of their meme stocks with AMC and GameStop.
Second-quarter 2022 results and financial health worsened. He didn't celebrate his miraculous operation in a nightclub. He told a British newspaper, "I'm shocked." His parents dined in New York. He returned to Los Angeles to study math and economics.
Jake Freeman founded Freeman Capital Management with his savings and $25 million from family, friends, and acquaintances. They are the ones who are entitled to the $110 million he raised in one month. Will his investors pocket and withdraw all or part of their profits or will they trust the young prodigy for new stunts on Wall Street?
His operation should attract new clients. Well-known hedge funds may hire him.
Jake Freeman didn't listen to gurus or former traders. At 17, he interned at a quantitative finance and derivatives hedge fund, Volaris. At 13, he began investing with his pharmaceutical executive uncle. All countries have increased their Google searches for the young trader in the last week.
Naturally, his success has inspired resentment.
His success stirs jealousy, and he's attacked on social media. On Reddit, people who lost money on Bed Bath & Beyond, Jake Freeman's fortune, are mourning.
Several conspiracy theories circulate about him, including that he doesn't exist or is working for a Taiwanese amusement park.
If all 20 million American students had the same trading skills, they would have generated $1.46 trillion. Jake Freeman is unique. Apprentice traders' careers are often short, disillusioning, and tragic.
Two years ago, 20-year-old Robinhood client Alexander Kearns committed suicide after losing $750,000 trading options. Great traders start young. Michael Platt of BlueCrest invested in British stocks at age 12 under his grandmother's supervision and made a £30,000 fortune. Paul Tudor Jones started trading before he turned 18 with his uncle. Warren Buffett, at age 10, was discussing investments with Goldman Sachs' head. Oracle of Omaha tells all.
1 year ago
What is headline inflation?
Headline inflation is the raw Consumer price index (CPI) reported monthly by the Bureau of labour statistics (BLS). CPI measures inflation by calculating the cost of a fixed basket of goods. The CPI uses a base year to index the current year's prices.
As it includes all aspects of an economy that experience inflation, headline inflation is not adjusted to remove volatile figures. Headline inflation is often linked to cost-of-living changes, which is useful for consumers.
The headline figure doesn't account for seasonality or volatile food and energy prices, which are removed from the core CPI. Headline inflation is usually annualized, so a monthly headline figure of 4% inflation would equal 4% inflation for the year if repeated for 12 months. Top-line inflation is compared year-over-year.
Inflation erodes future dollar values, can stifle economic growth, and can raise interest rates. Core inflation is often considered a better metric than headline inflation. Investors and economists use headline and core results to set growth forecasts and monetary policy.
Core inflation removes volatile CPI components that can distort the headline number. Food and energy costs are commonly removed. Environmental shifts that affect crop growth can affect food prices outside of the economy. Political dissent can affect energy costs, such as oil production.
From 1957 to 2018, the U.S. averaged 3.64 percent core inflation. In June 1980, the rate reached 13.60%. May 1957 had 0% inflation. The Fed's core inflation target for 2022 is 3%.
A central bank has privileged control over a nation's or group's money and credit. Modern central banks are responsible for monetary policy and bank regulation. Central banks are anti-competitive and non-market-based. Many central banks are not government agencies and are therefore considered politically independent. Even if a central bank isn't government-owned, its privileges are protected by law. A central bank's legal monopoly status gives it the right to issue banknotes and cash. Private commercial banks can only issue demand deposits.
What are living costs?
The cost of living is the amount needed to cover housing, food, taxes, and healthcare in a certain place and time. Cost of living is used to compare the cost of living between cities and is tied to wages. If expenses are higher in a city like New York, salaries must be higher so people can live there.
What's U.S. bureau of labor statistics?
BLS collects and distributes economic and labor market data about the U.S. Its reports include the CPI and PPI, both important inflation measures.
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1 year ago
In 2022, each data scientist needs to read these 11 books.
Non-technical talents can benefit data scientists in addition to statistics and programming.
As our article 5 Most In-Demand Skills for Data Scientists shows, being business-minded is useful. How can you get such a diverse skill set? We've compiled a list of helpful resources.
Data science, data analysis, programming, and business are covered. Even a few of these books will make you a better data scientist.
Ready? Let’s dive in.
