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Saturday, September 2, 2017


I thought I was one of the few people who had it down pat. I rarely look at my phone when I’m having a face to face conversation with someone. I don’t have the urge to scroll through my Facebook feed. Nor do I have the urge to post about everything I do. But, I’ve found myself grown addicted to something else that only my phone can give me. An escape from silence, from boredom, from the freedom that only “having nothing to do” can give me.

It creeped up on me slowly. I didn’t realize it had taken over me, controlling what I see, hear, and feel, almost every second I’m awake. But I suddently realized that I was trying to fill every silent second with something, anything. When I got into the elevator, the overwhelming silence during the 10 seconds it took to go up to my floor was too much. The walk from my room to the laundry room couldn’t be done without the company of music played on my phone. The ride on the Underground to work definitely needed a background noise to escape from the uncomfortableness of riding on the tube. Boredom had to be annihilated.


And it’s not just me. We are growing and living as generations who are afraid of silence, afraid of boredom, afraid of the thoughts — or lack thereof — that would come if we were to just be. To absorb in the sensory inputs of our surroudings rather than that of our phones. To engage with the people around us rather than with the virtual personas on social media. To be grateful for every second that we take a breath rather than to wish the time to go by faster until the next gratification.


So what? I’m concerned that if we continue down this path, we’ll end up nurturing generations who will have forgotten how to be humans. As the most social animals on planet Earth, we rely on social interactions to build trust, to learn, to find meaning, to discover the treasures of the world.

But, if we move on towards the path of self-imposed isolation in the real world, we will find ourselves with higher tendencies towards anti-social behaviour and increasing dependency on external valdiations.

We will lose the creativity and the inspiration that can only come during moments of boredom. During moments of when we have nothing to distract us, except the ingenuity of our minds, of our ability to think, to self-reflect, and to explore with the limitless capabilities of our imagination. These are things that are unique to humans. Yet, we’re simply throwing it out like last week’s leftovers, or sidestepping it like a skunk on the road.


I want to unshackle myself from the virtual and psychological chains created by my phone. I want to to retain my humanity before it becomes lost in the Cloud. I want reconnect with my physical surroundings and the people around me. I want my boredom back.

What steps are you taking to get your boredom back?

Wednesday, March 15, 2017



Every year, March 20th is the International Day of Happiness. It was created in 2012 by the United Nations to better understand and celebrate our universal human right to be happy. But what is happiness and where is it hiding?

What is happiness?

When was the last time you were happy?  What comes to mind?  Is it a specific moment in time or a period spanning days, months, or years when troubles stayed at bay?  The distinction is important, because the former isn't happiness.  Come to think of it, the latter isn't necessarily happiness either.

So what the hell is happiness? It depends on who you ask.

Ask Aristotle and he'll tell you happiness is broken into two parts:



Probe a neurologist, and you'll probably get a list of chemicals associated with happiness:



Question, say positive psychologist Martin Seligman in 2002, and you may get something like this:




Question him again in 2011, and you'll get a slightly different answer:




In short, Seligman's original model captured three broad areas of what he believed happiness consisted of:

  1. Positive emotion is what it sounds like, i.e., our feelings of pleasure, comfort, warmth, etc.
  2. Engagement is when we lose ourselves in whatever we're doing, i.e., "being in the flow"
  3. Meaning happens when we feel like we belong or contribute to something larger than ourselves

But nearly a decade later, Seligman expanded his model to capture the broader concept of well-being by adding in two additional elements:

  1. Accomplishment is the winning for the sake of winning rather than for any other purpose
  2. Positive relationships highlight the point that other people matter and that rarely is the pursuit of happiness a solitary journey

Let's try Merriam-Webster. You'll get a pithy definition:


a state of well-being and contentment

This is getting out of hand.  Maybe it'll be easier if we try defining what happiness is not:

  • Happiness is not a fleeting emotion
  • Happiness is not like a child on a sugar high, it is not jumping from one moment of joy to another
  • Happiness doesn't exclude feelings of discomfort, frustration, and anger
  • Happiness is not having a billion dollars, although a minimum amount to meet basic needs like food and shelter is instrumental
That seems like a manageable list.

