Good reads of the week #2

https://getpocket.com/explore/item/whatever-happened-to-six-sigma

[…]as with all fashions, once Six Sigma was picked up by the masses, fashionable companies lost interest and moved on to the next big thing. “These things have a life cycle: They get popular and then people start looking for something else,” says Art Swersey, a professor emeritus of operations research at the Yale School of Management. “These things run their course, and it has run its course.”

But at organizations built around Six Sigma, he says, “disruptive innovation is discouraged.”

Hard to “move fast a break things” when Six Sigmas goal is “99.99966% of its products or services are without flaws”.
I predict the same will happen with Agile management for the same reason. A management tool meant to solve one thing is being used to solve issues that it was not invented to fix. Sig Sigma is to manufacturing what Agile is to software building.

I have a friend who is an European investor who advised me never to invest in wine-drinking countries and only invest in beer-drinking countries due to cultural issues.

Balaji has a theory that cloud-based cultures are forming and superseding geographic cultures. That may be true, but it hasn’t happened comprehensively yet. Finally, there’s an issue of the local culture accepting foreigners. There’s a saying that anybody can be an American, meaning that anyone can be a first-class citizen here, but not anybody can be French or Chinese or German. I think there is truth to that, which brings me to . . .

Talent: Ultimately, the location where the most talented, smartest people live will matter if you are building a business that needs great talent. Historically, because America has welcomed foreign talent, that’s been our edge. I think half the companies in Silicon Valley are founded by immigrants. Immigrants by definition are hungry and motivated, and they are usually really fucking smart, too.


https://www.newyorker.com/culture/the-new-yorker-interview/peter-singer-is-committed-to-controversial-ideas

On how to solve big pharmas incentive to produce drugs for less profitable sickness:

An alternative scheme, called the Health Impact Fund, has been proposed, to which governments would contribute funds, and they would be allocated to the extent that a drug reduces the global burden of disease. Then the pharmaceutical companies would have an incentive to develop those products that would do the most to help people worldwide. That would be a much more rational system.

The story is best in the first half. You can skim the latter half. The journalist starts a line of questions that it doesn’t seem like Peter is on board with. For the New Yorker, it was badly edited. However, the freedom of speech arguments and journal project are interesting.


https://lessonsfromthecrisis.substack.com/p/what-on-earth-happened-with-covid

The English language media began amplifying the anti-mask message to the public:
“How to prevent coronavirus: Wash your hands and ditch the mask”   LA Times
“Why a mask won’t protect you from the Wuhan coronavirus” – National Post
“How to Avoid Coronavirus on Flights: Forget Masks, Says Top Airline Doctor” Bloomberg
“Top disease official: Risk of coronavirus in USA is ‘minuscule’; skip mask and wash hands” USA Today
“To protect yourself against coronavirus DON’T wear face masks” Metro
“Coronavirus London: Expert hits out at people wearing ‘completely useless’ face masks” Express

I forgot how many anti-maskers were in the “MSN”. It follows in the same vein as Vox when they accused Silicon Vally of being scared handshakes due to corona.

Well this didn’t help the pandemic response…


https://whyy.org/segments/the-greatest-hoax-on-earth/

Fool me once… It almost sounds too stupid to write out, but here it goes. Frank Abagnale, from “Catch Me If You Can” the movie about a con man that was supposed to be based on a real story turns out to be mostly bogus. In the last decades, Frank has been a prominent public figure known for his heists. It’s all fake. What did we expect; for the scorpion not to sting?

Good reads of the week #1

https://astralcodexten.substack.com/p/your-book-review-the-wizard-and-the

Scott writes about a book I’ve been thinking about reading for a long time. Ditto for the other Charles Mann books, 1491 and 1493.


https://www.bloomberg.com/news/features/2021-05-13/spac-king-chamath-palihapitiya-hopes-his-hype-will-keep-mesmerizing-you

Critical of The Dictator, perhaps too much in hit piece territory. It does give an insight that other articles have not given.


https://www.wired.com/story/vastaamo-psychotherapy-patients-hack-data-breach/

Details the story of an Finnish psychiatry startup that was hacked and the customers who have told their therapist all their secrets have been contacted by the hackers. There will be more of these in the future, so better read up. As Kevin Kelly has said, privacy, as we know it today, is changing, for good and bad.


https://aeon.co/essays/works-of-art-compel-our-attention-but-can-they-change-us

Suppose you’ve been gazing intensely at Rembrandt’s Self-Portrait (1659), which hangs in the National Gallery of Art in Washington, DC, and later you’re told that this was actually a painting made by a deep-learning machine that had internalized Rembrandt’s style through exposure to his paintings. You immediately feel that something’s lost. The museum would certainly take the work off its walls. What’s the thing that’s lost?

Also a good read for understanding the value of originals and ownership – NFTs are coming.


https://residentcontrarian.substack.com/p/on-incels-dead-bedrooms-and-the-hard/

Incels are going to become a larger problem in the next 5 years.


https://www.newyorker.com/culture/the-new-yorker-interview/john-swartzwelder-sage-of-the-simpsons

[…]The lesson to me was clear: comedy writing was the way to go. Easiest job on the planet.
Do you still consider comedy writing to be the easiest job on the planet?
No, sir. I do not.