Outubro 2023

Outubro 2023

“The desire to be seen as clever often prevents us from becoming so.” - La Rochefoucauld

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Comportamento e Psicologia

Artigo do blog Less Wrong sobre a propensão de certos agentes inseridos em disciplinas com barreira de entrada do capital humano “mediana” em manter aparências em relação ao conhecimento que efetivamente possuem.

O efeito secundário é (majoritariamente) uma espécie de crowding out do esforço aplicado na direção de construir e aprender novos modelos.

“(…) the ‘default’ in today’s world is that someone obtains an Official Degree which does not involve actually learning relevant models, but then they’re expected to have some models, so the incentive for most people is to ‘keep up appearances’ - i.e. act like they know what they’re doing. Keeping up appearances is unfortunately a strong strategy - generalized Gell-Mann amnesia is a thing, only the people who do know what they’re doing in this particular field will be able to tell that you don’t know what you’re doing (and people who do know what they’re doing are often a small minority).

The biggest cost of this giant civilizational LARP is that people aren’t given much space to actually go build models, learn to the point that they know what they’re doing, etc.”

Artigo satírico do economista Brad DeLong sobre o trágico debacle de mais uma vítima da retórica profética de Warren Buffett: “Why Smart People do Dumb Things.” No caso em questão, um exemplo “livro-texto” da convicção mal aplicada, amparada por uma ideologia de maximização de valores esperados “precisamente errada” (”I’d rather be vaguely right than precisely wrong.” - John Maynard Keynes).

The psychological temptation when underwater to gamble-for-resurrection is very strong, and very human, and leads to true surprises as people discover who they really are and how many corners they are willing to cut.”

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Cloud e Software

Artigo do CTO da Mode (empresa focada em BI), Benn Stancil, sobre os vícios engendrados pelo dinheiro fácil, particularmente o incentivo a investir na criação de adjacências com potencial para adicionar clientes marginais no curto prazo, ao custo do LTV do usuário “core”. O curioso é que, até mesmo esses casual fans marginais, após o primeiro ciclo de uso, tipicamente abandonam o produto inchado.

A sugestão final (e de difícil implementação) é um chamado a uma espécie de volta às origens da indústria de software: Menos bloat e mais suites (produtos paralelos).

Because of that, it’s not true that bootstrapped startups and startups that have raised meaningful venture capital both want to make money. The former does. The latter wants to grow. A successful business that people love and produces a reasonable profit isn’t good enough. It has to keep finding new customers, new markets, new features, and new upsell plans. There is no cruising altitude for a venture-backed startup. The options are to fly higher, or stall trying.

(…) that’s what ruins products. It encourages companies to push them beyond what they are naturally suited to do. They bolt on unnecessary new features; they build things that only a few people want; they try to colonize adjacent use-cases because that’s what’s required to grow. It makes the product worse, but no board of venture capitalists would approve the alternative—holding steady, leveling off, growing slowly and turning a modest profit.”

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Miscelânea

Artigo recente de Paul Graham reunindo diversas pérolas de ensaios passados. Como sempre, um bom mapa de como atacar problemas através de uma perspectiva menos evidente.

Once you've found something you're excessively interested in, the next step is to learn enough about it to get you to one of the frontiers of knowledge. Knowledge expands fractally, and from a distance its edges look smooth, but once you learn enough to get close to one, they turn out to be full of gaps.

The next step is to notice them. This takes some skill, because your brain wants to ignore such gaps in order to make a simpler model of the world. Many discoveries have come from asking questions about things that everyone else took for granted.

If the answers seem strange, so much the better. Great work often has a tincture of strangeness.”

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People show much more originality in solving problems than in deciding which problems to solve. Even the smartest can be surprisingly conservative when deciding what to work on. People who'd never dream of being fashionable in any other way get sucked into working on fashionable problems.”

A curta história da indústria de computadores/microprocessadores brasileira, muito bem narrada pelo canal taiwanês Asianometry. Microcosmo que ecoa diversos erros repetidos na história econômica local: protecionismo mal direcionado, aplicado a indústrias nascentes onde o capital humano existia a nível do protótipo e não da manufatura escalada, sem levar em consideração o entorno necessário para fomentar um setor de maneira sustentável.

Tragédia anunciada: subsídios são gastos por décadas no empilhamento de “desvantagens comparativas”. O resultado dessa farsa (no sentido dramático) se desenrola de maneira previsível, eventualmente desembocando na perda permanente do dinheiro público gasto e na abertura do mercado no início da década de 90.