Last year, boxer Floyd Mayweather was the most popular search, followed by Kim Kardashian.

Floyd is actually the perfect example of a guy who used to be in the news maybe once a year. He’d have a fight and then disappear again. Now he’s posting photos of himself standing in front of his car collection, next to his private jet collection. [Social media and the internet] has really enabled celebrities to create a constant stream of publicity—he’s really almost a cartoonish figure at this point.

What do you make of the rise of lists that deal exclusively in personal fortunes, like the highly-antipicated Forbes Billionaire list or its competitor, Bloomberg Billionaires?

I think if you are really wealthy, it’s a little weird to care too much about where you rank on these kind of lists. If you have enough money to be tracked by us or by Forbes, you’re doing pretty well in your life. You should probably go focus on something else.

On the other hand, if you’re not wealthy, I think it’s a very natural human human need to organize data—the more data out there, the more demand to see some kind of representation to it numerically.

But can one learn anything from them, or are they purely for entertainment value?

One hundred years ago, if these lists had existed, you’d be wanting to start an oil company or a bank. That’s because these lists ultimately help show trends in the world, and how finance and the global economy is changing.

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