Why Being an Asshole Can Be a Valuable Life Skill
Yes, there is such thing as an ethical asshole. And, I would argue, ethical assholes are national treasures. We need ethical assholes because they’re the only thing protecting us from the unethical assholes.
Why is culture so important to a business? Here is a simple way to frame it. The stronger the culture, the less corporate process a company needs. When the culture is strong, you can trust everyone to do the right thing. People can be independent and autonomous. They can be entrepreneurial. And if we have a company that is entrepreneurial in spirit, we will be able to take our next “(wo)man on the moon” leap. Ever notice how families or tribes don’t require much process? That is because there is such a strong trust and culture that it supersedes any process. In organizations (or even in a society) where culture is weak, you need an abundance of heavy, precise rules and processes.
Nike betting on Kaepernick is encouraging for those of us who find his message not only inoffensive but worthy. A major corporation has put a financial stake in the idea that the people who either oppose Kaepernick’s message or choose to misunderstand it are a small minority whose arguments can be ignored. Amoral though it may be, Nike apparently believes that people who believe in racial equality are more numerous, and more passionate, than those who oppose it. It’s comforting to know that someone does.
All companionship can consist only in the strengthening of two neighboring solitudes, whereas everything that one is wont to call giving oneself is by nature harmful to companionship: for when a person abandons himself, he is no longer anything, and when two people both give themselves up in order to come close to each other, there is no longer any ground beneath them and their being together is a continual falling… Once there is disunity between them, the confusion grows with every day; neither of the two has anything unbroken, pure, and unspoiled about him any longer… They who wanted to do each other good are now handling one another in an imperious and intolerant manner, and in the struggle somehow to get out of their untenable and unbearable state of confusion, they commit the greatest fault that can happen to human relationships: they become impatient. They hurry to a conclusion; to come, as they believe, to a final decision, they try once and for all to establish their relationship, whose surprising changes have frightened them, in order to remain the same now and forever (as they say).
Sleeping is good for you — but only to a point. Too much sleep might actually be bad for you.
“There is a sweet spot,” says Emir-Farinas. “It’s very clear from this plot that you have this window of optimal sleep, and it really does have an impact on your resting heart rate.”
That sweet spot is not 8 hours of sleep a night — it’s 7.25 hours. In terms of heart health, that’s the number you should be going for. “Which is good news for busy people,” says McLean.
Lauryn had transcended her L-Boogie phase a long time ago: she was now intent on presenting the entire canon of Black music on stage. It’s never been just about her or her music. When she did bless the crowd with some songs from the Fugees album The Score, not only did she perform her verses, but she performed the songs that the Fugees sampled to create their songs. It was a musical history lesson, and it was a brilliant performance. Maybe if we watch what Lauryn is actually doing instead of complaining about what she is not doing, we can continue to be inspired by her.
Tokyo is a magical place. I knew this going in, even though I’d never been there before. Every great city is magical, a unique alchemy of climate and culture, of the past and the future. But in Tokyo I found a magic of extremes. It’s a fast, crowded, chaotic place, surging and staccato—until it’s not. You’ll turn a corner onto a side street, or the minute hand on your watch will tick over the hour, and suddenly all that urgent density falls away. The city is a pattern of movement and stillness, sounds and silences.
The last thing I want is to be on my deathbed and realize there’s zero evidence that I ever existed.
Young man, why are you eating that fish?”
“Because I love fish,” the young man answers.
“Oh, you love the fish. That’s why you took it out of the water and killed it and boiled it. Don’t tell me you love the fish. You love yourself, and because the fish tastes good to you, therefore you took it out of the water and killed it and boiled it.”
Everybody has a point of view and their own theories of how performance at work should be measured and managed. Hence, managers may ditch evidence-based guidance in favour of homegrown fantasies about performance and development
With his new high-profile job in the Trump campaign, Manafort seemed to believe he had an opportunity to heal this old rift. As soon as Manafort installed himself in Trump Tower, he seems to have dispatched Kostya to revive his channel of communication with Deripaska. Kostya sent Derispaska newspaper clips about Manafort’s new gig. (“How do we use to get whole?,” Manafort asked.) Later that summer, Kostya wrote that he had made progress toward reconciliation: “I am more than sure that it will be resolved and we will get back to the original relationship.” Kilimnik reported that he had spent five hours with “the guy who gave you your biggest black caviar jar several years ago”—which is almost certainly a veiled reference to Deripaska.