While the content of what makes each person happy will vary, it is generally agreed that happiness is sense of contentment and satisfaction with life. For me, this is what happiness means:

Even on the worst of days, on days when the sky pours, when the tides seem to push every which way but the way I want to go, and those closest to me seem like distant strangers, I find comfort that it will always get better. Perhaps more importantly, even on the best of days, on days when I laugh until it hurts, when the sunshine lights my path and the wind cools me down from the summer heat, I know that it won't last.

Wait now. Doesn't the first part make me a naive optimist and the second part a Debby Downer? For me there is a difference between naive optimism and "informed optimism" as Michael J Fox puts it. Informed optimism, to quote Christopher Reeve, is "the product of knowledge and the projection of where the knowledge can take us" (technically, he termed it "hope"). So happiness isn't blindly believing that the future will be better, but acknowledging that there's nothing in life that is inherently against me and that things have been better in the past and there's no reason why they shouldn't be again (so long as I choose to do something to make that change happen).

On the latter point, being conscious of the ephemeral nature of the good days forces me to remain in the present and thankful for what I do have rather than wistful for what I don't. This takes practice - and a lot of willpower - but over time, I've discovered it is slowly resetting my senses and at the same time, strengthened my core relationships.  

Whether you agree with any of the above or not, it's important to know what happiness means to you. Without a clear understanding of what we want to achieve or where we want to go, it's easy to become the hamster running in circles on the wheel that goes round and round.

Why is being happy important?

This sounds like a rhetorical question, but perhaps not so if you're cynical, pessimistic and tend to see the glass as half empty.  Besides the obvious (i.e., being happy just feels better), a plethora of research has shown that happiness is associated with healthier and longer lives. Similarly, sustained stress and anxiety is associated with systemic inflammation, heart disease, and diabetes.

In a longitudinal study of 6,000+ men and women between the ages of 25-74, a Harvard School of Public Health professor found that:

emotional vitality—a sense of enthusiasm, of hopefulness, of engagement in life, and the ability to face life’s stresses with emotional balance—appears to reduce the risk of coronary heart disease. The protective effect was distinct and measurable, even when taking into account such wholesome behaviors as not smoking and regular exercise.

How happy is the world?

Now that we've landed on a somewhat concrete answer to what happiness is, let's see how the world is doing on.  The United Nations Sustainable Development Solutions Network publishes the World Happiness Report, which asks respondents to think of a ladder, with the best possible life being a 10, and the worst possible life being a 0. They then rate their own current lives on that scale.

Here, I've average the results from the years 2012 and 2013 and compared it to the average of 2014 and 2015. While inter-country comparison on absolute happiness levels is difficult to do, we can look at the change in happiness. On this, most of North and Latin America seem to have witnessed the largest drop in happiness, while Asia, the Middle East, and Africa saw the largest uplift.

However, the picture looks a little bit more drab if we add in the standard deviation of responses within each country. Against the rise in average happiness level, Asia, the Middle East, and Africa have also seen a much larger percentage increase in the standard deviation in responses. In other words, higher inequality in terms of happiness. 




How can you be happier?

What is the meaning of life? How many licks does it take to get to the center of a tootsie pop? Which came first, the chicken or the egg? I pose these questions because like "How can you be happier," the answers tend to start off with "It depends..." The elements that make each of us happy are shaped by our environments and the influences that shape our views of what life is, what life ought to be and what life can be. Nevertheless, philosophers and scientists alike have tried to tackle this question.

Take our stoic friends from the Hellenistic period who essentially believed that happiness lies within our control. 

One core principle of stoicism is embodied by what Epictetus once said:

Man is disturbed not by things, but by the views he takes of them.

In other words, it is not the event or the person - be it the loss of a loved one or winning the lottery - that is responsible for our happiness, sorrow, anger, or any emotion. Rather, it is how we perceive the event and the judgment we apply to it. To the Stoics, it is our mind, specifically our ability to reason, that allows us to overcome these emotions and the urges of the body. Perhaps that's what Shakespeare also meant in Hamlet:

...nothing is good or bad, only thinking makes it so

Let's speak to our neurologist friends again to see how we can unlock those happiness chemicals.


Coming back to the psychologists, we'll similarly get a different perspective. 

