Securitization enables income streams of pooled loans, reducing overall risk to lenders. This spreads the risk of both prepayments and defaults, lowering the cost of credit. Background Denmark created pooled mortgages, called covered bonds, in 1850. Switzerland followed in 1930. In 1970 US government pseudo-agency Ginnie Mae (GNMA) created the first securitized pool of home […]


Spreadsheets simplify calculations and basic database work. Background During a lecture at Harvard Business School, in 1978, student Dan Bricklin watched his professor struggle to erase and rewrite cells in a blackboard-based ledger. Thinking about the newly popular Apple II computer Bricklin thought of a better way, a program that allowed users to enter and […]

Index Investment Funds

“Don’t look for the needle in the haystack. Just buy the haystack!” Index investment funds are simpler and vastly less expensive than individual stock picking. Firms mimic index funds which, themselves, are created to mimic market strength. Not only do 85 percent of hedge fund managers trail returns in the S&P 500 but also they […]

Automated Teller Machine (ATM)

Automated Teller Machines (ATM’s) dispense cash, take deposits, and perform other limited banking functions 24×7. In 1964, James Goodfellow patented and created a machine that used a punched card combined with a secret PIN. He built this out into a full-fledged ATM, filing a patent on May 2, 1966. Later ATM makers, including NCR, licensed […]

Barcodes & Universal Product Code (UPC)

Barcodes and UPC: Vastly sped checkout times. Reduced the number of staff and training required and the risk of the wrong price being rung. Increased the ability to electronically manage inventory, lowering carrying cost and spoilage risk. Enabled Just-In-Time ordering and itemized invoices. Transformed market research, enabling “big data” studies about items purchased together and […]

Venture Capital

“There have been many fine scientists desperately trying to become poor businessmen.” Georges Doriot Venture Capital pools resources and spreads risk and reward across multiple companies. This simplifies early-stage investing and makes early-stage investing more convenient for both investors and entrepreneurs. Background General Georges Doriot is the “father of venture capital.” In 1946, he created […]

Game Theory

Game theory serves as the foundation of systematized decisionmaking and modern economics. Indeed, Minimax game theory underlies modern economics and is responsible for countless economic insights, many of which won Nobel Prizes. Besides game theory, von Neumann eventually modeled the lenses behind the Los Alamos plutonium nuclear bomb. As a Jewish refugee from Europe whose […]

Niche Marketing

Walker, daughter of freed slaves, is the first self-made millionaire woman and the first self-made millionaire African American (maybe – tax returns suggest it was $600K but she did very well for herself). She invented beauty products for Black people. Walker was born in a sharecropper’s cabin. She is orphaned at seven. A freelance launderer, […]

Branch Banking

Branch banking allows ordinary people to utilize banks and theoretically makes banks safer since larger banks are less prone to catastrophic losses than smaller banks. Amadeo Pietro “A.P.” Giannini started life as a fruit wholesaler. He built and sold a large business, decided he was too young to retire, then innovated an entirely new type […]