If UBI is implemented at the expense of every other social program, it makes the presumption that people helped by those programs are competent and capable of shifting to a life of managing their own money, budgeting, and not being exploited by the thousands who will line up to do so.
Investigating data sources is a necessary part of any data science project. Being a better data scientist won’t help you predict how your company collects data. If the data isn’t there then you can’t science it.
“Sleep has always been foundational for my performance,” Cees ’t Hart, president and CEO of Carlsberg Group, shared with us. “And especially to perform in a way that is required by my current job, I need seven hours of sleep, every night. Of course, with intense travel and work commitments, sometimes this is compromised, and when that happens, it comes with a cost. When I sleep less, I perform less.”
A 1997 essay by Eric S. Raymond titled “The Cathedral and the Bazaar,” in some sense the founding document of the modern open-source movement, challenged the notion that complex software had to be built like a cathedral, “carefully crafted by individual wizards or small bands of mages working in splendid isolation.” Raymond’s experience as one of the stewards of the Linux kernel (a piece of open-source software that powers all of the world’s 500 most powerful supercomputers, and the vast majority of mobile devices) taught him that the “great babbling bazaar of differing agendas and approaches” that defined open-source projects was actually a strength. “The fact that this bazaar style seemed to work, and work well, came as a distinct shock,” he wrote. The essay was his attempt to reckon with why “the Linux world not only didn’t fly apart in confusion but seemed to go from strength to strength at a speed barely imaginable to cathedral builders.”
Mathematica was in development long before Raymond’s formative experience with Linux, and has been in development long after it. It is the quintessential cathedral, and its builders are still skeptical of the bazaar. “There’s always chaos,” Gray said about open-source systems. “The number of moving parts is so vast, and several of them are under the control of different groups. There’s no way you could ever pull it together into an integrated system in the same way as you can in a single commercial product with, you know, a single maniac in the middle.”
The primary purpose of this position is to train the people you love most in this world to leave you. Forever.
What is happiness? – Frank P. (Tokyo, Japan)
Reality minus expectations.
Ordering fish in a restaurant is for people who don’t care about happiness.
Perhaps it’s nostalgia for that old, weird, Wild West Web 1.0 or a longing for the faceless security of an anonymous, email-based communication system, but when I clicked on “men seeking men” recently — as I’d done so many times before — and landed on farewell message, my eyes welled up.
We tend to grossly overestimate the pleasure brought forth by new experiences and underestimate the power of finding meaning in current ones. While travel is a fantastic way to gain insight into unfamiliar cultures and illuminating ways of life, it is not a cure for discontentment of the mind
There are only two reasons to do anything in life: a) because it feels good, or b) because it’s something you believe to be good or right. Sometimes these two reasons align. Something feels good AND is the right thing to do and that’s just fucking fantastic. Let’s throw a party and eat cake.
But more often, these two things don’t align. Something feels shitty but is right/good (getting up at 5AM and going to the gym, hanging out with grandma Joanie for an afternoon and making sure she’s still breathing), or something feels fucking great but is the bad/wrong thing to do (pretty much anything involving penises).
I’ll need to reread this multiple times in the future.
Self-awareness is wasted if it does not result in self-acceptance. The research bears this out, too: self-awareness doesn’t make everyone happier, it makes some people more miserable. Because if great self-awareness is coupled with self-judgment, then you’re merely becoming more aware of all the ways you deserve to be judged.4
I think I have only participated in one crowdfunding campaign. I have been following the project ever since, and I’m excitedly waiting for first deployments!
“I think very often problems are so big, people approach problems from the bottom up: ‘If only I do this little bit, then hopefully there will be some sort of snowball effect that will be bigger and bigger,'” he says. “I’m much more in favor of the top-down approach to problem-solving. Really ask, if the problem is this big, how do you get to 100%? Then knowing what it takes to get to 100%, work your way back. Well, what do I have to do now?”
If you’re on vacation and there are natural barriers and you’re unlikely to see them again, then that’s probably safe. But otherwise you’re risking falling in love, and that might complicate your life in ways you’re not prepared for.
What are some of the characteristics of a football team like FC Barcelona? At least three things:
A common objective
Different roles within the team, each with different responsibilities
Autonomy in reaching their objective
If you manage a team consisting only of Data Scientists, most likely none of those characteristics apply.
