Gladwell gives us a reason to revisit the Grandiosity/Contribution Ratio

Andrew Gelman has an excellent take-down of a recent Malcolm Gladwell essay. I may dive in with my own criticisms of Gladwell's arguments, but for now here's some context on one passage that particularly bothered Gelman.

"It has become fashionable to deride today’s tech C.E.O.s for their grandiose ambitions: colonizing Mars, curing all human disease, digging a world-class tunnel. But shouldn’t we prefer these outsized delusions to the moral impoverishment of Welch’s era?"

The Martian stuff is too big a topic for the moment, but the Boring Company is and has always been a Theranos-style exercise in promising incredible (in both senses of the word) proposed advances with no idea how to actually achieve them. As with Holmes, Musk used this snake oil to raise hundreds of millions in funding, but the real pay-off was in maintaining Musk's reputation as a real life Tony Stark, which props up the valuation of Tesla making Musk the richest man in the world (as long as the stock price holds).

This recent WSJ expose provides a detailed overview of the scam.

As for the origin of the "curing all human disease" line...

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

The Grandiosity/Contribution Ratio

From Gizmodo [emphasis added]
Zuck and Priscilla laid out the schematics for this effort on Facebook Live. The plan will be part of the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative and will be called simply “Chan Zuckerberg Science.” The goal, (Read more...)