Blogs May 31, 2010 at 3:41 pm


This all affirms what I came to conclude after I wrote off my first career. I'm very impressed that it is being recognized broadly as something other than unorthodox and absurd.

Personally, it's a relief to hear.
The cartoony presentation is annoying, but the message is interesting. He sideswipes the real cancer in corporate America, the executive class that care only for their pay and perquisites. Shareholder value is almost as irrelevant as the employees ( who are Resources, not people ) and the customers.
Great talk, memorable presentation of it. A real affirmation of what intrinsically makes sense to me. Most people want to get up in the morning and do something they care about, do it well, and without being micromanaged. Sadly, for many it's hard to find that sort of work while not needing to worry about money.

And of course, since Wall Street is all about financial rewards, it makes sense that things are getting worse and worse as bonuses are getting bigger and bigger.
It sounds and looks like the Nowtopia guy and and his interpretation of work/existence. Thanks Jonathan.

So, SLOG is going to stop pimping the iPad and screwing people into the AAPL ponzi scheme?

Use AAPL products, love 'em.

On a related note - you can see more of RSA Animate on their website. It's all pretty interesting stuff:
@5 oh, John Bailo you really should take your meds now; they won't make you sane per se, but they will help how you percieve with and interact with the rest of society.


"Guilty Verdict in Cyber Stalking Case
April 10th, 2010 — 9:35am

Following a four-day trial in front of Judge Peter J. Maceroni, a Macomb County jury convicted 26-year-old Nhia Lee of harassing and intimidating a beauty pageant queen, Mai Hlee Xiong. After three hours of deliberating, the conviction was announced on Friday at 2pm at the Macomb County Circuit Court in Mount Clemens, Michigan. Nhia Lee was found guilty of “unlawful posting of a message,” a cyber stalking law that carries a maximum penalty of two years of incarceration and up to $5,000 in fines."
A social psychologist, Mihaly Czikszentmihalyi (I know, his name's a mouthful... it's pronounced: ME-high chick-sent-me-HIGH-yee) has been working on this very topic for many years. He calls it "Flow"...…) a sort of mental state where people are fully immersed and engaged in what they're doing and are intrinsically motivated and happy to do it, even if it's something complicated, simply because they enjoy it. Like, if you really like building model airplanes, you can be all into it for hours and hours even if others might find it dreadfully boring.

It would be fantastic if all business models could function this way (and it would be a nice "Fuck You!" to all Ayn Randbots out there). Unfortunately, there are probably some fundamental necessities out there that nobody is interested in doing for any reason... sometimes it really IS a dirty job, but somebody's gotta do it.
I love the presentation, with the time-lapsed artwork... so cool to look at, and saying something that needs to be more widely known. Abusive bosses aren't just hurting their employees, they're hurting their own bottom lines! The whip-and-pay style of management worked reasonably well when most work was unskilled, industrial, manual labor, but know that the stiffs are being replaced by robots and most work is brain work we need a new paradigm. Salaries should be flat, the same for everyone, and indexed to inflation. Bosses should be laid back and serve to encourage rather than punish. And people should be allowed to do their thing and blossom! Bosses need to bury their egos and realize that the workers aren't actually dependent on them to do their jobs. A light touch is the way to go.
@ Urguth: yup, sure there are those vital jobs that are not too pleasant to do that need to be heavily compensated for, but what about the the other work that those same people often do in their "off time" like volunteer at a bike repair place or grow an urban garden or write open source code or work at a soup kitchen, they need to be recognized for those talents and abilities and perhaps even moved up in their respective employment because of those skills and determination.
@10, "Salaries should be flat, the same for everyone, and indexed to inflation."

Umm... no, that's not what this says.

The thesis is: within a profession and experience level, bonus systems do not promote skill.

However, the relative pay scale of a profession will certainly impact people's willingness to invest in training and education. Therefore, salaries should reflect both the investment period required to get the job, and also the supply/demand of people with that set of skills.

Example: Nurse. Years of hard work. More people needed that willing to go through the education process or take the job. Pay more.

Verses Photoshop monkey. A few weeks of part-time training. More people willing to take the job than there is demand for the work. Pay less.

But apparently, if this lecture is to be believed, you don't want to pay the nurse a bonus based on how fast patients in his/her care get discharged.

I agree. The downside is the "Seattle Artists" complex. A situation where there are no demands or constraints and everyone gets to "be creative". What you end up with a whole lot of mediocrity, for which people wish to be paid.
and @8:

okay then, umm yeah sure, whatever goofnozzle.
As I read these comments so far, it appears that the gist is being missed by all except, say, Canadian Nurse @3, who clearly parsed this much the way I did.

Perhaps it's that the circumstances in this video describing the social-economic research — that is, all corroborating the same general finding — fails to mesh with the American work ethic of "work hard, make money; work harder, make more money; make more money, be more successful to make more money."

I have to wonder whether many are prepared to hear and interpret these findings. The body of comments, exception noted, suggests not.
Thanks for sharing, Dr. G.
But but but . . . they don't explain why profit incentives fail in cognitive tasks. Yes, I agree that people care about autonomy, mastery, and purpose, but they also care about money, most notably because a higher salary enables you to work fewer hours and spend more time playing guitar and volunteering.
@12 Yes, exactly.

I'll assume by "discharge" you actually mean "help people truly get healthy". Because if you give bonuses based on discharge, than that will encourage doctors and nurses to discharge people before they are actually well.

Pay the nurse enough so that they know they will be able to eat and pay their mortgage and have some savings without worry. Then give them the complete autonomy to do their job, which is to take care of the sick and injured to the best of their ability.

Which nurse would you rather took care of you? Or someone you love? The nurse that wants to discharge you ASAP, or a nurse that's not being nagged at by worries about money, and can focus on the patient and proper care?
When you give someone a high reward, they view the task as "high risk". They don't see it as "if I succeed, I'll get $2,500 extra", they see it as "If I fail, I LOSE $2,500 that I could have had."
This leads to a high level of stress in the body, resulting in the animal side of the brain taking over. We need our human brain to do high level cognitive skills, and that side of our brain shuts down when faced with high stress.
I wanted my last employer to use Baysian statistics to identify fraudlent transactions. Nobody was interested in listening to me. I don't work there any more.

ehhh . . . "the animal side of the brain" ? "our human brain" ?
This is ridiculous for two reasons.

1) There is a big difference between giving incentives for a task and the bonuses that Wall Street employees get after a years worth of work. There are people who choke on big tests, but put together great projects and achieve in the workplace.

2) The title "Why Wall Street Fails" makes no sense for the above mentioned reason, and because Wall Street hasn't failed. If you want to argue that it would have failed without bailouts -- fine. But the idea that the recession was caused by a corrupted incentive system, or greed on Wall Street alone, is way off. The economy, by definition, is a collective entity made up of many parts. HUD and other government sweetheart lender deals certainly didn't help Wall Street. Neither did the SEC's incompetence, or the ignorance and frivolous nature of the public. Capitalism and free markets in the US have built the strongest economies that the world has seen. It will falter from time to time and need revision, but ultimately what Wall Street stands for at a fundamental level is what makes this country so great. It's not perfect and certainly has it's bad apples, but it serves as a conduit to invest in the success of our nation.

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