There are many models that try to explain what makes people happy, but common elements include:

  • Autonomy: our ability to make choices of our own free will and without being coerced 
  • Meaning and purpose: our feelings of making an impact in the world or in something larger than ourselves
  • Belonging and social relationships: our feelings of connection with others, a not too dissimilar concept to level 3 of Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs
  • Gratitude: our thankfulness for the tangibles and intangibles in our lives

Often not discussed is the balance between these elements and how to marry them together. For example, how much autonomy is needed and how much is too much? In a 2016 study, researchers found a tug of war between autonomy and gratitude. Higher autonomous individuals valued gratitude less, likely because they viewed it as a form of reliance or indebtedness to whoever they're supposed to be grateful to.

Let's return to the team at the World Happiness Report.

They looked at how each of 6 variables - levels of GDP, life expectancy, generosity, social support, freedom, and corruption - contribute to the level of happiness measured in each country between 2013-2015. In the chart below, you'll find which variable had the largest explanatory power for the countries covered.

GDP per capita is by far the predominant variable with the largest explanatory power. However, even then, it explains at most ~29% (in Qatar). If you hover over each country, there is a "% Dystopia" line, which is the amount that is left unexplained by these 6 variables. So, there's still a lot left to unlock from the black box that is happiness.


Holy cow. That's a lot to take in.  

It looks like everyone does have a different view, each of which is right in its own regards. Yet, at the end of the day, it comes back to you. It comes back to unraveling what happiness means to you, a definition that frees you from the confines and dependencies of externalities, a definition that leaves you in the driver's seat rather than in the backseat.

My definition of happiness and how to achieve it has evolved in maturity, specificity, and focus over time. No doubt it'll continue to do so, because if it didn't, that'd mean I've become once again the hamster on the wheel that goes round and round. Here is where I stand at the moment:
Happiness is leading an authentic and conscious life through which I can articulate the values and principles important to me. It is finding meaning, purpose, and impact in what I dedicate my time towards, and doing so with conviction. Happiness is not having an answer to the question, "What do I want to do when I grow up?" because it implicitly assumes I will "grow up" at one time or another. I believe life is a series of experiments that together add up to a lifelong adventure. This means never "growing up" and always seeking to find opportunities to learn, to explore, to feel discomfort, and to find the nugget of joy within the frustrations that are as guaranteed in life as the rising and setting of the sun.
Let's pull this together.

  • Everyone and their mothers have a different definition of what happiness is, but there are clear things on what happiness is not - e.g., it doesn't mean never having moments of discomfort or frustration
  • Happiness is important because it's associated with healthier and longer lives, while its counterpart is associated with heart disease and nasties
  • If you feel like your level of happiness has declined, you're not alone - it's dropped in many areas of the world as have the intra-country distributions
  • What will make you happier will depend on what happiness means to you - but the key is to recognize that it is largely within your control, so wrest it over and take action today


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Other sources
https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/the-athletes-way/201211/the-neurochemicals-happiness
http://www.slideshare.net/ISBD/using-wellness-scales-in-clinical-practice-a-collaborative-care-model-for-health-wellness
https://www.authentichappiness.sas.upenn.edu/newsletters/flourishnewsletters/newtheory
https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/news/magazine/happiness-stress-heart-disease/
http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s10902-006-9042-1
https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/theory-knowledge/201405/six-domains-psychological-well-being
https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/happiness-in-world/201205/the-desire-autonomy
http://www.health.harvard.edu/healthbeat/giving-thanks-can-make-you-happier

Sunday, February 5, 2017



Timișoara. It's like walking into a scene straight from Hollywood. I think I'm going crazy as thematic music plays each time I walk into one of the public squares. But as I look around, I see the men, dressed in their winter coats, playing the violin or strumming the guitar. They're playing only to a handful of people as it's winter and the tourist crowds have gone into hibernation. 

Roaming the city, I discover the pigeons that guard the landmarks of western Romania's economic and cultural capital. I devour gastronomic delights without losing an arm and a leg. And I witness the bubbling frustration of anti-corruption protesters as they rally in front of the National Opera.






Saturday, January 28, 2017

The rate of new business formation has not been quite the same since the 2008 financial crisis. Take the United States as an example – the number of new startups in 2007 was over 500,000, dropping a whopping 20% to a tad over 400,000 in 2012. However, there are signs of a slow recovery, with the United Kingdom experiencing the largest rebound amongst OECD countries. If you are thinking about riding this rebound wave to kick start your own business, where should you do it?

