Unworkable Ideas

A Microcosm of the Uncorrupted Internet

May 26, 2024 old hack

The Adventures of Infinity Dawg

All it takes is a camera and a microphone.  That’s it?

Well, maybe a keyboard and a screen too.

That is all it takes?

Not quite, it also takes a hook.

And the hook might be the most important element of all.

What do you mean by a hook?

I shouldn’t have mentioned the hook.

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November 7, 2023 old hack

Naturally Reductive

There are so many ways to be reductive. Reduction is so seductive. It is easy. But rarely does anything work quite that way. There are more factors and interactions at play than you can imagine.

But to function, the brain simplifies.

There is System 1 and System 2 processes that Daniel Kahneman

Humans need both.

The perfectly rational entity does not exist.

Even perfect rationality can be foiled by bad luck.

So where does that leave us.

Guessing. Ruled by emotion. Rationalized after the fact by selective information. And most importantly, pretty lazy.

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November 7, 2023 old hack

Framing

Framing is the ultimate skill and it happens all the time.  Things get framed for us and we also frame things on our own.

There is so much information to take in and process all the time that we use frames to help us make sense of things. Just like in photography, the framing can be somewhat arbitrary. What is included inside the frame versus what is left out makes a big difference.

Things happen inside the frame and things happen outside the frame.

Still, there are things inside the frame that we miss and there are things outside the frame that we convince ourselves are there.

As part of the human bag of tricks, our brains allow us to see things that aren’t there. This is helpful, but it also leads us astray. We often fill in missing pieces with things that aren’t there.

Timing is an overlooked aspect of framing. Each second in time consists of multiple frames. But even with an infinite amount of frames, it is impossible to catch everything.

Something is bound to go unnoticed.

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July 30, 2023 old hack

Improbability

It doesn’t have to make sense, not all at once anyway. It doesn’t even have to reveal itself slowly. Maybe a few hints are dropped here and there, but who knows if the hints are legit. They could be real. They could be fake.

Whatever it is, it is not going to be easy. It is going to be a slog. There are a lot of moving parts and to have it all make sense in an elegant way is just not realistic. It’s just not something he’s done before. Perhaps it’s too ambitious, but the story is so brilliant that it almost has to be told. It is not that the idea itself is all that brilliant, but it solves so many problems.

It is too perfect. And anything that is too perfect, usually isn’t perfect at all. It is a chance for an even bigger fuck up than it already is. God knows what the unintended consequences of this scheme will be. 

But is that a reason not to try. Fuck the unintended consequences. If people considered the unintended consequences of everything then nothing would ever get done, and what would the unintended consequences of that be. Regardless, no matter what you do, you are stuck with unintended consequences.

It starts with the cranky old man realizing that time is running out, at least for him. Time may be infinite so are knowledge and space. Stop me if you have heard that before. Definitely, past his prime. Who really know what prime is, but his prime was content, but squandered.  eeling done with his life and desperation meets up with somebody in an online chat room that person’s young but also has issues. At first it starts off as a game but then they become really connected with each other. Perhaps two connected with each other realizing how damaging it is and unrealistic.

This should have never happened. The odds are totally against it. Billions of people online and this unlikely pair find each other.

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July 30, 2023 old hack

The Realization

It hit him like a “bug on a moving car’s windshield.” Fast, hard and splat. The idea was a bit of a mess, but it was also the burst of energy that he needed to power through that particularly monotonous stretch of highway. As usual, the Spotify playlist wasn’t cutting it. How many effing times can you hear “Pump It Up” by Elvis Costello before it has absolutely zero impact? This thought in his head was completely different. It was fucking obvious now. More ideas kept flowing. Each idea building on the last one. Pretty soon he had convinced himself that “Everything is Going to be OK,” just like that weird billboard said. That ridiculous billboard was everywhere. Who was paying for it? What was the point? He wondered to himself.

