All of Panashe Fundira's Comments + Replies

I got into the idea of deliberately developmental organizations. Are DDOs a good idea? I still think probably yes, but they're easy to get wrong. What's important is that I spent a lot of time thinking about and then experimenting with ways to affect the culture of the organization and thereby understanding how organizations work.

What have you found in your experiments, in terms of what helps or hurts in developing DDO culture?

2Gordon Seidoh Worley10mo
Lots of people are pretty suspicious of doing things that are too much like direct positive psychology work. They have their own traumas and hang ups about these sort of things and are pretty opposed to anything that looks even vaguely like group therapy. You can only do that kind of stuff if you're the leader and you're willing to have people quit over it (and, similarly, going forward are willing to use it as a differentiator when hiring). What helps is just doing everyday things to create psychological safety. Listen to people. Don't tease and taunt, even though this normally serves as a bonding activity. You can do it, but only very judiciously with people you know already feel secure and even then don't do it in front of the people who aren't secure. If you see other people doing things that will make others feel less psychologically safe, push back to make the workplace safer. Psychological safety is the foundation needed for development to happen. Create space for people to try things and fail. Encourage people to take on tasks outside their comfort zone. Give them something like 70% work that they can succeed and at 30% work that they might fail at but will learn something trying. Let people have ownership and give them time to act on it. If they don't after months, nudge them. Give them ideas. Encourage them to go out on a limb. Explicitly tell them they're safe and you won't hold it against them.

2 years later, I'd still be interested in your model if you're willing to share it.

I can't shake the feeling that throughout the book Sowell tries to make a case for a more right-wing/free-market point of view without admitting it, albeit in the most eloquent manner.

Did you find any of his political claims to be dubious?

At the moment I'm adhering to the boring agnostic (rationalistic?) view: both competition and cooperation, markets and organizations, have their roles to play in society. I'm fine with his political claims, just wish his potential mood affiliation was clearly spelled out

I really like the idea of doing a pre-mortem here.

Suppose you and I have two different models, and my model is less wrong than yours. Suppose that my model assigns a 40% probability to event X, and your model assigns a 60%, we disagree and bet, and event X happens. If I had an oracle over the true distribution of X, my write-up would consist of saying "this falls into the 40% of cases, as predicted by my model", which doesn't seem very useful. In the absence of an oracle, I would end up writing up praise for, and updating towards, your more wrong model, which is obviously not what we want.

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"In the absence of an oracle, I would end up writing up praise for, and updating towards, your more wrong model, which is obviously not what we want." Perhaps I'm missing something, but I think that's exactly what we want. It leads to eventual consistency / improved estimates of odds, which is all we can look for without oracles or in the presence of noise. First, strength of priors will limit the size of the bettor's updates. Let's say we both used beta distributions, and had weak beliefs. Your prior was Beta(4,6), and mine was Beta(6,4). These get updated to B(5,6) and B(7,4). That sounds fine - you weren't very sure initially, and you still won't over-correct much. If the priors are stronger, say, B(12,18) and B(18,12), the updates are smaller as well, as they should be given our clearer world models and less willingness to abandon them due to weak evidence. Second, we can look at the outside observer's ability to update. If the expectation is 40% vs. 60%, unless there are very strong priors, I would assume neither side is interested in making huge bets, or giving large odds - that is, if this bet would happen at all, given transaction costs, etc. This should implicitly limit the size of the update other people make from such bets.
Another idea on this: both sides could do pre-mortems, "if I lose, ...". They could look back at this when doing post-mortems. Obviously this increases the effort involved.
Thinking about this makes me think people should record not just their bets, but the probabilities. If I think the probability is 1% and you think it's 99%, then one of us is going to make a fairly big update. If you think it's 60% and I think it's 50%, yeah, not so much. As a rough rule of thumb, anyway. (Obviously I could be super confident in a 1% estimate in a similar way to how you describe being super confident in a 40%.) But OTOH I think in many cases, by the time the bet is resolved there will also be a lot of other relevant evidence which determines questions related to a bet. So the warranted update will actually be much larger than would be justified just the one piece of information. In other words, if two Bayesians have different world-models and make a bet about something much into the future, by the time the actual bet is resolved they'll often have seen much more decisive evidence deciding between the two models (not necessarily in the same direction as the bet gets decided). Still, yeah, I agree with your concern.
Interesting about ultralearning, I will need to skim that in more detail some point. Without spaced repetition/incremental reading, that looks like the best method of learning to me.