To answer this, let’s start by looking at what is important to any founder:
  • Ease of doing business: Will you be swept up in complicated regulations and onerous steps just to get registered?
  • Quality of labour: Is the workforce trained by a well-developed math and science education system and do the labour regulations favour flexibility?
  • Technology readiness: How ready is the country ready for a digital economy and how connected is the population?
  • Funding: How available is venture capital?
  • Quality of life: Will you have to live off of ramen noodles or will you still be able to afford things such as real food and vegetables? And how happy are the people who live there?
While the above by no means cover every aspect of what an entrepreneur should consider when launching a business, it is a start. So, let’s get crackin’!

Ease of doing business

The World Bank’s annual Doing Business rankings look at 190 economies, measuring 10 dimensions of each economy’s business regulatory environment (see the bottom of this post, Figure 1, for more details).

The dimension-specific rankings are based on how far each economy is from the “frontier,” which is fancy speak for how far the economy is from the best performer on each of the dimensions. In the graph below, you'll see which performance quartile each country fell in, broken up by region. Not surprisingly, the advanced economies dominate the first quartile. Developing and emerging Europe and LatAm have a strong presence in the second quartile grouping.

20877666554333322111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111Albania 1AlbaniaAlgeria 1AlgeriaArgentina 1ArgentinaArmenia 1ArmeniaAustralia 1AustraliaAustria 1AustriaAzerbaijan 1AzerbaijanBahrain 1BahrainBangladesh 1BangladeshBelgium 1BelgiumBolivia 1BoliviaBosnia and Herzegovina 1Bosnia and HerzegovinaBotswana 1BotswanaBrazil 1BrazilBulgaria 1BulgariaCambodia 1CambodiaCanada 1CanadaChile 1ChileChina 1ChinaColombia 1ColombiaCosta Rica 1Costa RicaCroatia 1CroatiaCyprus 1CyprusCzech Republic 1Czech RepublicDenmark 1DenmarkDominican Republic 1Dominican RepublicEcuador 1EcuadorEl Salvador 1El SalvadorEstonia 1EstoniaEthiopia 1EthiopiaFinland 1FinlandFrance 1FranceGeorgia 1GeorgiaGermany 1GermanyGhana 1GhanaGreece 1GreeceGuatemala 1GuatemalaHonduras 1HondurasHungary 1HungaryIndia 1IndiaIndonesia 1IndonesiaIreland 1IrelandIsrael 1IsraelItaly 1ItalyJamaica 1JamaicaJapan 1JapanJordan 1JordanKazakhstan 1KazakhstanKenya 1KenyaKuwait 1KuwaitLatvia 1LatviaLebanon 1LebanonLithuania 1LithuaniaLuxembourg 1LuxembourgMalaysia 1MalaysiaMalta 1MaltaMauritius 1MauritiusMexico 1MexicoMoldova 1MoldovaMontenegro 1MontenegroMorocco 1MoroccoNamibia 1NamibiaNepal 1NepalNetherlands 1NetherlandsNew Zealand 1New ZealandNigeria 1NigeriaNorway 1NorwayPakistan 1PakistanPanama 1PanamaPeru 1PeruPhilippines 1PhilippinesPoland 1PolandPortugal 1PortugalQatar 1QatarRomania 1RomaniaSaudi Arabia 1Saudi ArabiaSerbia 1SerbiaSingapore 1SingaporeSlovenia 1SloveniaSouth Africa 1South AfricaSpain 1SpainSri Lanka 1Sri LankaSweden 1SwedenSwitzerland 1SwitzerlandTanzania 1TanzaniaThailand 1ThailandTunisia 1TunisiaTurkey 1TurkeyUkraine 1UkraineUnited Arab Emirates 1United Arab EmiratesUnited Kingdom 1United KingdomUnited States 1United StatesUruguay 1UruguayVietnam 1VietnamZambia 1ZambiaZimbabwe 1Zimbabwe1 2412 2423 2434 244Advanced economies 31Advanced economiesCommonwealth of Independent States 6Commonwealth of Independent StatesEmerging and Developing Asia 11Emerging and Developing AsiaEmerging and Developing Europe 10Emerging and Developing EuropeLatin America and the Caribbean 16Latin America and the CaribbeanMiddle East, North Africa, and Pakistan 11Middle East, North Africa, and PakistanSub-Saharan Africa 11Sub-Saharan Africa

Labour

Now let’s go to labour. Specifically, how well-developed is the science and math educational system that’s training the country’s workforce, and how easy is it for workers and companies to find their perfect matches? After all, people in general want to be incentivized appropriately and companies don’t want to be stuck with employees they don’t need. As you can see from the graph below, there's much more regional divergence in this category compared to the chart above - specifically in emerging and developing Europe, MENA, and Sub-Saharan Africa.