But that is a question for another day, maybe, if he remembered or even cared anymore. From now on, it was all going to be about the story. The story was the point, and the story was the way to make the point.  It was not all the other so-called best practices to “find an audience,” “post content” and then sell shit all the way until you reach your 7-figure passive income.  That fucking dream. That fucking unrealistic dream. He didn’t even care about the revenue. It was the message. The message is what mattered to him. He would have liked the money, but that was totally secondary. Stop fucking blogging, stop making bad YouTube videos, stop tweeting. Stop it! Just stop it right now, to paraphrase the old business guru, James Berwick. that he worked with back in the nineties until that all disappeared one day, but that is a story for another day.

It was going to be better than OK, he told himself. It was nearly perfect, if only he could do the one thing that he had never been able to do — actually finish something. Starting things was never his problem, it was finishing things. 

But he had convinced himself that this idea was so good that it was going to be easy to finish. He had the outline in his head, and he had the motivation. He jumped ahead in his mind to the book tours, the interviews, the podcasts, the conferences, the sequels and he even imagined the inevitable big fucking crash at the end where it all comes apart. The bullshit exposed. Yeah, it was utter bullshit, based on utter bullshit, but it was his bullshit and he believed it. Bullshit was exactly the point. Everything in one way or another is bullshit. Finally, the shit of the past three or so years made some sense to him. All of the contradictory and largely unjustified emotions that passed through his head. The boredom, the depression, the frustration and most of all, the “what the fuck is the point of it all” feeling that was squelching whatever little ambition he had left.

Calling it ambition was an overstatement. He had no inner ambition. The only thing he ever tried to do was to keep the so-called peace and try to keep people happy. Keeping other people happy (as if that is even possible) hardly classifies as an ambition. Ego may be the enemy, but without some sense of self, you might as well be a freaking bowl big Jell-O.

This was different, at least he thought to himself. It was meta, but it was his kind of meta. 

This was the answer. It was the answer to everything. It was also the answer to nothing. And in his cynical little head that was exactly the point. You don’t need the answer. You just need a really good question. don’t need to come up with an answer because “more likely than not” it is going to be completely wrong. It is more important to frame question well than to answer it.

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July 30, 2023 old hack

True Anonymity

Who says nothing good happens in anonymity? Whoever did say it is a fucking genius though.  Anonymity is a fucking illusion. Even on an anonymous chatroom, you are not anonymous. Maybe you’re hiding behind a screen name, but that doesn’t shield you from anything. Even if no one else knows who you are, you can’t really hide from your own brain.

Everyone is hiding behind something. It might be as simple as a fucking screen name, a masterfully executed fake identity or just simply how you present yourself to the outside world.

You can try to trick others and you can even trick yourself sometimes. You can get yourself caught up in some make-believe believe world of your own creation. It is complete bullshit. But it is your own bullshit.

The only thing more dangerous than your own bullshit is starting to believe your own bullshit. When your bullshit becomes your truth, it is really hard to come back from that.

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July 30, 2023 old hack

The Whole

Can anyone really see the whole? I remember talking about “seeing the whole”. It was a beautiful, but completely fake concept. The “whole”. The fucking “WHOLE”.  If you look “at the whole”. If you can see the “whole” system.  From raw material through disposal. Follow the value stream. It seemed so simple and soooo obvious. Look back at all the steps. Figure out which ones added value and remove the steps that don’t. Duh. Sooo fucking obvious. Why hasn’t anyone thought of this before. So many brilliant people have lived on this planet through the years, and we are the first ones to think of the whole.

At the time, we gave ourselves a ton of self-importance like we had done something truly amazing. Some of us thought we were changing the fucking world. Look at how we add “VALUE”. Hey Zeus! My contribution to the value stream is X and X is pretty awesome, so I must be awesome.

