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Having worked for / talked to some people who became decamillionaires or higher through startups, a common theme seems to be just being really competitive. They don't care too much about money for money's sake - that's just what we currently use to send the signal "your startup is doing something we really like" in our society.

I tried it (for building muscle), kept to the instructions fairly strictly and saw improvements over my regular workout, but nowhere near the results described in the book. Much of the book makes sense, but it might be overly specific to his own physiology, and/or have non-functional components mixed in by mistake.

Very good post Louie! I agree with all the points, pretty much.

Number 11 seems especially important - it seems like a common trap for people in our crowd to try to over-optimize, so for me having an enjoyable life is a very high priority. A way of thinking that seems to work personally is to work on the margin rather than trying to reorganize my life top-down - to try to continually be a bit more awesome, work with more interesting people, get a bit more money, invest a bit more energy, etc, than yesterday.

In contrast, if I started out trying to allocate the resources I had access to / could gain access to in an optimal manner I suspect I would be paralyzed.

The discussion section sounds like a solid idea. As for making LW less intimidating, I'd rank it as the grace period > doing nothing > "karma coward", though I think users should be able to exit the grace period earlier by choice, and also possibly the score of comments on users in the grace period should be hidden (not just kept from affecting the total karma).

Seeing your comments plummet in score might be demoralizing, even if it doesn't affect your total score.

Nick Tarleton said it well, but to try it another way: Depending on how you phrase things, both to yourself and others, the situation can appear to be as bleak as you describe it, or alternatively rather good indeed. If you were to phrase it as being stuck with a brain built for chasing deer across the savanna and caring about the few dozen members of your tribe, being able to try to gain money (because it's the most effective means to whatever your ends) and investing some appreciable fraction of it in the cause with highest expected future payoff, despite being abstract or far in the future, starts to sound fairly impressive -- especially given what most people spend their time and money on.

If Starbucks lattes (or more obviously living above the subsistence level) makes it more likely for me to maintain my strategy of earning money to try to protect the things I value, my indulgences are very plausibly worth keeping. Yes, if I had another psychology I could skip that and help much more, but I don't, so I likely can't. What I can do short-term is to see what seems to happen on the margin. Can I sustain donating 1% more? Can I get by without a fancy car? House? Phone? Conversely, does eating out regularly boost my motivations enough to be worth it? Aim for the best outcome, given the state of the board you're playing on.

My impression is that JVM is worse at concurrency than every other approach that's been tried so far.

Haskell and other functional programming languages has many promising ideas but isn't widely used in the industry AFAIK.

This presentation gives a good short overview of the current state of concurrency approaches.

I took part of the 2009 summer program during the vacation of my day job as a software developer in Sweden. This entailed spending five weeks with the smartest and most dedicated people I have ever met, working on a wide array of projects both short- and long-term, some of which were finished by the time I left and some of which are still on-going.

My biggest worry beforehand was that I would not be anywhere near talented enough to participate and contribute in the company of SIAI employees and supporters. That seems to not have occurred, though I don't claim to have anywhere near the talent of most others involved. Some of the things I was involved with during the summer was work on the Singularity Summit website as well continuing the Uncertain Future project for assigning probability distributions to events and having the conclusions calculated for you. I also worked on papers with Carl Shulman and Nick Tarleton, read a massive amount of papers and books, took trips to San Fransisco and elsewhere, played games, discussed weird forms of decision theories and counter-factual everything, etc, etc.

My own comparative advantages seem to be having the focus to keep hacking away at projects, as well as the specialized skills that came from having a CS background and some experience (less than a year though) of working in the software industry. I'm currently writing this from the SIAI house, to which I returned about three weeks ago. This time I mainly focused on getting a job as a software developer in the Bay area (I seem to have succeeded), for the aims of earning money (some of which will go to donations) and also making it easier for me to participate in SIAI projects.

I'd say that the most important factor for people considering applying should be if they have strong motivations and a high level of interest in the issues that SIAI involves itself with. Agreeing with specific perceived beliefs of the SIAI or people involved with it is not necessary, and the disagreements will be brought out and discussed as thoroughly as you could ever wish for. As long as the interest and motivation is there, the specific projects you want to work with should work itself out nicely. My own biggest regret is that I kept lurking for so long before getting in touch with the people here.

I read the book, but found it rambling and poorly supported. The basic point about agents with hyperbolic discounting having dynamic inconsistencies is very important, but I wouldn't recommend the book over Ainslie's article. The only mental note I made of something new (for me) and interesting was a point about issues with a "bright line" being much easier to handle than those without. For example, it's easier to stop drinking alcohol completely than to drink less than a specific limit at each occasion, and even harder to eat a proper diet, when you obviously cannot make us of the only very bright line; no food at all.

I have been busy (with the SIAI summer program), but I do think I actually would have found time to write the post if I had found more data that was both interesting and not obvious to the LW crowd. This might be rationalization, but I don't think the me of one month ago would have wanted a post written about the book if he had known the contents of the book.

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