Life

Understanding the Economics Behind Blind Dates

  ”I also got married and had a child. As someone who has experienced it, I think these may be the two biggest things that ordinary people can decide on their own in their lives. Of course, I understand the pressure on young people now, but I still recommend everyone to have children.” In a recent video, as a popular science blogger on finance and economics, Wen Yifei took the initiative to touch on social hot topics such as population aging, low birth rate, and low marriage rate. However, rational analysis has been misunderstood as promoting the old concept of raising children to guard against old age.
  ”I am basically not afraid of anyone’s ‘contradicting’ me now. This is the wealth left when I wrote popular science articles. It was already 8 years ago that I started to do science popularization. Looking back now, it seems like a lifetime.” Finance in Yuhang District, Hangzhou The city is far away from the urban area, but it is extremely prosperous, with high-rise buildings everywhere and bustling. In front of the floor-to-ceiling windows of the office, Wen Yifei sat relaxed. He was wearing glasses and a crisp suit. From 2015 to now, in the past 8 years, from Zhihu’s “Wen Da” to Douyin’s “Top Stream” with more than 12 million fans, he has followed the development track of China’s popular science content production, starting from scratch with pictures and texts, and using videos to fight “Vertical Screen Era”. The form carrier of science popularization is changing, but what remains unchanged is “the love for science popularization itself”.
Become a “University of Wenzhou”

  On the evening of March 7, 2015, at 53° north latitude, the sky was bright in Edmonton, Canada, and the temperature hovered below zero. In the administrative office of the University of Alberta, a young Chinese staff member calmly sent and received emails, answered inquiries, and sorted out materials. He had already handled the affairs properly in the morning. Glancing at the time, the young man turned off the computer, said goodbye to his colleagues, and walked at the same pace as usual, ending the same day as yesterday, except that tomorrow—the young man will really realize after 8 years—will be a brand new beginning .
  ”I had nothing to do after get off work that day, so I browsed on Zhihu, ‘Why do some people think that China after the Qin and Han Dynasties was not a feudal society’, I saw such a question and answered it casually.” Berta University, he has a background in economics and has frequent exchanges with academic circles, and he is also continuing to do research. “Some people think that there are two reasons why the Qin Dynasty is not a feudal society: land can be rented or sold, and land rights are valid. Social classes are mobile…” A short answer of 3 lines, 4 references are listed, and thousands of likes.

In 2015, Wen Yifei worked at the University of Alberta in Canada.

  ”At first I just wanted to make a record and organize it myself, but I didn’t expect that someone would watch it and have a deeper discussion with you. I think it’s very interesting.” Wen Yifei called it “power generation for love” when doing science popularization on Zhihu. His brain hole is getting bigger and bigger, and he constantly expands the scope of answers, adjusts his writing style, and updates the answering mode. Later, he gradually focused on economic issues, explaining economics in life in easy-to-understand, humorous language.
  Why year-end awards can always trigger people’s inner impulse to shop? Because the matter of getting money alone is not exciting enough, only when it is converted into an item and service through consumption can its utility be truly exerted, which makes people feel satisfied. But the sense of satisfaction will decrease as the number of consumption increases, which is the famous law of diminishing marginal utility.
  The emergence of the blind date market is an extremely rational economic phenomenon. The theoretical “perfect partner” may be thousands of miles away and will never meet you, so “search cost” is the greatest enemy of true love. The number of unmarried men and women filtered by the elders in the blind date market in a day may be more than the children can come into contact with in a year. Such a leap in productivity can be called the “industrial revolution” of the marriage market.
  Every supermarket is a hunting ground. You think you are the hunter, but you are actually the prey. The gates of supermarkets are often right-handed and left-handed, because most people are right-handed. This distribution structure is convenient for people to take things from the shelves; soothing music and bright decoration make people slow down and extend their stay unconsciously; high profit In the several rows of shelf areas, the floor tiles are of high-grade materials and patterns, and are slightly uneven, so that when customers push their carts past, they will subconsciously slow down. All these “scheming” designs are designed to create higher sales.
  Watching Wen Yifei use economics knowledge to explain life phenomena, it always makes people suddenly realize that it is so. Under the question “Who are the most impressive users of Zhihu in the past ten years”, someone left a message: One of the reasons why I stayed on Zhihu was Wen Yifei. In the era when Zhihu was full of big shots, he answered 8 out of 10 articles. In the article Zhihu Daily, he taught me economics with humorous language.
  ”I am very happy to see that what I do can influence others.” Wen Yifei also revealed, “There is a ‘routine’ for humorous praise: use a short story to introduce it, connect it with real life, in the middle is hard core science, and then Arouse the emotions of readers, and finally increase the value.”
  ”Wen Da” just stood there and went out of the circle. From 2015 to 2020, Wen Yifei gained more than 900,000 followers by virtue of his code creation, and became the top answerer in the field of popular science in economics.
  At this stage, he has not shed the twist that is exclusive to young people. “From the perspective of the number of fans, it is a relatively large volume, but there was almost no commercial cooperation until 2020. With a naive and pure psychology, I instinctively rejected the intervention of commercial capital, and I have always been cautious in doing things, keeping The purity of the content.” Wen Yifei recalled.

