Category: Trends and Predictions
Investors often rely on charts and technical analysis to decide whether to buy or sell a stock. That means they focus less on the fundamental qualities of the company (say, whether sales are growing or it has a good CEO), and instead concentrate on the movements of its share price. If the chart is displaying a certain pattern — one that has been historically shown to foreshadow a rise in value — the investor will buy the stock.
Having spent my career deciphering stock charts as a financial journalist, I suppose it seemed natural to apply the same techniques when coming up with baby names. After all, the popularity of names tends to move in hundred-year cycles, and the same patterns repeat over and over again. That means you can spot a good name based on its chart alone.
It’s been noted before that one of the most striking trends when analyzing American baby names is the rise in popularity of boys’ names ending with the letter ‘n’ over the past few decades. What I haven’t seen is a visualization that truly demonstrates the scale of this phenomenon. And for a good reason; it’s difficult to show trends over time in 26 variables. So I made this animated GIF of bar graphs; pay attention to the ‘n’ after the mid-70s.
The other night a friend asked me what happens to kids with really strange names. Not made up names, or names with crazy spellings, he clarified. Names like Apple. Or Bartholomew. Names that make you do a double take when you spot them on the birth announcement. Names that make you say “Really?” when you should be saying “Congratulations!”
Nothing. Nothing happens.
Actually, everything happens – the kids grow up and have the same kinds of adventures and heartaches and triumphs and debacles that we all have from cradle to grave. Their name is part of their story, but even if their name is Clove or Cashel or Cordelia, it is only a part.