His book touches on spaced repetition (he's a big proponent of the testing effect) and other things. It's really about how to put together effective learning projects, from the research phase, through execution.

Regarding SuperMemo, yes, I use the software and incremental reading extensively (if you have an interest in learning it, I would happily teach you).

I am int... (read more)

1Raj Thimmiah3y
Oh I didn't know that. Raises priority a bit then. If you use IR well, in my opinion it would increase long-term potential by at least 1,5-2 times. If you don't trust me and take my claim at say 1.2 times, I think even then it's worth the time investment of trying a VM and trying SM for a while to verify the claim (I don't think there are any other interventions that would improve long-term potential as much as SM). I'm actually using it on a Mac in parallels and it works pretty well. VMWare on Linux is also mostly good though in the end I ended up switching from Linux because VMWare has this weird behavior where it exists fullscreen everytime you change workspaces. It drove me crazy. You can run SM through wine with this [] with a few constraints. I haven't tried it personally though. I don't have a particular field (I am in university but I don't care about it very much), I learn based on what I find interesting and applicable. I've found a lot of golden nuggets I otherwise would never have with incremental reading. I tend to just import everything I see that looks shiny but it's still manageable because of SuperMemo's priority system. I'll probably never get to all the things I import because of the rate of new things vs. rate of review but I'm slowly making peace with that. At the least, priority system makes it possible to import as much as you want but still be certain that you focus most of your time on the things that matter more. Roam seems pretty nice to me and I really wish there was an SM plugin to replicate graph connection functionality. I write a lot in SuperMemo and while it is extremely useful to be able to write things incrementally, graph view would be likely a better way to work on things. For SuperMemo documentation, I would definitely agree. It is not fun figuring it out on your own. From recent experiences teaching people, I think being taught 1-1 is a far easier way to get started with it. I can
1. you know what you don't know so if you need some preceding information you can find that for yourself (in large part thanks to the internet)
2. teaching is centered around the idea that a teacher knows what you should know better than you do. In many cases, I don't think this makes much sense. If I want to learn how to make x thing, getting a general education on the field x falls into (field y) doesn't make sense. Learning a bunch of useless things in field y is a waste of my time. If I'm deciding what to learn by myself, I can make
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1Raj Thimmiah3y
Interesting about ultralearning, I will need to skim that in more detail some point. Without spaced repetition/incremental reading [], that looks like the best method of learning to me. I get the feeling this is why my generation (2000s onwards) lack practical skills, we almost never learn for a purpose so we end up lacking the notion that we can do things yourselves. There are plenty of things I really wanted to do (like building a table from scratch [I really love big tables]) that I never did because I had no experience and had never had any experience that would tell me where to start. Regarding SuperMemo, yes, I use the software and incremental reading extensively (if you have an interest in learning it, I would happily teach you). I would go insane learning without it, especially because I have ADHD and incremental reading makes managing what to learn easy. I also subscribe heavily to Woz's ideas. I like them because they tend to be much closer to global maximas (e.g. free running sleep []) because societal/academic norms do not restrict his views. A lot of them, especially about learning, really changed my life. Though I also love what he has written about sleep [], stress [], ADHD [], addiction [] amongst other things.
I think that's a bit of a shame because I personally have found LW-style thinking useful for programming. My debugging process has especially benefited from applying some combination of informal probabilistic reasoning and "making beliefs pay rent", which enabled me to make more principled decisions about which hypotheses to falsify first when finding root causes.

As someone who landed on your comment specifically by searching for what LW has said about software engineering in particular, I'd love to read more about your methods, experiences, and thoughts on the subject. Have you written about this anywhere?