Watching brilliant experts walking the gemba. Seeing the value being created, seeing the wasteful byproduct. Their fucking stopwatches by their sides. Timing everything. And everything is timing. Flowcharting this. Flowcharting that. So much time spent flowcharting the origins of value. Who knew that flowcharting is even a verb?

Let’s remove the steps that don’t add value. Muda here, Muda there. Is it Type 1 or is it Type 2? Please debate, endlessly! No wonder there is so much alienation out there. However, for the ‘value curious’ out there, Joe Pine and James Gilmore’s book, The Experience Economy does a great job of describing how value is relative depending on context. Raw material X has a value of Y at one point but add experience A to X and now you have created a whole new value proposition. That is a useful insight. 

Systems that go beyond “local optima”.  The only local Optima I know is at the Kia dealer. What pretentious bullshit! No one can see the whole. If you will pardon my hackneyed phraseology about blind men (yes that is able-ist, so shoot me) and elephants, the whole is a whole lot bigger than any of us. We are just playing with pieces. Pieces that fit, pieces that don’t fit and pieces that we are trying to force fit.  There are just so many pieces. The universe is vast and getting vaster, supposedly.

I am not getting religious here, although it may sound that way. The whole is completely relative. Everything is a part. A moving part. Floating through time. In parallel. Simultaneously, yet sequentially. Linearly and exponentially.

Massive apologies for sounding like an adolescent trying to sound smart. I never got that tendency out of my system, but I am also fully aware that I truly know nothing. The difference with age (and now I have a fair bit of that) is that I realize I know nothing and that most of the rest of the world are also dumbasses with the possible exception of Rory Sutherland. The human folly of this is that so many people are trying to replicate whatever the physical reality is to live in some alternative digital multiverse. Let’s code this. Let’s code that. Tokenize that. At the same time, the world has been fucking with computers for nearly 70 years and we are still developing note-taking apps and calendars.

Sure,video games are impressive, and the Internet is pretty cool too if I am honest. At the same time, in the age of the Internet what use is honesty. Deception is a feature, not a bug. Nature is full of deception. Life is literally sustained by deception.

All forms of life resort to some form of deception. And perhaps the biggest culprit ofall is self-deception.

Sure, I mocked George H.W. Bush and the absurdity of “Thousand Points of Light” back in the day. If you were alive then, so did you. It was stupid on many levels.  One thousand? Why pick a round number? Why stop at one thousand. There are so many more points and pieces out there, yet we live in a world where individuals or groups pick a few of these pieces and make them our reason for being. The importance is inflated.

Pieces are often picked by precedent. You just pick up the pieces where someone else left off. Perhaps, it was wisdom that work got divided that way. There is no real accounting for human talent. Human talent doesn’t really show up on a balance sheet. Maybe via some proxy metric like the valuation of intellectual capital, some aspect of human talent is recorded. But this extremely temporal. The output of any group of humans is different at any point in time.

These are the pieces that somehow got deemed important. It is capitalism’s fault. It is communism’s fault. I fall to pieces. The whole is just too unmanageable. It has to be broken down into manageable pieces.  It is random. Or is it?  Somewhere on the random-verse in how I view Twitter posts, I saw someone post a quote attributed to Mark Twain about how “good judgement is the result of experience and experience is the result of bad judgement”

It is true as long as you learn from your bad judgement. While experience is invaluable in some circumstances, it will blind you in other instances. If only I could know in advance when to trust my judgement and when to ignore it. That is the gift of prophecy. I think that only time travelers have that and they are generally forbidden from using it. Unless that was their express mission. And even then that is an insane risk.

One variable can make all the difference, and it  can make everything different. Just different, not necessarily better.  This is because everything is connected and interdependent.

When you can control the variables, the chances of tweaking something and making it better are much higher.

When the variables are unknown and infinite, your ability to control the situation is much lower than you expect.

You just have to write a whole bunch of shit down, and then you really have to edit.

But unhealthy relationship with information. We think it is more valuable than it really is. All information is freaking temporary

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