Consensus is an illusion.

If I’ve learned anything from studying a billion answers to 100,000 poll questions over 8 years, it’s that. People don’t agree on anything. 13% of Americans don’t like Doritos. 4% prefer the middle seat on a plane. 8% don’t like Tom Hanks. How could anyone not like Tom Hanks?

Some of my friends would say it’s more absurd that 40% of Americans approve of the job the president is doing. “Who are these people?” they ask.

And that’s the problem.

You might think you see consensus. You don’t. It’s a mirage, borne of whatever media and social bubble you’ve constructed around yourself. There are people we don’t know, worrying about things we don’t understand. That’s how we ended up here in the first place.

And that’s why we need trustable, objective polling data. Social media tells us what the most vocal people think. Conventional media tells us what we want to hear. It’s not real.

So, were building a polling app. We’ve been working on it for over a year. It’s in beta right now – and no, you can’t get an invite, so stop groveling. I’m not ready to show it to you.

The funny thing is, the simpler we make it, the better it does. There are no bells or whistles, no rewards or points, no games. Answer a question, see the results and a little nugget of insight. Answer another question, get another result. That’s it. But people keep answering.

Who knows if it will scale. The odds are terrible. It will compete with a gazillion other shiny objects all vying for your screen-share. Were not gambling our business on it, that’s for sure.

But we have to try. And if we don’t get it right, someone else has to. Otherwise, were all blind.

Here’s what were seeing right now – a real mix this week:

Consumer confidence had a tiny rebound. I don’t even want to get excited about this. Our Economic Sentiment Index basically just regained the losses it saw in our last two-week reading. People are feeling better about their personal finances and major purchases, likely because tax season is behind them. I’m more concerned that one indicator – confidence in the U.S. economy – continued to falter, reaching its lowest point since last October. Wait until rising gas prices start pinching people, come summer vacation season.

Don’t assume someone’s income is correlated to the quality of their education. There’s a ton of information in this report we wrote up this week. Here are the highlights: 86% of people are satisfied with the highest degree they earned. The higher the degree or the older they are, the more satisfied they are. College dropouts are the least happy. Most interesting is that people who are happiest with their education are more likely to make under $50,000/yr than they are to make 6-figures-plus. These are the things that give me hope for humanity.

Publishers seem to have stopped the spread of ad blockers in their tracks. We’ve seen a good old-fashioned plateau in ad blocker adoption among smartphone users. All of those ‘you-can’t-read-our-articles-unless-you-whitelist-us’ warnings from web publishers appear to have done the trick. Nicely done.

We can learn a lot from trends in cosmetic procedures. If it wasn’t for the awesome work she did on this report, I would lose my mind over a Millennial in this office mocking my fellow Gen Xers and our midlife crises. But she’s right. Gen Xers want to look more youthful. Rich people are more likely to want nose jobs. Stereotypes are a real time-saver.

In surprising Gen X news, my cohort hasn’t lost its love for video games. Some of my favorite college memories were spending days on end playing Tomb Raider and Madden in our fraternity house, with the ashtray piling up to the ceiling and McDonald’s wrappers carpeting the floor – which also explains the countless date-less weekends I had, incidentally. It turns out the Nintendo Switch is making my peer group nostalgic. Specifically, 35-44-year-olds make up a larger group of Switch owners than teenagers or college kids. OK, so maybe a lot of those super-cool Gen Xers are just buying them for their kids. But I’ll bet they’re playing too.

Look whose net brand sentiment has been improving appreciably since April 12th. Whoever can correctly guess why gets a free email from me next Saturday.

Random (Teeth) Stats of the Week

  • 72% of people have had their wisdom teeth removed (I’m in the 28)
  • 20% brush their teeth in the shower (Um, no)
  • 9% brush their teeth 3 or more times per day (Nope)
  • 39% show their teeth when they smile for pictures (Usually)
  • 29% don’t tell others when they have food stuck in their teeth (Always)
  • 47% let the faucet run while they brush their teeth (Nope)
  • 34% grind their teeth while they’re sleeping (that they know of)

Hoping you’re well.