Sadly, not much. I wrote this one blog post [] a few years back about my take on why "reading code" isn't a thing people should do in the same way they read literature but not much (publicly) other than that. I'll think about whether there's anything relevant to stuff I've been doing recently that I could write up.

Thanks for this, it's a good unifying summary on systemization that I felt was valuable in addition to reading the Systemization chapter in the CFAR Handbook.

Another thing that falls into the 'spend your money to conserve attention category' is hiring a personal assistant. A fellow CFAR alum convinced me to try it out, and it's definitely effective. I fell out of using my PA, but that is something I want to revisit, possibly when I have more money.

Automatically donate money.
This might be bad because giving Tuesday exists.

Is this out o... (read more)

1Mark Xu3y
The process I have in mind for GTD is: "notice some problem -> capture -> accumulate into projects -> spawn a new system." Not quite exactly a meta system, but is a system that applies to all aspects of life and can help you decide which new systems to spawn.

Yes, I used Anki in college for a range of different courses. It made memorization based courses (art history) an absolute breeze, and helped me build my conceptual tower for advanced math courses. Spaced repetition is quite useful for remembering things. I recommend reading this article by Michael Nielsen, alongside the comprehensive reference from Gwern.

I'm skeptical of the value of Readwise, because it is so passive. I think part of the value of using SRS programs like Anki comes from formulating good questions and structuring your knowledge into a... (read more)

I forgot to answer this. Readwise actually has built-in an option to easily transform your highlights into either questions or close deletions. Those will then show up as such the next time the highlight needs to be reviewed.

Murray has a new book out, Human Diversity, so that may be a good place to start.

Thank you for writing such a clear article on the issue. Cleared up my confusion around EMH, and especially how it differs from the random walk hypothesis. I'll definitely reference this article when people bring up EMH.

specifically focused on doing planks, an exercise that's far more intellectually challenging than physically challenging.

How are planks intellectually challenging? They certainly present great physical challenge, so this is an interesting claim.

If however, you’ve developed more stoic thinking patterns and ask yourself “I made a mistake, but that’s already happened so instead of regretting I’m going to focus on what I can do to avoid that mistake in the future”, you’ll also likely have body language and speech that doesn’t communicate regret in the same way. Sometimes people will recognize that you are still aware of your mistake but are approaching it from a different angle, especially if they already know you, but don’t count on it.

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This is true, and a big part of why I brought up the above advice. Most of the things in this post are mainly about being aware of secondary effects from a stoic mindset and how to adjust for them.

As a student, did you experience any particular frustrations with this approach?

I mean, I personally was quite overconfident on the first midterm. ;) The primary reason was explicitly thinking it through and deciding that I wasn't risk-neutral when it came to points; I cared more about having 'the highest score' than maximizing my expected score. It also takes a bit longer to process questions; rather than just bubbling in a single oval, you have to think about how you want to budget your probability for each question, and it's slightly harder for the teacher to process answers to get grades. But I think it more than pays for itself in the increased expressiveness. 
Retweet Trump with comment.

What is the error that you're implying here?

Could be a don't feed the troll error.
A simple example is debugging code: a gears-level approach is to try and understand what the code is doing and why it doesn't do what you want, a black-box approach is to try changing things somewhat randomly.

To drill in further, a great way to build a model of why a defect arises is using the scientific method. You generate some hypothesis about the behavior of your program (if X is true, then Y) and then test your hypothesis. If the results of your test invalidate the hypothesis, you've learned something about your code and where not to look. If your hypothesis is confirmed, you may be able to resolve your issue, or at least refine your hypothesis in the right direction.

There is some irony in the author's insistence that Musk is excellent because of his exceptional software, not his hardware. How could the author possibly know this, or be able to separate out the effect of Musk's raw intellectual horespower, and his critical reasoning skills?

I did find this post quite inspirational, although I do wonder how the author came up with the Want box / Reality box / strategy box model. It doesn't seem like Musk explicitly gave this model to the author.