a great little story on motivation, messy human stuff, and a passage we're pondering
Timour Kosters down the deicion making 🐇🕳️
Welcome to the startupy newsletter, a laid back column about very serious ideas.
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Cool things curated in our universe
A GREAT LITTLE STORY ON MOTIVATION
TWO RELATED THINGS THAT WILL MAKE YOU WONDER
This drawing from Tim Urban’s new book What’s our Problem
Barack Obama on why we need to get over cancel culture: There is this sense that the way of making change is to be as judgmental as possible. Like if I tweet or hashtag about why you used the wrong verb then I can sit back and feel good about myself.
A PASSAGE WE’RE PONDERING
From Ram Dass’s Be Here Now:
I can do nothing for you but work on myself...you can do nothing for me but work on yourself.
HUMANS ARE COMPLEX
Natural diamonds are formed under extreme conditions of high pressure and high temperature deep within the Earth's mantle over millions of years, while lab-grown diamonds are produced using advanced technological processes in a lab setting.
I feel like we can draw a parallel here with AI.
The AIs may become better than humans at creating content. But so what? Content isn’t interesting if it’s not part of a (para)social relationship.
Or as Nick Cave put it, we are drawn to human limitation and the audacity to transcend it. Artificial Intelligence, for all its unlimited potential, simply doesn’t have this capacity.
THIS WEEK’S JUST TRUST ME
Alex Dobrenko’s substack, where he writes funny weird vulnerable stuff every week.
His latest post on why everyone needs to shut the f**k up about AI is good and funny.
investor at Seed Club Ventures
Rabbit hole: Decision Making
Why is Decision Making interesting?
Our decisions shape our world. It's a seemingly simple topic with a lot of depth, combining aspects of behavioral science, psychology, economics, group governance, and many other fields.
A lot of the research isn't new. The most common biases are well-studied, but this doesn't make them easier to avoid. Like optical illusions, even knowing how they work doesn't help to change our perceptions. The more I learn about the classic errors (e.g., anchoring, resulting, contagion), the more I see them everywhere; on Twitter, in startup decisions, and in my personal choices.
This is particularly important in group decision-making environments, like teams or DAOs. At our venture DAO, for example, we are learning to be much more thoughtful in decision processes to take advantage of the benefits of our structure and minimize the potential pitfalls.
A podcast worth listening to on the topic?
There is a great 4-part podcast from Lux Capital on the topic. Here is part one. It is a roundtable discussion with three great thinkers in this area: Daniel Kahneman, Annie Duke, and Michael Mauboussin. It's quick but a good overview of some interesting theories and practical tools, like pre-mortems.
Things worth reading and watching on the topic?
I've discovered some great posts on Startupy:
Barack Obama on how we approaches tough decisions. Because one of the risks of soliciting views from a large group is that a current of thinking can quickly take shape and move everybody in the same direction. Having at least one contrarian in the room pushed us all to think harder — and, frankly, everyone was a bit freer with their opinions when that contrarian wasn’t me.
I would also recommend reading How To Decide by Annie Duke or this interview with her from Behavioral Scientist. I especially like the idea of "freerolls" that she discusses in the article.
Lastly, this is a cool look at decision-making in groups and the importance of reputation: Quantifying Reputation in DAOs (part 1)
Projects worth following on the topic?
Some interesting mechanisms are being developed in the DAO space to create better decision-making frameworks for decentralized groups, which are highly susceptible to decision biases.
jokeDAO uses the concept of contests to help groups decide various possible decisions. I particularly like the idea of using this mechanism for something like editing proposals or curation.
Prop House is a cool mechanism from the Nouns ecosystem. It makes it super simple to decide how to allocate capital toward projects in a community setting.
Thank you for reading!
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damn! that little motivation story hits hard.