This morning I went to a coffee shop and listened to a woman talk on the phone for 15 minutes. She was an average looking white woman and appeared in her mid 30s. I brought a book, but the conversation was rather loud and distracting, so listening was kind of what there was to do. It was a conversation with a coworker.
- She opened with a soldifiication of the ingroup vs the outgroup. The people in the organization who she could trust, of which this person she was speaking with was ostensibly one of them. Versus some of the people on her team, who were not one of them.
- She discussed her “tracking” through the company, which “track” to take. Something about “75%” and “LP” was discussed, “internship” was mentioned for other people. She expressed concern about if she chose “75%” she was unclear if this was the track to be promoted to “LP”
- She expressed a desire to “make a meaningful contribution” and “be put on projects that are intellectually stimulating”
- She was concerned about how the company would treat her “health issues” and liked how “short term disability” was handled, but if that didn’t continue, she would look for employment elsewhere.
- She ended the call with a reaffirmation that <generic male name>, with whom she was speaking, was in the ingroup and had her back.
After listening to this, I had 0 idea of what her or the company who employs her does.
If I ever heard employees at comma talking like the woman above, I would fire them. It is 100% about her playing a zero sum game within the company, perhaps even a negative sum game. Would she hurt the overall company to benefit herself? Perhaps not in an overt way, but in subtle ways I believe she would. How does the company tolerate this?
We have a real problem to solve, and we give 0 fucks about your title or tracking. Unlike Google, which tried to not have politics and ended up infiltrated by these people, comma has an extreme amount of politics, but they are all mine and there’s no room for any others. Do not leave a power vacuum, the worst people will fill it. Dictatorship is fine as long as there’s free exit.
We try our best to reward people based on their contribution to the solution, but the fundamental value comes to all of us when we solve self driving cars. We grow the pie, exactly how the pie is split is much less important than the overall size of the pie.
Now let’s zoom out. How many people are playing a zero sum game in society?
I think about the woman’s company above, and I tend to believe that all those above her in the company have the same mentality. Like attracts like. So I don’t fault her for corrupting the company, at comma you solve self driving cars, at <unnamed company x>, you play political games and jockey for status. It’s just what you do.
I don’t think it stops with the head of <unnamed company x> either. The companies who they work “with” have this mentality too. The government has this mentality. It goes all the way to the top.
When people refer to the “elites”, they are referring to the “professional managerial class”. They are a large, growing, decentralized, parasitic class, and they have a zero sum mentality about the world.
Google in 2011 had 32,467 employees, Google in 2021 has 139,995. I argue most of Google’s services are worse today than they were in 2011. What do all these people do?
The professional managerial class isn’t a small portion of society, they may be the majority. My first post on this blog goes into this, and puts an upper bound around 73%. Self reported is 37% so perhaps that’s a lower bound.
How do we beat them?
The first change you must make is internal. If you believe that your success comes from fixed pie wealth accumulation, you have to change that belief. It helps that it’s a dumb belief, the king of France couldn’t trade all of France for a single iPhone. What might you be able to buy in the future for cheap that all the money in the world couldn’t buy now? I see a few options:
- A cure for cancer / AIDS / alzheimers. Louie the 14th died of gangrene. Couldn’t afford antibiotics.
- A fully immersive VR sex experience. Turing couldn’t afford an Apple II to crack codes on.
- A trip to Mars. Caesar couldn’t afford a trip to Japan, at least not with comfort and safety of a 787.
Once you have internalized the first change, start not tolerating the zero sum mentality.
- If you work for the professional managerial class and are capable of producing any real value, quit. You have so many other options today. Look for areas where there’s actual growth.
- If you employ members of this class, fire them. Short term, it may suck because you’ll have to deal with some things that they were. But long term, your company will be stronger for it.
- If you are a “drop out”, I don’t blame you, but consider joining the fight. So many brilliant people I knew in my youth are drop outs, and it makes me sad. All I’ll say is that you only get one life, and that I believe things will change and we can beat them. Crypto and AI can change things, those are the differences from the past. If someone I respect from this group reaches out, I’ll try my best to convince them that things can change.
I believe that there’s many well intentioned people out there who don’t quite understand. They just don’t see the scam. Don’t be an “activist”, but try to help people understand this dynamic and why things are the way they are.
The harder problem is the new management methodology that excludes these people. I am thinking about that, but I don’t have the answers yet. E-mail me good links if you have any.
If we all understood and saw the truth, the world would begin to heal. Long term, things would even get better for the losers in the PMC. We must give them a nice way out; give them their pensions, give them their creature comforts. Let them wirehead. But don’t ever let them near the levers of power again.