Best books for data scientists
1. The Black Swan
Author: Nassim Taleb
First, a less obvious title. Nassim Nicholas Taleb's seminal series examines uncertainty, probability, risk, and decision-making.
Three characteristics define a black swan event:
It is erratic.
It has a significant impact.
Many times, people try to come up with an explanation that makes it seem more predictable than it actually was.
People formerly believed all swans were white because they'd never seen otherwise. A black swan in Australia shattered their belief.
Taleb uses this incident to illustrate how human thinking mistakes affect decision-making. The book teaches readers to be aware of unpredictability in the ever-changing IT business.
Try multiple tactics and models because you may find the answer.
2. High Output Management
Author: Andrew Grove
Intel's former chairman and CEO provides his insights on developing a global firm in this business book. We think Grove would choose “management” to describe the talent needed to start and run a business.
That's a skill for CEOs, techies, and data scientists. Grove writes on developing productive teams, motivation, real-life business scenarios, and revolutionizing work.
Every action is a procedure.
Meetings are a medium of work
Manage short-term goals in accordance with long-term strategies.
Mission-oriented teams accelerate while functional teams increase leverage.
Utilize performance evaluations to enhance output.
So — if the above captures your imagination, it’s well worth getting stuck in.
3. The Hard Thing About Hard Things: Building a Business When There Are No Easy Answers
Author: Ben Horowitz
Few realize how difficult it is to run a business, even though many see it as a tremendous opportunity.
Business schools don't teach managers how to handle the toughest difficulties; they're usually on their own. So Ben Horowitz wrote this book.
It gives tips on creating and maintaining a new firm and analyzes the hurdles CEOs face.
Find suggestions on:
Run a business.
Promote a product
oversee daily operations
This book will help you cope with tough times.
4. Obviously Awesome: How to Nail Product Positioning
Author: April Dunford
Your job as a data scientist is a product. You should be able to sell what you do to clients. Even if your product is great, you must convince them.
How to? April Dunford's advice: Her book explains how to connect with customers by making your offering seem like a secret sauce.
Select the ideal market for your products.
Connect an audience to the value of your goods right away.
Take use of three positioning philosophies.
Utilize market trends to aid purchasers
5. The Mom test
Author: Rob Fitzpatrick
The Mom Test improves communication. Client conversations are rarely predictable. The book emphasizes one of the most important communication rules: enquire about specific prior behaviors.
Both ways work. If a client has suggestions or demands, listen carefully and ensure everyone understands. The book is packed with client-speaking tips.
6. Introduction to Machine Learning with Python: A Guide for Data Scientists
Authors: Andreas C. Müller, Sarah Guido
Now, technical documents.
This book is for Python-savvy data scientists who wish to learn machine learning. Authors explain how to use algorithms instead of math theory.
Their technique is ideal for developers who wish to study machine learning basics and use cases. Sci-kit-learn, NumPy, SciPy, pandas, and Jupyter Notebook are covered beyond Python.
If you know machine learning or artificial neural networks, skip this.
7. Python Data Science Handbook: Essential Tools for Working with Data
Author: Jake VanderPlas
Data work isn't easy. Data manipulation, transformation, cleansing, and visualization must be exact.
Python is a popular tool. The Python Data Science Handbook explains everything. The book describes how to utilize Pandas, Numpy, Matplotlib, Scikit-Learn, and Jupyter for beginners.
The only thing missing is a way to apply your learnings.
8. Python for Data Analysis: Data Wrangling with Pandas, NumPy, and IPython
Author: Wes McKinney
The author leads you through manipulating, processing, cleaning, and analyzing Python datasets using NumPy, Pandas, and IPython.
The book's realistic case studies make it a great resource for Python or scientific computing beginners. Once accomplished, you'll uncover online analytics, finance, social science, and economics solutions.
9. Data Science from Scratch
Author: Joel Grus
Here's a title for data scientists with Python, stats, maths, and algebra skills (alongside a grasp of algorithms and machine learning). You'll learn data science's essential libraries, frameworks, modules, and toolkits.
The author works through all the key principles, providing you with the practical abilities to develop simple code. The book is appropriate for intermediate programmers interested in data science and machine learning.
Not that prior knowledge is required. The writing style matches all experience levels, but understanding will help you absorb more.
10. Machine Learning Yearning
Author: Andrew Ng
Andrew Ng is a machine learning expert. Co-founded and teaches at Stanford. This free book shows you how to structure an ML project, including recognizing mistakes and building in complex contexts.
