You may have heard that learning a second language makes you smarter, but more recent careful work, including meta-analyses of 157 studies, has found no advantage in any cognitive dimension for learning additional languages.
Similar negative news on chess. Previous work found that teaching kids chess improved a whole lot of outcomes, from math to logic to academics.... except that these studies were generally small. A large randomized trial with 4,000 students finds no advantages to learning chess.
But learning to code does actually improve other academic outcomes. 👇
Also learning to play an instrument doesn’t boost any other cognitive or academic skills: “engagement in music has no impact on people’s non-music cognitive skills or academic achievement.” (But you still learn to play an instrument & music is good, too!)

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More from @emollick

29 Jan
Venture capital is the final big holdout of instinct-based investing in a finance world that has gone quant. This is from a giant survey of VCs & it shows only around 1 in 10 do any sort of quantitative analysis of past decisions & nearly half often make gut investment decisions ImageImage
This is because analysis doesn’t help that much. But neither does any other method: picking an unexpected first winner appears to require a lot of luck (VCs who do it once don’t do it again), but then that luck can be turned into status, and status generates profitable deal flow!
The issue is that if you are just going on instinct, investment decisions can suffer from many biases; including homophily - the tendency of people to like people like themselves. That creates real consequences for both the types of startups that get funded & VC performance 👇
Read 4 tweets
17 Jan
A thread 🧵 on launching & understanding one of the most common types of startups: marketplaces (also called platforms), which connect buyers and sellers together.

The grandfather of this type of venture is Craigslist, basically every Craigslist category became a startup. 1/4
Just before the pandemic, using billions of transactions, @a16z built a list of the biggest marketplace startups of today. The results are honestly not that encouraging for new startups: 4 older players, dominated by @Airbnb, take up 76% of all $ spent. 2/…
How do marketplaces make their money? By charging a fee on each transaction. This terrific piece of research lays out the amount each platform takes from a transaction. 3/
Read 5 tweets
16 Jan
We are living in a golden age of optical illusions developed for science. Some favorites: 1/

This square is not actually rotating! This illusion by Caplovitz & Harrison shows us how our brains create the perception of motion by integrating tiny movement:…
The Perpetual Diamond discovered by Flynn & @agshapiro2 never moves. Instead, it shows that our brains pay attention to the edges of objects to infer motion. More in their article: 2/…
All of the lines in this illusion have the same gentle curve - really! The curvature blindness illusion by Takahashi suggests that our visual system defaults to seeing edges, given a lack of other information: 3/… Image
Read 6 tweets
15 Jan
Classic thread of people posting their smartest jokes. 3 favs:
➖Is it solipsistic in here, or is it just me?
➖Q: Who does Polyphemus hate more than Odysseus? A:Nobody!
➖It's hard to explain puns to kleptomaniacs because they always take things literally…
Okay, one more:
Q: What does the "B" in Benoit B. Mandelbrot stand for?
A: Benoit B. Mandelbrot.
Because you insisted (note: you did not insist), one more;
Three logicians walk into a bar. The bartender says, “do all of you want a drink?”
Logician 1 says: “I don’t know”
Logician 2 says: “I don’t know!”
Logician 3 says: “Yes!”
Read 4 tweets
15 Jan
Thing are feeling pretty uncertain right now, so lets talk about a tool that was designed by psychologists for therapy, adopted by intelligence analysts to predict enemy actions, and which is incredibly useful for anyone thinking about types of uncertainty- the Johari Window. 1/4
It became a joke when cited by Rumsfeld during the Iraq War: “there are known knowns...things we know we know. There are known unknowns...we know there are some things we do not know. But there are also unknown unknowns-the ones we don't know we don't know..." But it is profound.
Known knows are facts - these are the things you don’t need to plan, they are what you know are true: how have you responded to COVID so far?

Known unknowns are uncertainties, things you know will happen, but don’t know how they will work out. COVID will end, but how & when?
Read 4 tweets
2 Jan
This is an example of an academic paper that is immediately useful to entrepreneurs. We know the easiest way to raise VC is to have done it before, but this paper used deep studies into startups to lay out an alternate path that works just as well, but is more complicated... 1/7
The first step is what they call "casual dating" - this involves having casual talks with VC BEFORE you need the money to build ties. In these talks, you want to discuss your business, but not ask for money. You can't wait until you need $, it takes ~83 days to close a deal! 2/
While VCs are generally happy to have these conversations with startups that look promising (half or more of VC associate time is spent sourcing deals), you usually need a warm introduction to get an initial meeting. More on that 👇3/7
Read 7 tweets

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