Lets say I was teleported back in time as an healthy average intelligence but street smart 21 year old reconstituted in NYC naked in Central Park at 23.59 hours on December 31st 1979.

How easy would it be for me to become the worlds richest individual lets say by the millennium (23.59 31/12/99) ?

What would be the easiest fail-safe strategy that would evade any suspicion, to include my "arrival"?


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    $\begingroup$ Would you be bringing any money back with you? $\endgroup$ – NuWin Sep 9 '16 at 19:27
  • $\begingroup$ Totally naked with no possessions. $\endgroup$ – Hi Lo Sep 9 '16 at 19:29
  • $\begingroup$ It would be extremely hard to have a fail-safe strategy when you're talking about time travel if the course of history is chaotic, let alone if you travel back with no money (i.e. precious metal or jewels, since current cash wouldn't be recognized) and no possessions. And considering how crime-ridden NYC was in the late '70s, let alone Central Park, you might have a rough time making it out alive. $\endgroup$ – Mike DiBaggio Sep 9 '16 at 19:32
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    $\begingroup$ @biggerScala How about internally? Could I shove something of value up where the sun doesn't shine to have some capitol to start with? It would be a little rough, but even something like the design schematics for a 486 or Pentium processor would be worth enough in the right hands to give you a major boost. $\endgroup$ – AndyD273 Sep 9 '16 at 19:36
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    $\begingroup$ If you end up naked in the street... you'd likely end up in a mental institution $\endgroup$ – Journeyman Geek Sep 10 '16 at 1:07

Should be fairly easy once you settle down and have some capital. Just invest in the stock market. In the early 80s you can buy cheap Microsoft stock. You can short Enron. You can short the whole market in 1987 (DJIA felt over 20%), then buy back at the bottom. You can do the same with the dotcom bubble in the 90s.

Better yet, you can buy a bunch of domain names and sell them back later to the big players.

You can be a movie financier. You already know which movies made it big so just provide the financing. If you were a few years earlier you could have financed Rocky, Starwars or Mad Max, but I'm sure the 80s and 90s have plenty of movies that made a killing.

There are endless opportunities.

  • $\begingroup$ I was going to say the same thing. $\endgroup$ – NuWin Sep 9 '16 at 19:39

Memorise the winning lotto numbers for a few occasions.

  • $\begingroup$ Damn this is a good one. But wouldn't the government raise suspicion after you won the lottery ~3x times? $\endgroup$ – NuWin Sep 10 '16 at 1:16
  • $\begingroup$ (ignoring taxes) You'd have to be the sole winner of 60 lotteries worth 1.5B (the highest payout ever) to equal Bill Gates ~90B. They are definitely coming to take you away before that. $\endgroup$ – Mazura Sep 18 '16 at 2:48
  • $\begingroup$ You win the lottery one time, and you have enough initial capital to go on from it, if you are still interested. Especially since you already know what is going to happen in your future. Would be good to do what Bill Gates did, just one year before, and starting with a few million dollars more, wouldn't it? $\endgroup$ – Luís Henrique Sep 18 '16 at 11:42

Pop music.

If you are good at remembering songs, you could become hailed as the composer of the century by getting some technical skill and using it to accurately precreate things you heard from the future. (I remember this from a short story, and the time-traveller in question was poorly prepared so music was his only tool to get rich.)

I guess other forms of copyright subversion might work too, but books are much harder to memorise to an adequate degree.


Just go back and create everything, this includes but is not limited to;

  • Inventions

  • 1980: Flash memory (both NOR and NAND types)

  • 1982: A CD-ROM contains data accessible to, but not writable by, a computer for data storage and music playback.
  • 1984: The first commercially available cell phone, the DynaTAC 8000X
  • 1990: The World Wide Web is first introduced to the public.
  • 1993: MOSAIC, the first popular web browser
  • 1995: DVD is an optical disc storage format. DVDs offer higher storage capacity than Compact Discs while having the same dimensions.
  • 1996: USB interface.
  • 1998: Google
  • 2004: YouTube

All combined, this will be equal to trillions of dollars earned and it doesn't even take the famous songs, books, games and movies you can steal into account. You can easily write things like harry potter, star wars, avatar and other great works of informational beauty.

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    $\begingroup$ You need knowledge to "invent" these :) $\endgroup$ – Hi Lo Sep 9 '16 at 19:30
  • $\begingroup$ @biggerScala but you already know they exist and how they work $\endgroup$ – TrEs-2b Sep 9 '16 at 19:31
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    $\begingroup$ @biggerScala Exactly! I know what Google is, but can I create it from scratch? No. It's the work of thousands of very talented engineers who spent many years to get it to what it is now. $\endgroup$ – ventsyv Sep 9 '16 at 19:32
  • $\begingroup$ @ventsyv yes, but they were concieving and starting from no prior knowledge. You will 1, know what these are and 2, how they work. It will not be easy, but it will be possible. $\endgroup$ – TrEs-2b Sep 9 '16 at 19:33
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    $\begingroup$ The problem with scripts, books, and songs, is that you aren't those people. Star Wars wasn't made because it had a great script; it was made because American Graffiti sold well. And Lucas still spent 5+ years tweaking it to convince people to finance the movie. Plus, you'd have to remember every important detail, be able to draw all the right concept art, etc. There are thousands of almost-Star Wars stories around that failed because of nuance, bad timing, or "the director had to take a piss and saw the other guy on the way back before I could talk to him". $\endgroup$ – MichaelS Sep 10 '16 at 2:47

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