Keynesians don't believe that balancing a budget is the immediate solution to economic malaise. Keynesian governments try to restore the thing that badly performing economies are generally lacking: confidence. They do this by borrowing money and spending it on public projects, which create jobs, which in turn increases consumption, which creates more jobs. This upwards spiral of investment, production and consumption is known as the Keynesian Multiplier. If the multiplier works, the government can actually get back more from the taxpayer than it originally spent, as the rest of the economy increases production and with it the tax it pays.
In Moscow, Ivan is tired but happy with the results, and his day is winding down with a couple of hours to go before the polls close. Not only were his hacks of online voter registrations a success, but the ensuing chaos — America is burning hot with indignation and accusations of disenfranchisement — has provided Alexei with the perfect cover for his work on the voting machines.
America loves helping the shoeless, iPhoneless, voteless, bug-infested Street Jesuses. These are the lost-cause poor; all they want is your pocket change. (Bless their hearts.) But the working poor? Those who claim to not have enough money for food because they also need clothes for work, water for bathing and laundry, rent for housing, heat in the winter, money for daycare, a smartphone for their job, car insurance and gas — those are some shifty motherfuckers.
American appear to be quite happy simply watching one another die, in all the ways above. They just don’t appear to be too disturbed, moved, or even affected by the four pathologies above: their kids killing each other, their social bonds collapsing, being powerless to live with dignity,or having to numb the pain of it all away.
If these pathologies happened in any other rich country — even in most poor ones — people would be aghast, shocked, and stunned, and certainly moved to make them not happen. But in America, they are, well, not even resigned. They are indifferent, mostly.
Our upper house has so much power compared to its counterparts in other nations—the House of Lords or the French Senate. It’s completely undemocratic and unjustifiable for each voter in Wyoming to have almost 70 times the voting power that a California voter does. Personally I’d favor switching to a parliamentary system. But that would require the current members of the Senate to, in effect, vote against themselves to amend the Constitution. But if we call ourselves a democracy, we have to have a democratic form of government that is democratically elected. And with the Senate, we don’t.
Chemistry had its first reckoning with dynamite; horror at its consequences led its inventor, Alfred Nobel, to give his fortune to the prize that bears his name. Only a few years later, its second reckoning began when chemist Clara Immerwahr committed suicide the night before her husband and fellow chemist, Fritz Haber, went to stage the first poison gas attack on the Eastern Front. Physics had its reckoning when nuclear bombs destroyed Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and so many physicists became political activists — some for arms control, some for weapons development. Human biology had eugenics. Medicine had Tuskegee and thalidomide. Civil engineering, a series of building, bridge, and dam collapses. (My thanks to many Twitter readers for these examples.)
These events profoundly changed their respective fields, and the way people come up in them. Before these crises, each field was dominated by visions of how it could make the world a better place. New dyes, new materials, new sources of energy, new modes of transport — everyone could see the beauty. Afterward, everyone became painfully aware of how their work could be turned against their dreams.
Wylie meeting Bannon was the moment petrol was poured on a flickering flame. Wylie lives for ideas. He speaks 19 to the dozen for hours at a time. He had a theory to prove. And at the time, this was a purely intellectual problem. Politics was like fashion, he told Bannon.
“[Bannon] got it immediately. He believes in the whole Andrew Breitbart doctrine that politics is downstream from culture, so to change politics you need to change culture. And fashion trends are a useful proxy for that. Trump is like a pair of Uggs, or Crocs, basically. So how do you get from people thinking ‘Ugh. Totally ugly’ to the moment when everyone is wearing them? That was the inflection point he was looking for.”
The point I make several times is that there are behaviors with respect to the physical environment that we have decided are impermissible. You are no longer permitted to burn whatever you want and throw it into the air, or dump whatever chemical you want into the water. Companies have accepted this and now parade their environmental bona fides.
Meanwhile, these companies are engaging in all kinds of things that are harming the human beings who work for them. These are things they should report on, and these are things that we should stop tolerating.
And so a tax naturally emerges. Every day, or month, or quarter, whatever makes sense, Uber and Lyft would need to make a tax payment to the city government, based on the number of hours its cars spent stuck in traffic. The tax could be quite simple: 10 cents per minute, say, for any time that any car spent traveling below 10 mph on surface streets or 40 mph on highways.
