Why're Uber drivers less talkative?

Uber drivers proactively start a conversation significantly less than before Covid. Two reasons I can think of are a self-selecting population as well as a change in socialization preference (buoyed by Covid). The first is that there may be a specific self-selection. Given drivers are paid less by Uber, all drivers have an incentive to work other jobs, and the extroverted ones would have more opportunities, both in terms of networking as well as types of jobs. Therefore those drivers remaining may be more introverted. The other trend I've noticed is that that drivers will choose to talk to someone through an earpiece. Before Covid it was considered less reasonable to talk up someone while in a car. Since Covid has loosened that, it might be that drivers are free to express their socialization preference and talk with someone they already know, rather than chat up a stranger.


Andy Grove unimpressed by "These tough macroeconomic times"

From his Only the paranoid survive

I can’t help but wonder why leaders are so often hesitant to lead. Iguess it takes a lot of conviction and trusting your gut to get ahead of your peers, your staff and your employees while they are still squabbling about which path to take, and set an unhesitating, unequivocal course whose rightness or wrongness will not be known for years. Such a decision really tests the mettle of the leader. By contrast, it doesn’t take much self-confidence to downsize a company—after all, how can you go wrong by shuttering factories and laying people off if the benefits of such actions are going to show up in tomorrow’s bottom line and will be applauded by the financial community?


A sign of the times

I was on the bus talking shop with a friend who works as a tech investor. We eventually reached our stop, got off and started walking away when the bus driver called to us. At first I thought we had left something on the bus when the driver clarified they wanted an "AI stock pick". We gave a recommendation and continued on our way.


Athletes vs Programmers

Keith Rabois gave a talk in YC's startup class. Among many interesting things, I'll focus on his idea that since athletes do fine with salary transparency, maybe it could be more successful in tech too. However for three reasons I don't think the example of athletes generally translates to programmers[0].

Athletes have agents to negotiate on their behalf, but programmers negotiate themselves[1]. Therefore perceived discrepancies feel more personal.

Feedback Cycles
If an athlete improves you can see it quickly, as soon as the next game. Meanwhile, if you get better as a programmer it will take a long time, maybe years, before the impact is fully realized.

Telling the extreme performers for both are relatively clear. But in contrast to programmers, it's much easier to differentiate those in the middle of the distribution. Two reasons: first, every game is entirely recorded, from multiple angles even, and presumably teams also record their practices. In contrast, only an infinitesimal number of programmers do this[2]. Moreover, there're dozens of people at sports organizations who analyze all footage, whereas for programmers it can be hard, for good reasons, for even your manager to know exactly what you've been doing

[0] Like Rabois, I am not saying whether companies should or shouldn't have transparency
[1] There's a startup called FreeAgency trying to do this. (I'm not affiliated.)
[2] One example would be malisper


Urgent indeed

And whereas it must, of course, be the task of the historian, archaeologist, and prehistorian to show that the myths are as facts untrue -- that there is no one Chosen People of God in this multiracial world, no Found Truth to which we all must bow, no One and Only True Church -- it will be more and more, and with increasing urgency, the task of the psychologist and comparative mythologist not only to identify, analyze, and interpret the symbolized "facts of the mind," but also to evolve techniques for retaining these in health and, as the old traditions of the fading past dissolve, assist mankind to a knowledge and appreciation of our own inward, as well as the world's outward, orders of fact.

From Joseph Cambell's 1972 Myths to Live By. (Bolding mine)