The book delivers knowledge and teaches how to apply it, so you'll know how to:
Determine the optimal course of action for your ML project.
Create software that is more effective than people.
Recognize when to use end-to-end, transfer, and multi-task learning, and how to do so.
Identifying machine learning system flaws
Ng writes easy-to-read books. No rigorous math theory; just a terrific approach to understanding how to make technical machine learning decisions.
11. Deep Learning with PyTorch Step-by-Step
Author: Daniel Voigt Godoy
The last title is also the most recent. The book was revised on 23 January 2022 to discuss Deep Learning and PyTorch, a Python coding tool.
It comprises four parts:
Fundamentals (gradient descent, training linear and logistic regressions in PyTorch)
Machine Learning (deeper models and activation functions, convolutions, transfer learning, initialization schemes)
Sequences (RNN, GRU, LSTM, seq2seq models, attention, self-attention, transformers)
Automatic Language Recognition (tokenization, embeddings, contextual word embeddings, ELMo, BERT, GPT-2)
We admire the book's readability. The author avoids difficult mathematical concepts, making the material feel like a conversation.
Is every data scientist a humanist?
Even as a technological professional, you can't escape human interaction, especially with clients.
We hope these books will help you develop interpersonal skills.
1 year ago
What's the difference between Proof-of-Time and Proof-of-History?
Blockchain validates transactions with consensus algorithms. Bitcoin and Ethereum use Proof-of-Work, while Polkadot and Cardano use Proof-of-Stake.
Other consensus protocols are used to verify transactions besides these two. This post focuses on Proof-of-Time (PoT), used by Analog, and Proof-of-History (PoH), used by Solana as a hybrid consensus protocol.
PoT and PoH may seem similar to users, but they are actually very different protocols.
Analog developed Proof-of-Time (PoT) based on Delegated Proof-of-Stake (DPoS). Users select "delegates" to validate the next block in DPoS. PoT uses a ranking system, and validators stake an equal amount of tokens. Validators also "self-select" themselves via a verifiable random function."
The ranking system gives network validators a performance score, with trustworthy validators with a long history getting higher scores. System also considers validator's fixed stake. PoT's ledger is called "Timechain."
Voting on delegates borrows from DPoS, but there are changes. PoT's first voting stage has validators (or "time electors" putting forward a block to be included in the ledger).
Validators are chosen randomly based on their ranking score and fixed stake. One validator is chosen at a time using a Verifiable Delay Function (VDF).
Validators use a verifiable delay function to determine if they'll propose a Timechain block. If chosen, they validate the transaction and generate a VDF proof before submitting both to other Timechain nodes.
This leads to the second process, where the transaction is passed through 1,000 validators selected using the same method. Each validator checks the transaction to ensure it's valid.
If the transaction passes, validators accept the block, and if over 2/3 accept it, it's added to the Timechain.
Proof-of-History is a consensus algorithm that proves when a transaction occurred. PoH uses a VDF to verify transactions, like Proof-of-Time. Similar to Proof-of-Work, VDFs use a lot of computing power to calculate but little to verify transactions, similar to (PoW).
This shows users and validators how long a transaction took to verify.
PoH uses VDFs to verify event intervals. This process uses cryptography to prevent determining output from input.
The outputs of one transaction are used as inputs for the next. Timestamps record the inputs' order. This checks if data was created before an event.
PoT vs. PoH
PoT and PoH differ in that:
PoT uses VDFs to select validators (or time electors), while PoH measures time between events.
PoH uses a VDF to validate transactions, while PoT uses a ranking system.
PoT's VDF-elected validators verify transactions proposed by a previous validator. PoH uses a VDF to validate transactions and data.
Both Proof-of-Time (PoT) and Proof-of-History (PoH) validate blockchain transactions differently. PoT uses a ranking system to randomly select validators to verify transactions.
PoH uses a Verifiable Delay Function to validate transactions, verify how much time has passed between two events, and allow validators to quickly verify a transaction without malicious actors knowing the input.
10 months ago
Focus: The Deadly Strategic Idea You've Never Heard Of (But Definitely Need To Know!
Steve Jobs' initial mission at Apple in 1997 was to destroy. He killed the Newton PDA and Macintosh clones. Apple stopped trying to please everyone under Jobs.