Viewing the internet age through an economic lens means giving up on tidy stories like “Craigslist killed newspapers and democracy died.” Instead, we have to tell complicated stories like, “Reagan deregulated business and defanged anti-trust, and so newspapers were snapped up by private equity funds that slashed their newsrooms, centralized their ad sales, and weakened their product. When Craigslist came along, these businesses had been looted of all the cash they could have used to figure out their digital futures, and they started to die.”
As we start wrapping up our discussion about AMP, Besbris repeats one of my questions back at me: “Have we just been idiots around communicating this stuff?”
”Yes,” he answers.
The risk that not all robotaxis will serve all destinations could open the door to segregation and discrimination. In authoritarian countries, robotaxis could restrict people’s movements. If all this sounds implausible, recall that Robert Moses notoriously designed the Southern State Parkway, linking New York City to Long Island’s beaches, with low bridges to favour access by rich whites in cars, while discriminating against poor blacks in buses. And China’s “social credit” system, which awards points based on people’s behaviour, already restricts train travel for those who step out of line.
Naturally, we make a stab at trying to understand them. We visit their families. We look at their photos, we meet their college friends. All this contributes to a sense that we’ve done our homework. We haven’t. Marriage ends up as a hopeful, generous, infinitely kind gamble taken by two people who don’t know yet who they are or who the other might be, binding themselves to a future they cannot conceive of and have carefully avoided investigating.
In 1935, when the Social Security act was passed, the age of retirement was set at 65. At the time, the average life expectancy was 61! Today, average life expectancy is just under 80 years. That one fact speaks volumes to how outdated our views and mechanisms for retirement are.
Airbnb isn’t just competing with hotels for travelers. It is often competing with locals for space. The company has shifted the burden of rising prices in crowded downtown areas from travelers to residents—pushing down prices for hotel rooms, while raising rents for city dwellers. Was that Airbnb’s intent? Almost certainly not. But that is the outcome, anyway, and it is a meaningful—even, yes, disruptive—one.
Tsunamis. There may be an app for that.
The latest phones have equipment so sensitive that it could, in principle, detect a passing tsunami in the atmosphere. All this would require is for someone to write a suitable app, and for enough phone users to download it.
But is it really about lack of data-driven culture of simply lack of data skills and data mindset of the individuals who work in the companies? You cannot really build a culture around something that people do not understand!
Is there anything investors can do to avoid testosterone-fuelled traders? One approach might be to seek out fund managers with long, thin faces. Or perhaps women and older men who are known to have less testosterone in their bodies. Another would be to bypass human managers altogether. If emotions inhibit traders’ ability to think rationally during market booms and busts, investors might be better off entrusting their money either to static index funds, or to trading algorithms without any emotions at all.
Data translator is probably the least sexy title one could come up with, but otherwise this article talks about a very real issue: shortage of people who are able to bridge the business world and the data science one.
More recently, however, companies have widened their aperture, recognizing that success with AI and analytics requires not just data scientists but entire cross-functional, agile teams that include data engineers, data architects, data-visualization experts, and—perhaps most important—translators.
While we do not analyse these theories in detail, a simple empirical test can help distinguish the relative importance of these two categories of explanation – purely technology-based or not – for rising mean-median inequality and the falling labour share. More rapid technological progress should cause faster productivity growth – so, if some aspect of faster technological progress has caused inequality, we should see periods of faster productivity growth come alongside more rapid growth in inequality.
We find very little evidence for this. Our regressions find no significant relationship between productivity growth and changes in mean-median inequality, and very little relationship between productivity growth and changes in the labour share. In addition, as Table 1 shows, the two periods of slower productivity growth (1973-1996 and 2003-2014) were associated with faster growth in inequality (an increasing mean/median ratio and a falling labour share).
Should the world follow the American model — extreme capitalism, no public investment, cruelty as a way of life, the perversion of everyday virtue — then these new social pathologies will follow, too. They are new diseases of the body social that have emerged from the diet of junk food — junk media, junk science, junk culture, junk punditry, junk economics, people treating one another and their society like junk — that America has fed upon for too long.
Don’t try to resolve fundamental conflicts with your spouse or roommates. The only people who win marital arguments about bedrock values are divorce lawyers.
I mean, you wouldn’t say “I have a free hour; I bet I could solve the Israel/Palestinian conflict and still have time for a spot of tennis!” So why do you try to use the same hour to convince your spouse that potato salad should have pickles in it?