January 7, 2020

Miscellany:

  1. Farmers are looking for twenty and thirty year old tractors: simpler, repairable and effective. The curse of computerization is the inability to repair what you own, because you are only leasing software, and you cannot fix it. A tractor free from software is a tractor the farmer can fix.

2. The Gervais Principle: How organizations really operate. This is actually more realistic than the illustration might have you think.

hughMcLeodCompanyHierarchy

“Back then, Whyte … saw signs that in the struggle for dominance between the Sociopaths (whom he admired as the ones actually making the organization effective despite itself) and the middle-management Organization Man, the latter was winning. He was wrong, but not in the way you’d think. The Sociopaths defeated the Organization Men and turned them into The Clueless not by reforming the organization, but by creating a meta-culture of Darwinism in the economy: one based on job-hopping, mergers, acquisitions, layoffs, cataclysmic reorganizations, outsourcing, unforgiving start-up ecosystems, and brutal corporate raiding. In this terrifying meta-world of the Titans, the Organization Man became the Clueless Man. Today, any time an organization grows too brittle, bureaucratic and disconnected from reality, it is simply killed, torn apart and cannibalized, rather than reformed. The result is the modern creative-destructive life cycle of the firm, which I’ll call the MacLeod Life Cycle.

3. Slate Star Codex – a fascinating blog written by Scott Alexander, a psychiatrist on the US West Coast.  I do not know what to make of it. There is so much to absorb.

4. The nomenklatura takes care of its own. Barry Diller ensures that Chelsea Clinton is well set up. Just short of $900,000 a year. Some keep wondering why Trump won the election.