1 year ago for day 155, 2019 with 474 words.

How to win from artificial complexity


From skin in the game (page 29)

Now skin in the game brings simplicity- the disarming simplicity of things properly done. People who see complicated solutions do not have an incentive to implement simplified ones. As we saw, a bureacratized system will increase in complication from the interventionism of people who sell complicated solutions be use that’s what their position and training invite them to do.

“Things designed by people without skin in the game tend to grow in complication (before their final collapse)”

There is absolutely no benefit for a person in such a position to propose something simple; when you are rewarded for participation, not results, you need to show sophistication. Anyone who has submitted a scholarly paper to a journal knows that you usually raise the odds of acceptance by making it more complicated than necessary. Further, there are side effects for problems that grow nonlinearly with such branching-out complications. Worse:

“Non-skin in the game people don’t get simplicity’.

This idea links right to Einstein's simple yet powerful ideas from 1905. In a simple, yet revolutionary paper that included at the most senior high school math, Einstein shared his views on relativity by providing a solution based primarily on the concept of time. It is to him that the phrase "If you can't explain it simply, you don't understand it well enough" is attributed.

How to win from artificial complexity:

Simplify by getting back to the basics:

Lindy effect. Things that worked for a long time will probably still work.

  • Sleep

    : Removed from modern society, sleep is not a problem. If I can create a sleep environment as if I wasn’t in modernity, I should sleep fine. (Nat Eliason)

  • Losing weight

    : People without access to food get very skinny. If I eat less, I will lose weight. (Nat Eliason)

Beware who you are taking advice from

Nassim Taleb explains in the book Skin in the Game: “Beware of the person who gives advice, telling you that a certain action on your part is ‘good for you’ while it is also good for him, while the harm to you doesn’t directly affect him“.

It is important that you discover people’s true incentive. You should probably never ask a barber if you need a new haircut. It’s obviously in the barber interest for you to get a haircut, whether or you need one. They will always be going to tell you, you need one.

Similar, a consultant will always tell you that you need more consulting hours. Charlie Munger famously quotes: “In my long life, I have never seen a management consultant's report that didn't end with the same advice: ‘This problem needs more management consulting services’.”


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By Kent de Bruin

Building up the habit

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