Zvi's Comments

2018 Review: Voting Results!

Easy to make it possible with explicit quadratic voting but not interpret people who use non-quadratic voting to cast only 1-3 votes in this way.

How Doomed are Large Organizations?

1. I don't know enough details about China to offer a complete answer. I could speculate that China's government is relatively new, and has reinvented itself more recently than that in dramatic ways. Also that it is still taking part in catch-up growth, which looks more dramatic than it is and also causes direct disruptions of existing systems as things power up, which should help with all this. Also, that link (directly at least) seems to be mostly saying China is accomplishing things rather than the Chinese Government, a key distinction. China tore down the things stifling growth (e.g. the whole being Communist thing) to a large extent and the maze-style things that will next get in the way likely have not finished coming in to replace them.

There's also the possibility that China's growth is masking growing problems - if your maze level is ruining things at 2%/year (made up number) but you are growing at 8% a year otherwise, you still grow at 6%, or something.

Another "nice" thing for China is that the Chinese Communist Party seems to be maintaining power by providing real physical life improvements, naked-eye-visible rising living standards and economic growth. If that stopped, they would (or so a model I have low confidence in says) lose the Mandate of Heaven and be in a lot of trouble, potentially collapsing. As opposed to trying to win elections, that provides a strong incentive to care about the physical end-level results, especially if party officials at the top are going to be around for a long time and want to keep power. Could be lessons there of course.

I also have a very poor handle on what's actually happening in China and how they are really doing. I've heard that there's a ton of waste and lots and lots of regional debt serving as a time bomb. I've also seen claims they're kicking ass. Hard to know and I don't claim to know.

2. I do not think "social justice activism" is that large a share of corporate politics, especially in competitions between managers, it's more that there is a ton more SJ activity than anti-SJ activity and we notice such activity a lot more. Or to put it another way, woke ads and campaigns far exceed anti-SJ ads and campaigns but are still newsworthy, and if SJ activism were really that big a deal, they wouldn't be. That is entirely compatible with SJ-signaling becoming part of the winning-coalition-signaling set in some major corporations. The biggest difference is that it might extend down to the object-level workers and attack them, whereas most other such things get shrugged off, and again that it gets noticed a lot. As to why SJ over non-SJ, it seems SJ side is much better at applying leverage and helping move product, and is generally winning the mindshare fights especially in places like tech, so it gets the nod.

That much seems safe enough to say, but I don't want to press my luck by continuing to talk about such matters on the internet...

How Doomed are Large Organizations?

I think an example was WeWork, and Adam Newman was attempting to also pressure others to do so.

How Doomed are Large Organizations?

Strongly agree. Tried to write one a while ago. It did not go well, hope to try again later.

Reality-Revealing and Reality-Masking Puzzles

Encouragement to write the top level post, with offer of at least some help although presumably people who are there in Berkeley to see it would be more helpful in many ways. This matches my model of what is happening.

How to Escape From Immoral Mazes

In both cases, I think 'start one's own business' should be at the top of the list. This can be a start-up designed to make a lot of money - and that's by far the highest EV play if you can take a real shot and afford to fail. But it does not need to be something so risky. If you have a trade where you can open a store, or put yourself and perhaps a small number of others out for hire, or even become a consultant of some kind, consider doing one of those before anything else.

Doctor -> private practice. Lawyer -> small law firm as possible. Programmer -> own projects, short term gigs, employee number 1.

Similarly, the easiest way to avoid a large business is to work for a small business. Especially good is of course to be employee #1 and get equity, but even employee #5 with nominal equity upside is pretty good.

I'd also encourage people not to think in terms of fixed career paths, but rather in terms of developing skills, doing real things, seeing what opportunities present themselves, etc. But my situation was always very unique, and I took paths most people can't, so I don't claim to be any kind of expert in all this. This comment is likely quick / half baked.

The Road to Mazedom

I debated which of those two to use here. Will consider switching.

The Road to Mazedom

On editing note, I think that subheaders requires that things happen in header order, but I want to go in timeline order, and I don't think you can do clean breaks given that restriction. I'm presuming you could group them into types of steps in useful ways if you were so inclined and had a reason to go in that direction.

On second note, I do worry that people will think that #4 is both more endogenous and does more work than I see it as being and doing, and use that as a reason to think of this is a localized and conditional problem. But in terms of how to solve that?

It's hard and important. Enough so that it's often going to be worth designing and/or splitting the whole structure in order to keep this problem in check, even if such splits don't otherwise make any sense. And in general there's a whole set of thoughts I could give on how to try and measure performance more accurately. I'll put that in the stack of possible future things to say, but long series already super long and I don't think I have anything great to suggest here, unfortunately.

Moloch Hasn’t Won

I did a little more work to make it flow better in OP, and I'm going to let it drop there unless a bunch of other people confirm they had this same issue and it actually mattered (and with the new version).

How to Escape From Immoral Mazes

My explicit advice above was that if you find yourself in that situation, down-scaling your lifestyle is prohibitive (e.g. it would break up your family) then you should seek to become a loser in the Rao sense. E.g. don't quit or outright rebel, but stop trying to advance further, do the minimum to not have anything disastrous happen, and make this clear to all parties at work, while trying to save as much as possible and plan a second act if you want one after that eventually fails to hold up.

If it's just 'you have comparative advantage doing this' then that's one of the big reasons I invested so much on the super-perfect competition concept - even if you do have this advantage, unless it is freaking impossibly huge, you are still better off not doing it because your edge won't be that big and you'll be facing far more competition than is justified by the prize. E.g. even if you really are so talented you 'deserve' to be a rock star, you still have to contend with all the people who try anyway, so only do it if you also can't do anything else, and here our edge over those fools who don't have such advantages is going to be much, much smalller, beyond those without the necessary minimum being ruled out, which my model says the system is at least good at.

If it's that you actively like this sort of thing, again I'd ask you to balance against the competition level and the fact that you get sick of anything if you get paid to do it enough for long enough, but I'd also wonder about what values/morality this question implied you already have. If I have ever been friends with such a person, I did not realize it. It seems like the less-murder-heavy version of Barry before he has a change of heart - TV hitman who claims it's what they're good at and that they somehow only kill bad people.

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