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1 Billion Dollars Illustrated with Rice

There was a viral video that emerged from this TikTok app that has been gaining notoriety. If you do not know what all the TikTok hype is about, simply put, you can view, create and share videos with hit soundtracks. Launched in 2016 by startup ByteDance in China, where it’s known as Douyin and currently valued at 75 billion.

With the majority of the TikTok users being a younger demographic, “In the U.S., 60% of the app’s monthly active users are 16-to 24-year-olds and 52% are iPhone users.” 2 With the ease of creating their own music videos, funny clips, corporations. Hollister, Mucinex, Kool-Aid, are also finding their way on the platform. There are also financial ecommerce consultants and entrepreneurs, like Humphrey Yang from Silicon Valley who had his latest video to go viral on TikTok, and for good reason.

Using grains of rice, we visually see the vast difference between 1 million and billion.

Set Out to Experiment

Like a meticulous science experiment, Mr. Yang set out to demonstrate the amount of money a pile of rice can illustrate. Using 1 grain of rice to represent $100k, 10 grains of rice represent $1 million. He then spent one his Saturday nights counting 10,000 grains of rice to represent $1 billion dollars.

Mr. Yang’s experiment doesn’t just end there. After showing what 100k looks to 1 billion, using 1-rice grain to his 100k scale. He sets out to show what 122 billion dollars would look like. He matches the equivalence of Jeff Bezos’ current net worth.

The results will blow your mind. Looking at the representation of what 100k is compared to 1 billion is already very convincing but when Yang uses 58 lbs. of rice to show the equivalent of 122 billion dollars, is when your jaw hits the floor.

The Measure of Wealth

The measure of wealth is almost insurmountable in our minds. Mr. Yang’s experiment helps us see how stratified the wealth is, even on a global scale. Some may say billionaires should not have so much wealth. What about the sultans, princes and oligarchs of the world? They didn’t create anything like what Jeff Bezos, or Bill Gates, or Warren Buffett created.

Innovation is my point. This is the fundamental difference between the 122-billion-dollar pile and the single grain of rice pile. We have a beautiful opportunity in America, to live our own version of the American Dream and it is firmly rooted in being an innovator, being an inventor, a writer, a playwright or whatever drives you and sets you apart from the rest… 1 grain at a time.


Weiss, S. (2020, February 28). Viral TikTok shows Jeff Bezos’ net worth in rice — and it’s a mountain [Article]. Retrieved from

Anderson Seal is an award-winning filmmaker & owner of Seal Media since 2007. A graduate of Cal State University Long Beach, community advocate, father, & husband. 

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