Afterward, there were few highly targeted moves. First, the pink iMac. Modest success. The iPod, iPhone, and iPad made Apple the world's most valuable firm. Each maneuver changed the company's center of gravity and won.
That's the idea behind Schwerpunkt, a German military term meaning "focus." Jobs didn't need to win everywhere, just where it mattered, so he focused Apple's resources on a few key goods. Finding your Schwerpunkt is more important than charts and analysis for excellent strategy.
Comparison of Relative Strength and Relative Weakness
The iPod, Apple's first major hit after Jobs' return, didn't damage Microsoft and the PC, but instead focused Apple's emphasis on a fledgling, fragmented market that generated "sucky" products. Apple couldn't have taken on the computer titans at this stage, yet it beat them.
The move into music players used Apple's particular capabilities, especially its ability to build simple, easy-to-use interfaces. Jobs' charisma and stature, along his understanding of intellectual property rights from Pixar, helped him build up iTunes store, which was a quagmire at the time.
In Good Strategy | Bad Strategy, management researcher Richard Rumelt argues that good strategy uses relative strength to counter relative weakness. To discover your main point, determine your abilities and where to effectively use them.
Steve Jobs did that at Apple. Microsoft and Dell, who controlled the computer sector at the time, couldn't enter the music player business. Both sought to produce iPod competitors but failed. Apple's iPod was nobody else's focus.
Finding The Center of Attention
In a military engagement, leaders decide where to focus their efforts by assessing commanders intent, the situation on the ground, the topography, and the enemy's posture on that terrain. Officers spend their careers learning about schwerpunkt.
Business executives must assess internal strengths including personnel, technology, and information, market context, competitive environment, and external partner ecosystems. Steve Jobs was a master at analyzing forces when he returned to Apple.
He believed Apple could integrate technology and design for the iPod and that the digital music player industry sucked. By analyzing competitors' products, he was convinced he could produce a smash by putting 1000 tunes in my pocket.
The only difficulty was there wasn't the necessary technology. External ecosystems were needed. On a trip to Japan to meet with suppliers, a Toshiba engineer claimed the company had produced a tiny memory drive approximately the size of a silver dollar.
Jobs knew the memory drive was his focus. He wrote a $10 million cheque and acquired exclusive technical rights. For a time, none of his competitors would be able to recreate his iPod with the 1000 songs in my pocket.
How to Enter the OODA Loop
John Boyd invented the OODA loop as a pilot to better his own decision-making. First OBSERVE your surroundings, then ORIENT that information using previous knowledge and experiences. Then you DECIDE and ACT, which changes the circumstance you must observe, orient, decide, and act on.
Steve Jobs used the OODA loop to decide to give Toshiba $10 million for a technology it had no use for. He compared the new information with earlier observations about the digital music market.
Then something much more interesting happened. The iPod was an instant hit, changing competition. Other computer businesses that competed in laptops, desktops, and servers created digital music players. Microsoft's Zune came out in 2006, Dell's Digital Jukebox in 2004. Both flopped.
By then, Apple was poised to unveil the iPhone, which would cause its competitors to Observe, Orient, Decide, and Act. Boyd named this OODA Loop infiltration. They couldn't gain the initiative by constantly reacting to Apple.
Microsoft and Dell were titans back then, but it's hard to recall. Apple went from near bankruptcy to crushing its competition via Schwerpunkt.
Rather than a destination, it is a journey
Trying to win everywhere is a strategic blunder. Win significant fights, not trivial skirmishes. Identifying a focal point to direct resources and efforts is the essence of Schwerpunkt.
When Steve Jobs returned to Apple, PC firms were competing, but he focused on digital music players, and the iPod made Apple a player. He launched the iPhone when his competitors were still reacting. When Steve Jobs said, "One more thing," at the end of a product presentation, he had a new focus.
Schwerpunkt isn't static; it's dynamic. Jobs' ability to observe, refocus, and modify the competitive backdrop allowed Apple to innovate consistently. His strategy was tailored to Apple's capabilities, customers, and ecosystem. Microsoft or Dell, better suited for the enterprise sector, couldn't succeed with a comparable approach.
There is no optimal strategy, only ones suited to a given environment, when relative strength might be used against relative weakness. Discovering the center of gravity where you can break through is more of a journey than a destination; it will become evident after you reach.