The creation of each video is based on the repeated polishing of the manuscript by Wen Yifei and his team.
open, relaxed

  This “purity” can be traced back to Wen Yifei’s student days. When he was an undergraduate, the reason why he chose economics was not because of “money and scenery”, but simply because “this is a very reasonable subject, the logic is particularly elegant, and everything is so self-consistent.” During his master’s degree, Wen Yifei continued his studies at the London School of Economics and Political Science, where he studied under Deng Gang, a famous professor of economic history. The high-intensity academic training allowed Wen Yifei to develop the ability to “understand one thing in a short period of time”, laying a solid foundation for future science popularization work.
  In 2020, Wen Yifei wanted to find something to do because he was idle at home due to the epidemic. At this time, the “vertical screen era” had already flourished, and he also took advantage of the trend and turned to video science popularization. Due to the accumulation of previous experience, the transition went smoothly beyond imagination. Within a month, Wen Yifei became popular again. “Blood loss of 200,000, the trip of the financial big V to overturn”, “Why I never bought Bitcoin”, “How the economic crisis turned salty fish over” and many other early water testing videos have accumulated an average of over one million views on Xigua Video. “The commentary is so humorous, I love it”, “It took me two days to understand this video”, “Follow decisively”, and the comment area received rave reviews.

  The form of video science popularization allows Wen Yifei to experience a sense of accomplishment different from that of graphic carriers. “What you see is only a three-to-five-minute video, but in fact there may be tens of thousands of words of material accumulation behind it. Graphic science popularization is more about self-cultivation. As the center, but video science popularization requires you to constantly dig out the needs of users, and the perspective has changed.” Wen Yifei explained.
  In the past two years, the 33-year-old Wen Yifei has more than 12 million fans and is already a “top financial blogger” on major video platforms. The minimum standard he has set for himself is to have more than 10 million views of each new video.
  ”I am surprised by the changes now. The job requirements are higher, but my state is more relaxed than before.” Wen Yifei said, “I never pursue the frequency of updates when making videos. Sometimes I am not afraid of not updating for half a month. Get lost, because you know that there are always people waiting to see your new content.” The sense of relaxation comes from certainty, “or whether it is maturity or compromise, I don’t know”, another change is that he no longer rejects commercialization, and accepts business Make orders, do promotion, recruit troops, and support a large group of people.
see ordinary people

  After transformation, Wen Yifei saw ordinary people. He always mentions in his videos that he is a blogger who likes to protect “economic novices”. Many people like to watch Wen Yifei’s videos. They are beginners in financial management, young people in small towns, white-collar workers who have just started working, or any ordinary people who are interested in economics. How do you define ordinary people? “There are still many people in China whose average monthly income is around 1,000 yuan, and they are the majority of ordinary people,” Wen Yifei said.
  Therefore, even though it touches on hot issues and is easy to be criticized by people who don’t know what they are, Wen Yifei still insists on “being a topic of concern to 100 million people” and still believes that “economics has warmth and humanistic care.” “Some people say that raising children to prevent old age is an ‘old-fashioned’ concept, but I really advise young people not to be blindly optimistic.” Wen Yifei adjusted his glasses, and calmly responded to the previous controversial issue, “After the 90s to the 00s, when selling labor It is the time when labor is most abundant. But under the social structure of low fertility rate, when they are old and need to buy labor and services, it is the most expensive time, so we must take precautions in advance. Population decline is irreversible, ordinary It is very important for people to recognize the macro trend.”
  ”Economic history looks at what happened to human beings from the time dimension of thousands of years, and you will find that even in the lowest period of the Great Depression, human beings can finally come out, relying on human nature. Tenacity, persistence for survival and development, this is the glorious side of human nature from the perspective of economic history.”
  Talking about China’s current science popularization ecology, Wen Yifei felt both “unlucky and lucky”. “Unfortunately, we have caught up with the generation with the most intense competition. We have to compete not only with science popularization peers, but also with young ladies who cook food, games, sing and dance, etc. These people compete for the attention of users. But At the same time, we are lucky, because an ordinary person like me can directly reach such a huge audience, which is unprecedented.” Wen Yifei paused, and then said, “So as long as our content can trigger social Even a little thought proves that our existence at least has not made the world worse.”

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