You’re reading this year’s first Sunny Side Side Up edition. And it’s special because 2024 is a leap year. Now, we know that a leap year comes once every 4 years. But why do they even exist?
Well, the "1 year is 365 days" spiel is a lie. The Earth takes a little longer than 365 days to complete its orbit around the sun every year. About 5.8 hours more to be precise. But we like simplicity. So for the sake of our calendars, we round it down to 365 days.
But if we keep doing that, we’ll end up with a bit of a mess. The calendar year will be off by about one day after four years. This means that after 100 years, we’ll be behind the solar calendar by 25 days. As the gap widens, seasons won’t quite align with our months.
And people realized this way back in the day. So in 46 BCE, Julius Caeser, the very famous Roman emperor, decided to round off these 6 hours and add a day to February (which was the last day of the former Julian calendar) once every four years.
Simple enough, no?
But wait...there was another catch. See, by rounding up time yet again to 6 hours, it added an extra 600 seconds to the calendar. So to fix that hiccup, a German mathematician named Christopher Clavius, who lived in the 1500s, came up with yet another solution. He proposed that if a year were fully divisible by 4, it would be a leap year. Except if it were the beginning of a new century. So years like 1800, 1900, 2000 and so on would be leap years only if they were fully divisible by 400. That’s why 2000 was a leap year, but 1900, 1800 and 1700 weren't.
So, there you have it — an exception to the "every 4 years" rule, all to keep our calendars in sync with the marvellous dance of the Earth around the Sun!
Here’s a soundtrack to put you in the mood 🎵
Indigo by Dot.
With that easy listen out of the way, let’s dive in.
What caught our eye this week 👀
A retailer’s protest against PepsiCo
PepsiCo is in a weird situation. Carrefour, a French grocery chain, has banned all of PepsiCo’s products from its store shelves. Its reason?
The brand has been invisibly tinkering with the prices of its products. See, inflation is increasing PepsiCo’s manufacturing costs. But instead of directly raising the prices of its chips, oats, and fizzy beverages, it’s simply reducing the size of packs.
It’s called shrinkflation.
And it’s not just Pepsi. A lot of manufacturers around the world are resorting to the dirty trick. So don’t ask us why Carrefour is shaming just Pepsi. Brands are even using repackaging to divert buyers’ attention away from the fact that the new pack is actually smaller. But buyers are going to figure it out at some point anyway, just like they have now.
So is there a way brands can fix this?
Well, maybe. And the solution could actually be for them to do nothing. Here’s what we mean. See, big brands like Pepsi or Coke have a brand image. People associate their products with a certain level of taste and quality. So if they hike prices directly but slowly, customers may not really look for alternatives. Even if they try to, alternate brands aren’t immune to inflation either so their prices won’t be too different. It’s the simple concept of demand elasticity or how consumer demand changes based on change in the price.
But will brands dare to take the dreaded step? Well, now that the skrinkflation secret is out may be they have to.
Jargon of the day ✏️
This didn’t make the cut ✂️
What happens when all the Bitcoins in world get mined?
In our story on Friday, we told you that there are only 21 million Bitcoins that can be mined. They're in limited supply. But at that point did you wonder what would happen when all of these Bitcoins get mined? Well, we did.
So here’s the thing. Bitcoins are mined by creating and validating new sets of transactions or blocks. Every time a Bitcoin miner creates a new block they get rewarded in Bitcoins itself. But this reward or rather the number of bitcoins mined keep halving every once in four years.
For instance, when Bitcoins were first introduced in 2009, one new block could mine 50 Bitcoins. This has come down to 6.25 in 2020 and this year it’s going to halve again to 3.125. And that means, mining all 21 million of them will take some time. People predict that the year 2140 will be when that happens.
But, if the Bitcoins being awarded keeps halving, we'll end up in a situation where the rewards for mining will be extremely small. We'll reach a point where that number can't be halved any further. And technically, this means that all of the 21 million Bitcoins will never fully be mined.
But what will happen to the prices of Bitcoin in such a case? Well, 2140 is a long time away and we don't really need to worry about that now, do we?
Money tips 💰
The round off hack to save more in 2024
Saving money can be hard. But here’s a way to make it easier. See, if you’ve been reading our money tips for a long time, you know we stress a lot on budgeting and saving first before splurging. If you’ve gone by that and gotten used to creating budgets regularly, then here’s a way to make it even better.
Let’s say I make ₹10,000 a month. And I decide to budget ₹2,000 for groceries. Now, it’s sometimes possible that I don’t spend every Rupee of that budget. Maybe I didn’t need to use up all my grocery budget and spent only ₹1,700. What do I do with what’s remaining? It’ll probably be lying there in the bank account, waiting to be squandered soon.
But here’s what you can do. Use that ₹300 and other small little funds from other budgeted expenses to create a mini savings. Maybe you already have an SIP in a mutual fund. Just toss all of that extra money as a lumpsum into that fund whenever you save extra. It’s not going to pinch you at all. All you have to do is is round off your spends. In this context, assume you’ve spent all the ₹2,000. But in effect, you’re creating a mini savings pool alongside your regular one.
And hey, this may not be possible every time. So when it doesn’t happen don’t be harsh on yourself.
Readers Recommend 🗒️
Acquired | A podcast by Ben Gilbert and David Rosenthal
This week our reader Mayur Jethani recommends a podcast that tells you about the acquisition playbooks that built the world’s greatest companies including Nvidia, Nike, Costco and many more. These strategies could teach you a thing or two about entrepreneurship and investments.
Thanks for the rec, Mayur!
Finshots Weekly Quiz 🧩
It’s time to announce the winner of our previous weekly quiz. And the winner is…🥁
Naveen Sharma! Congratulations. Keep an eye on your inbox and we’ll get in touch with you soon to send over your Finshots merch. And for the rest of you, we’ve moved the weekly quiz to our weekly wrapup. So make sure you answer all the questions correctly and tune in here next week to check if you got lucky.
Until then, don’t forget to tell us what you thought of today’s newsletter. And send us your book, music, business movies, documentaries or podcast recommendations. We’ll feature them in the newsletter! Just hit reply to this email (or if you’re reading this on the web, drop us a message: email@example.com).
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