A life ordinary by Amit Sarkar - Issue #17

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Amit Sarkar
Amit Sarkar
Hello friends,
Welcome to another edition of my newsletter.
This week I went to many interesting places. The first place I visited was Newlands Corner which is basically an amazing viewpoint. The second place I visited was the beautiful Mote Park which has a central lake and a paved road to walk all around the park. And the third place I visited was Coldrum Long Barrow which again had amazing views of farmlands and hills and is almost 1000 years older than Stonehenge.
I also ran and cycled this week. I did my regular 5K Bromley Parkrun and cycled all the way to Ide Hill and back from my home, a 40 km route with an elevation gain of 769m.
And last but not least I heard some amazing speeches by India’s PM, Narendra Modi. At 72, he gives his speeches without using a teleprompter or seeing any notes. It’s all from his mind and boy can he inspire. Since Modi became India’s PM, he has completely transformed India’s image on the global stage. He has introduced many policies and is slowly working towards making India a developed nation. India has become the 5th largest economy in the world just ahead of the UK. Some of India’s achievements can be seen in these infographics.

🌏 Earth's energy budget
What is Earth’s Energy Budget? Five Questions with a Guy Who Knows | NASA
Earth’s energy budget describes the balance between the radiant energy that reaches Earth from the sun and the energy that flows from Earth back out to space. Energy from the sun is mostly in the visible portion of the electromagnetic spectrum. About 30 per cent of the sun’s incoming energy is reflected back to space by clouds, atmospheric molecules, tiny suspended particles called aerosols, and the Earth’s land, snow and ice surfaces. The Earth system also emits thermal radiant energy to space mainly in the infrared part of the electromagnetic spectrum. The intensity of thermal emission from a surface depends upon its temperature.
As climate change hangs over our heads, it is important to understand certain basic things. One of them is Earth’s energy budget.
Based on how much energy we receive from the sun, how much energy is radiated back by earth and how much energy is retained, we can estimate whether Earth’s temperature would increase or decrease over a period of time.
This is very important to understand if we want to know why global warming is occurring so rapidly and how much have humans increased that rate of warming.
💳 Credit Reference Agencies
A friend of mine recently spoke about his new mortgage and I asked if he knew his credit score. He said he knew about Experian but nothing more.
So I thought many of you may not know about Credit Reference Agencies (CRAs) in the UK and what they track to generate your credit score. My friend has been living in the UK for 3 years now with no clue about these.
The main four UK Credit Reference Agencies are Equifax, Experian, TransUnion, and Crediva. They report both public and credit-related information about individuals, from a variety of sources. This information (known as your Credit Report) will be provided to prospective lenders, landlords and employers upon request to help them verify your identity and, in the case of lending, determine your creditworthiness and likelihood of defaulting on payments.
As the Credit Reference Agencies are separate organisations, they record and update information independently from one another. As such, your information at each agency will likely be different, meaning you have four separate Credit Reports – one from each agency.
Below are some of the things (but not limited to) that CRAs consider while generating your credit report and providing you with a score -
  • Payment history (including missed payments)
  • Borrowing (credit cards, loans, mortgages)
  • Credit card utilization
  • Total credit card limits
  • Credit card cash withdrawals
  • Active accounts (bank accounts, credit cards, loan, mortgage, telecom, utility)
  • Hard searches - When you apply for credit
  • Soft searches - When you browse for credit products or check your credit report
  • Address history
  • Financial connections (joint bank accounts, joint mortgages)
  • Time on the electoral roll
  • Debt collector searches
  • Repossessions
  • Outstanding legal action (County Court Judgments, etc.)
  • Bankruptcies
  • Cifas warning (victim of identity fraud)
I have been personally tracking my credit score for free for the last 7 years using one of these apps -
  • ClearScore - Use this to check your Equifax credit score (out of 1000) and report for free.
  • Credit Karma, Moneysupermarket Credit Monitor or TotallyMoney - Use these to check your TransUnion credit score (out of 710) and report for free.
  • MSE Credit Club - Use this to check your Experian credit score (out of 999) and report for free.
  • checkmyfile - Use this to check your credit score and report from all Credit Reference Agencies (including Crediva) in one place. This is a paid app with a trial option (for free).
I have personally used all of these products and can vouch for them. My go-to apps though are ClearScore, Credit Karma, and MSE Credit Club.
🧠 Generative AI
Generative AI is simply AI that generates new content like images, videos, music, code, etc. It is an upcoming area where AI can augment human creativity and enhance content output.
The most significant consequence of the internet was that it pushed distribution costs to zero. The most significant consequence of AI is that it will push creation costs to zero
Some examples of AI that generates content are mentioned below -
Text
Code
Text-to-Image
Tasks
Apps
Text-to-Video
Protein folding
Generative AI is well on the way to becoming not just faster and cheaper, but better in some cases than what humans create by hand. Every industry that requires humans to create original work—from social media to gaming, advertising to architecture, coding to graphic design, product design to law, marketing to sales - is up for reinvention.
There are still many other applications and companies that are working on creating new types of content using AI and it is a very exciting field to watch out for.
🎙️ Podcast
Last week I heard 3 episodes from the podcast The Diary of a CEO by Steven Bartlett.
In the first podcast episode, Steven interviewed the Classpass co-founder Payal Kadakia. Payal’s journey to entrepreneurship was very impulsive, from what I could make. She started Classpass (similar to OpenTable) and revolutionised a space that had no competition. She then went on to leave the company and start something else and also write a book. I came to know about Classpass from my wife who had used it for some of her classes.
In the second podcast episode, Steven interviewed the Starling Bank founder Anne Boden. Anne created a bank (digital only) from scratch at the age of 54. She is a very unconventional entrepreneur who never gave up against all odds. I have personally used Starling since 2018 and am a huge fan of their card, especially for international travel where their transaction limits are the best. It beats every bank in the UK when it comes to international transactions and cash withdrawals. She also wrote a book Banking on It to tell her story. And how Monzo team came out of Starling. Being a woman it was hard for her to convince people to invest in her company, especially when she wanted to start a new bank from scratch.
In the third podcast episode, Steven interviewed Monzo co-founder Tom Blomfield. Tom actually was hired by Anne Boden to help her with Starling Bank and due to some dramatic circumstances, he resigned along with all his other colleagues, who were fired by Anne. He then went on to start Monzo and made it a very successful bank. Its orange card is the most recognizable card in London. He talks about how stressful it is when your company grows big from 100s of employees to 1000s of employees. Startups have their own challenges and getting funding is the biggest challenge of all. I have also used Monzo in the past but now I solely use Starling and Chase.
All 3 podcasts had a similar theme. Everyone was deeply connected to their start-up and didn’t have time for anything else. They all had no time for relationships and their only relationship was with their work. They all had to struggle initially in their start-up journey. They all ticked boxes, when it came to achieving things in life - like a degree, and a successful career. They were all determined to succeed. And they all became really really successful.
Thank you so much once again for reading my newsletter this week. Please feel free to Buy me a coffee if you are enjoying what I am sharing.
Until we meet again next week, please stay warm, create more, monitor your credit score, and play more.
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Amit Sarkar
Amit Sarkar @amit_Sarkar007

Newsletters are the new form of blogging where instead of you coming to the blog, the blog comes to you. Every week I will aim to publish my newsletter to talk about things I have done, read, heard or watched. The idea behind this newsletter is to talk about my ordinary life in the hope that you might find something interesting in it.

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Bromley, Greater London, United Kingdom