201286554443333322222111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111Albania 1AlbaniaAlgeria 1AlgeriaArgentina 1ArgentinaArmenia 1ArmeniaAustralia 1AustraliaAustria 1AustriaAzerbaijan 1AzerbaijanBahrain 1BahrainBangladesh 1BangladeshBelgium 1BelgiumBolivia 1BoliviaBosnia and Herzegovina 1Bosnia and HerzegovinaBotswana 1BotswanaBrazil 1BrazilBulgaria 1BulgariaCambodia 1CambodiaCanada 1CanadaChile 1ChileChina 1ChinaColombia 1ColombiaCosta Rica 1Costa RicaCroatia 1CroatiaCyprus 1CyprusCzech Republic 1Czech RepublicDenmark 1DenmarkDominican Republic 1Dominican RepublicEcuador 1EcuadorEl Salvador 1El SalvadorEstonia 1EstoniaEthiopia 1EthiopiaFinland 1FinlandFrance 1FranceGeorgia 1GeorgiaGermany 1GermanyGhana 1GhanaGreece 1GreeceGuatemala 1GuatemalaHonduras 1HondurasHungary 1HungaryIndia 1IndiaIndonesia 1IndonesiaIreland 1IrelandIsrael 1IsraelItaly 1ItalyJamaica 1JamaicaJapan 1JapanJordan 1JordanKazakhstan 1KazakhstanKenya 1KenyaKuwait 1KuwaitLatvia 1LatviaLebanon 1LebanonLithuania 1LithuaniaLuxembourg 1LuxembourgMalaysia 1MalaysiaMalta 1MaltaMauritius 1MauritiusMexico 1MexicoMoldova 1MoldovaMontenegro 1MontenegroMorocco 1MoroccoNamibia 1NamibiaNepal 1NepalNetherlands 1NetherlandsNew Zealand 1New ZealandNigeria 1NigeriaNorway 1NorwayPakistan 1PakistanPanama 1PanamaPeru 1PeruPhilippines 1PhilippinesPoland 1PolandPortugal 1PortugalQatar 1QatarRomania 1RomaniaSaudi Arabia 1Saudi ArabiaSerbia 1SerbiaSingapore 1SingaporeSlovenia 1SloveniaSouth Africa 1South AfricaSpain 1SpainSri Lanka 1Sri LankaSweden 1SwedenSwitzerland 1SwitzerlandTanzania 1TanzaniaThailand 1ThailandTunisia 1TunisiaTurkey 1TurkeyUkraine 1UkraineUnited Arab Emirates 1United Arab EmiratesUnited Kingdom 1United KingdomUnited States 1United StatesUruguay 1UruguayVietnam 1VietnamZambia 1ZambiaZimbabwe 1Zimbabwe1 2412 2423 2434 244Advanced economies 31Advanced economiesCommonwealth of Independent States 6Commonwealth of Independent StatesEmerging and Developing Asia 11Emerging and Developing AsiaEmerging and Developing Europe 10Emerging and Developing EuropeLatin America and the Caribbean 16Latin America and the CaribbeanMiddle East, North Africa, and Pakistan 11Middle East, North Africa, and PakistanSub-Saharan Africa 11Sub-Saharan Africa


Tech readiness

The world is increasingly more and more digital, and so are the businesses that power it. But, countries are not equally set up to go digital. Let’s look at what I’ll call “tech readiness” – i.e., what is the availability of the latest technologies (1), how readily do businesses adopt new technologies (1), what percentage of the population uses the Internet, and what are the subscription rates for fixed broadband and mobile broadband.




Venture capital availability

Of course, the above is no good if you’re planning on a big scale up and there’s no financial resources to help you do so. The data below from the World Economic Forum captures how easy it is for entrepreneurs to find venture capital.







