September 28th, 2011


Growth in life expectancy - for real

Just until today I believed that technical progress adds about 1 year to our lives every 5 years.
I derived it from this promising chart of life expectancy at birth.

So I reasoned that if life expectancy now is 79 years, then in 45 more years (when I would be 81) life expectancy would increase by 45/5 = 9 years.
9 extra years of life due to the technical progress which I'm going to live through.

Well, not exactly.

Here's more relevant data in form of Life Expectancy by Age.

It shows that white male in the year 1850 who managed to live until 80 years old - was likely to live for about 6 more years (and die at about 86 years old).

So you would guess that 150 years of technical progress would significantly improve life expectancy of 80 years old guy.
The improvement, in fact, happened.
In the year 2004, eighty years old male is likely to live ... drum-roll ... 8 more years.
Just 2 more years longer than in 1850.

So if 150 years of technical progress and growth of wealth yielded 2 more extra years of life for 80 years old - what kind of improvements can we expect in the next 50 years?
I guess the progress can cough up 1 (one) extra year.

So when you are 80 years old - expect to live 9 more years (or 11 more years if you are a female).

Judging by the progress in 1990-2004 the outlook is not as grim:
14 years of progress added whole year to life expectancy of 80-years old.
If the progress can manage the same pace - next 45 years might add 3 more years.

SEO sales tricks

Today I had a conversation with a guy who was trying to sell me their SEO services.
The end result of this conversation – I understood how SEO marketers scam prospective customers.
Here’s the trick:
1) Pick a search term. E.g. “post job”.
2) Use Google Keyword Tool to claim that users are making lots of Google searches for that search term (e.g. 673,000 monthly Google searches for “post job”).
3) Claim that they would be able to optimize your web site so it would end up on the first page of search results (SERP) or even on the top of that page (#1 result).
4) Imply that most of these searches would result in massive increase of visitors on your web site.

Sounds appealing, right? Would likely worth $1000/month to get and keep these amazing results, right?

The thing is that my web site already ranks #1 for “post job” search query. Guess how many visitors who were searching for “post job” does PostJobFree receive?
Would it be half of promised 673,000 searches? Ten percent? One Percent?
Let’s pull actual PostJobFree traffic numbers from Google Analytics:
In the last 30 days number of visitors who came to by searching for “post job” was ... drumroll ... 72. That’s it. Not 72 thousand. Not even 72 hundred. Just 72 visitors.
So how could that happen?

Here are some hints:

1) That 673,000 monthly Google searches for “post job” number is for “broad match type”. So if somebody searched for, say, “post nurse job”, then Google Keyword Tool would still consider it broad match for “post job” search. But is not search engine optimized for “post nurse job”, so it does not receive that traffic.

2) If we count only exact match searches on Google – then the number would be much, much smaller. In case of “post job” the number is 1000 searches per month (down from 673,000 broad matches).
But even that 1000 number is still more than 14 times higher than 72 visitors PostJobFree actually received. That means that even if your web site is #1 organic search result, users are not very likely to click it. 10% chance may be?
Another reason could be that some users repeatedly searched for “post job”, and visited PostJobFree more than once, so multiple searches and clicks resulted in single visitor.

P.S. I just compared overall monthly traffic with traffic of the web site that was trying to sell me SEO services. PostJobFree has 80 times more visitors.

Case closed.

Short Squeeze explained

For hobbyist investor it's tempting to short some stocks which seem to be priced outrageously high.
In the past I've heard the term "Short Squeeze", but did not really pay attention.
This article demonstrates one of the risks of shorting:

How Porsche hacked the financial system and made a killing

P.S.: In the end Porshe lost:
Porsche had sought to buy VW through complicated loan transactions that collapsed when the sports carmaker's liquidity dried up as a result of the credit crunch.