What We’re Reading

A few good pieces the Collaborative team came across this week …

Tech ethics:

Stamos rejects the idea that ethics is the correct framework to think about addressing tech’s most pressing issues. “The problem here is not that people are making decisions that are straight-up evil,” he says. “The problem is that people are not foreseeing the outcomes of their actions. Part of that is a lack of paranoia. One of our problems in Silicon Valley is we build products to be used the right way. … It’s hard to envision all the misuses unless you understand all the things that have come before.”

Deleting Facebook:

Those booted off enjoyed an additional hour of free time on average. They tended not to redistribute their liberated minutes to other websites and social networks, but chose instead to watch more television and spend time with friends and family. They consumed much less news, and were thus less aware of events but also less polarised in their views about them than those still on the network. Leaving Facebook boosted self-reported happiness and reduced feelings of depression and anxiety.

Prototypes:

Anything can be prototyped. Prototypes aren’t just for physical products. I routinely see people prototyping services, complex experiences, business models, and even ventures. Really, anything can be prototyped: before filmingLe Mans, Steve McQueen took a film crew to the French race a year earlier, shot an entire movie’s worth of stuff, and then threw most of the exposed stock away. He knew that they best way to learn how to shoot a great movie at Le Mans was to first shoot a rough movie there. His camera people gleaned deep insights into camera placements, mounts, and techniques which put them in good stead when it came time to shoot the real movie. And the value of the tacit knowledge transfer involved cannot be underestimated: rather than try to explain to new camera people what he wanted, McQueen could point to actual film clips and say, “This is good.” Prototyping leads to speed as a process outcome.

Alignment:

“When you understand that nobody wants to invest in your shit, your mind becomes powerfully concentrated. You begin to understand that investing is, above all, a transaction. The investor donates his money, which is a supremely valuable commodity. In return, you the portfolio manager must give him something worthy of his gift to you.

When you understand that nobody wants to invest in your shit, you develop empathy.

You acquire the skill that is indispensable to all investors – the ability to switch back and forth in your imagination from your own point of view as a portfolio manager to the point of view of your investor. You learn to ask yourself with every sentence and every phrase: Is this return enhancing? Is it risk reducing? Am I charging too much? Am I giving the investor enough?“

Jonses:

A team of American and Canadian economists have proposed a new explanation for the declining savings rate, one rooted in individual psychology. At its heart lies a simple observation: Personal spending is a lot more visible to others than no spending. Changes in the media landscape have made other people’s spending more visible than ever. That, in turn, is making all of us spend even more — and save even less.

Munger:

“There has always been chicanery… People just seek out the weaknesses of their fellow men and take advantage. You have to wise up enough so you avoid them all.”

“Never underestimate a man who overestimates himself.”

“My idea of being properly educated is being right when the professor is wrong. Anyone can just spit back what the professor is saying. It takes a really educated person to think for themselves.”

Have a good weekend.


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