Albania: 1AlbaniaBosnia: 1BosniaBulgaria: 1BulgariaCroatia: 1CroatiaHungary: 1HungaryMontenegro: 1MontenegroPoland: 1PolandRomania: 1RomaniaSerbia: 1SerbiaTurkey: 1TurkeyAlgeria: 1AlgeriaBahrain: 1BahrainJordan: 1JordanKuwait: 1KuwaitLebanon: 1LebanonMorocco: 1MoroccoPakistan: 1PakistanQatar: 1QatarSaudi Arabia: 1Saudi ArabiaTunisia: 1TunisiaUAE: 1UAEArgentina: 1ArgentinaBolivia: 1BoliviaBrazil: 1BrazilChile: 1ChileColombia: 1ColombiaCosta Rica: 1Costa RicaDominican Rep.: 1Dominican Rep.Ecuador: 1EcuadorEl Salvador: 1El SalvadorGuatemala: 1GuatemalaHonduras: 1HondurasJamaica: 1JamaicaMexico: 1MexicoPanama: 1PanamaPeru: 1PeruUruguay: 1UruguayArmenia: 1ArmeniaAzerbaijan: 1AzerbaijanGeorgia: 1GeorgiaKazak.: 1Kazak.Moldova: 1MoldovaUkraine: 1UkraineAustralia: 1AustraliaAustria: 1AustriaBelgium: 1BelgiumCanada: 1CanadaCyprus: 1CyprusCzech Republic: 1Czech RepublicDenmark: 1DenmarkEstonia: 1EstoniaFinland: 1FinlandFrance: 1FranceGermany: 1GermanyGreece: 1GreeceIreland: 1IrelandIsrael: 1IsraelItaly: 1ItalyJapan: 1JapanLatvia: 1LatviaLithuania: 1LithuaniaLuxembourg: 1LuxembourgMalta: 1MaltaNetherlands: 1NetherlandsNew Zealand: 1New ZealandNorway: 1NorwayPortugal: 1PortugalSingapore: 1SingaporeSlovenia: 1SloveniaSpain: 1SpainSweden: 1SwedenSwitz.: 1Switz.UK: 1UKUSA: 1USABangladesh: 1BangladeshCambodia: 1CambodiaChina: 1ChinaIndia: 1IndiaIndonesia: 1IndonesiaMalaysia: 1MalaysiaNepal: 1NepalPhilip.: 1Philip.Sri Lanka: 1Sri LankaThailand: 1ThailandVietnam: 1VietnamBotswana: 1BotswanaEthiopia: 1EthiopiaGhana: 1GhanaKenya: 1KenyaMauritius: 1MauritiusNamibia: 1NamibiaNigeria: 1NigeriaS. Africa: 1S. AfricaTanzania: 1TanzaniaZambia: 1ZambiaZimb.: 1Zimb.

Quality of life

Perhaps what’s most important is the quality of life – i.e. how happy are the people who live there and how much does it cost to have a decent standard of living (2)?

The chart below graphs each country's ranking on these two metrics - the x-axis is cost of living and the y-axis is the World Happiness index. For both, the lower the number, the better the country performance.

There does look like a correlation between income status and happiness, which isn't surprising as previous data crunchers have found. However, there is quite the spread within each income group - take for example, Japan and Luxembourg. Both are in the same ballpark in terms of cost of living, but almost night and day in terms of how happy their citizens are.



Summary

Okay, let's sum it all up now. The chart below shows the top 10 country rankings (with equal ratings on each metric) and their breakout quartile rankings across the 5 broad dimensions discussed above. So, where are you moving to next?


NOTES

Figure 1
(1) In its Executive Opinion Survey, The World Economic Forum asks:
  • In your country, to what extent are the latest technologies available? [1 = not available at all; 7 = widley available] 
  • In your country, to what extent do businesses adopt new technology? [1 = not at all; 7 = adopt extensively]
  • In your country, how easy is it for entrepreneurs with innovative but risky projects to find venture capital? (1 = very difficult; 7 = very easy).
(2) The World Happiness Report asks a sample of 1000 people in each country a simple question – Think of a ladder, with the best possible life being a 10, and the worst possible life being a 0. Rate your current life on that 0 to 10 scale. On costs, Numbeo is a large user-contributed database of various city-specific data, including various costs of living.