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Things I Learned in 2020

Learnings5 min read

Kind of a late post, but I ran into this post and thought it was an incredibly cool idea.

I’m a pretty big knowledge junkie and I thought it would be a good exercise to go through some of my notes, internet history, messages and memories about some of the interesting and useful things I’ve learned throughout the wild year of 2020:

Deep Note

  • It’s that THX sound that makes you nostalgic about movie theaters

Top Albums of All Time

Pet Sounds

  • An aggregated list of album rankings from many sources. Shoutout to Pet Sounds, an album I listened to a lot in 2020

Black Ivy League

“A colloquial term that at times referred to the historically black colleges (HBCUs) in the United States that attracted the majority of high-performing or affluent African American students prior to the Civil Rights Movement in the 1960s”

Inspiration for Lord Farquaad

“There is speculation that Lord Farquaad's appearance was inspired by Michael Eisner, the then–CEO of The Walt Disney Company, because of producer Jeffrey Katzenberg's animosity toward his former employer.”

  • Eisner eventually got the last laugh with how well Quibi went

The 1% Rule

“The 1% rule is a rule of thumb pertaining to participation in an internet community, stating that only 1% of the users of a website add content, while the other 99% of the participants only lurk”

  • A variant of this is the 1-9-90 rule which states 1% create content, 9% react to the content, and 90% lurk. I always think about this rule when estimating how many products have been sold online based on the number of reviews and ratings.

The Mormon Church is Loaded

  • The Church apparently has over $100B in assets but very little is known about it - probably for a reason

JFK’s Harvard Essay

JFK Essay

  • Oh to be a rich white man from an elite family in 1930’s US


“SCOBY is the commonly used acronym for "symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast", and is formed after the completion of a unique fermentation process of lactic acid bacteria (LAB), acetic acid bacteria (AAB), and yeast to form several sour foods and beverages such as kombucha and kimchi”

  • Had to understand what the Kombucha hype was about

Jerome Powell’s Schedule

  • Weird thing to learn about, but as someone who likes to schedule everything I thought it was really cool to see the schedule of the most important person in the Federal Reserve

Chivas Regal Effect

“The Chivas Regal effect works on the premise that some consumers use price as a cue to quality. All things being equal, a consumer may assume that a high price equals high quality even if there is no objective reason to believe this”

  • Chivas managed to revive their company by increasing the price of their whisky. Meanwhile, Sony still advertises the PS5 and I can’t find it anywhere 🙄

Laundry Symbols


  • I can finally do laundry correctly now

Growing Eternal Basil from a Single Plant

  • I guess this was obvious in retrospect, but I made some great pesto in 2020. Basil is great to get started in gardening, and it’s very easy to grow - just ask my small studio apartment that gets practically no sunlight.

We Have Coffee Because A Dutch Guy Smuggled Beans in 1616

  • Up until the early 17th century, Africa/Arabia had a monopoly on growing coffee and were very strict on its trade. In 1616, a Dutch merchant Pieter van der Broeck smuggled some beans from Yemen and brought it to Amsterdam which then made it’s way all around the world. I think we can all thank Pieter for this one

Rent the Runway

  • This one may sound strange, but I’m always intrigued by how many companies and industries I don’t know anything about simply because of my demographic. I suppose the subscription model can be successful with renting clothes.

Kodak the Pharma Company

  • Kodak’s skills in producing chemicals for film apparently had other uses in the pharma industry which they pursued back in the 80’s while everyone else went digital. Perhaps if they had pursued digital instead of the film route, we’d all be using iPhones with integrated Kodak cameras 🤷‍♂️

Leitmotifs in Media

  • We all know the music that’s playing when Darth Vader arrives. Learning to play the piano this past year was a great way to appreciate and learn about music. Now that you’ve read about it, you’ll start noticing it a lot more in every movie you watch.. sorry

Why Mattress Stores are Everywhere

"The thing is, though, they're selling not $1, $5 hamburgers. They're selling 1,000, $2,000 mattresses. And so they get to that million, million and a half dollars with basically 100 mattresses a month"

  • Be right back, investing in $PRPL

Cousins Removed


  • Turns out I got a few cousins removed myself

Lemon Juice in Baked Goods

  • If you’ve read the FAQ of my cookies recipe you’ll know this but lemon juice is often used in baked goods to help leaven the food. The acidity of the lemon combined with the base of baking soda create byproducts that help make your baked goods more fluffy

Half of Federal Taxes go to Social Security and Medicare

  • When you see that transportation, education, science and medical research only account for 6% of federal spending, it’s kind of crazy how much we spend on Social Security/Medicare compared to how much we pay into it

Morill Land-Grant Acts

“The Morrill Act granted revenues from the sale of millions of acres of federal lands to states in order to create higher education institutions”

  • One of the best things about the United States is its extensive college system that often is touted as the best in the world. This act was one of the initial and main drivers of building out many of the US’ best colleges.

California Filming Map


  • This one at the risk of boosting Californian's egos even more


1🏁 🍇
2 😀 🔤Hello World!🔤❗️

Swedish Coffee

“Swedish egg coffee is a unique way of brewing coffee with an egg. To make Swedish egg coffee, a raw egg is added to the coffee grounds before brewing the coffee, creating a potting soil-like mixture. The result is a light, clear brew with absolutely no bitterness or acidity and a velvety texture that's easy to drink”

  • Interesting to try, but wouldn't try it again

Making Hummus at Home


Receptive Bilingualism

“A category of speaker who has had enough exposure to a language in childhood to have a native-like comprehension of it, but has little or no active command of it”

  • It’s me, I’m receptive bilinguist

Dark City - The Matrix before The Matrix

“Some critics have noted its similarities and influence on the Matrix film series, whose first installment came out a year later”

  • Learned that The Matrix isn't as impressive/revolutionary anymore because this movie came out a year before

Mega Backdoor Roth

“The mega backdoor Roth allows you to put up to $37,500 in a Roth IRA or Roth 401(k) in 2020, on top of the regular contribution limits for those accounts”

  • Very strange this is a publicly accepted loophole that still remains

Toast Sandwich


  • The Brits really had to colonize the world because their cuisine looked like this

Yet Another Way to Make Coffee


  • And lastly, something about my coffee addiction. Adding this along to my French Press, Drip Coffee Maker, and AeroPress

Obviously not an exhaustive list of even all the interesting things I've learned in 2020, but these were just some of the ones I stumbled upon. Wanted to add more, but this took a surprising amount of time to make.

Here's to a 2021 of more obscure learnings!