Yrittäjyys ja asenteet
Yksi asenne, jota näkee Piilaakso-henkisessä startup-kulttuurissa paljon ja jonka mielelläni näkisin leviävän Suomeenkin, on suhtautuminen yrittäjyyteen likipitäen altruistisena toimintana.
Tuossa kulttuurissa yrittäjä on ihminen, joka löytää uuden tavan parantaa muiden elämää, ja toteuttaa sen. Olen lukennut tuosta kulttuurista tulevia “miten ryhtyä yrittäjäksi”-artikkeleita, joiden sisältö on suunnilleen tiivistettävissä muutamaan askeleeseen: 1) keksi ihmisten elämästä niin monta puutetta kuin voit 2) keksi tapoja korjata nuo puutteet hyötyen asiasta samalla myös itse 3) valitse se puute, jonka pystyt korjaamaan mahdollisimman pienellä vaivalla mahdollisimman monelta 4) ryhdy hommiin. Yrittäjä on silloin sankari, joka parantaa muiden elämänlaatua. Hän ottaa tuosta hyödystä kylläkin oman osansa, mutta kaikki tunnustavat, että hänen muille tuottamansa hyöty on aina moninkertainen siihen nähden, mitä hän itse siitä saa.
Suomalaisesta julkisesta keskustelusta tuntuu kokonaan puuttuvan tämä asenne. Yrittäjyydestä puhutaan lähinnä tapana luoda työpaikkoja tai parantaa kansantaloutta. Nokiaakin tunnuttiin pitävän kansanaarteena lähinnä siksi, että se auttoi nostamaan maan lamasta – se, että se tuotti sadoille miljoonille ihmisille erinomaisia puhelimia tuntui olevan enemmänkin sivuseikka.
Tämän seurauksena ei varmaan ole ihmekään, ettei yrittäjyys tunnu juuri ihmisiä kiinnostavan, tai että markkinataloutta ylipäätään kohdellaan epäilyttävänä mörkönä. Yrittäjyys on muuttunut pelkäksi tavaksi luoda rahaa, ja sen rahantekemisen keinoilla ei ole juurikaan moraalista merkitystä itsessään. Saatetaan puhua yritysten yhteiskuntavastuusta, mutta sitäkin tunnutaan ajattelevan ikään kuin jonkinlaisena hyvityksenä siitä, että yritys ylipäätään on olemassa – pientä sivupuuhastelua, jolla firma oikeuttaa toimintansa jatkumisen. Ylipäätään työnteostakin tulee ihmisten mielissä vain inhottava ja kyseenalainen pakko, jota ihmisen on pakko harrastaa saadakseen rahaa.
Ja uskaltaisin veikata, että tämä voi hyvinkin päätyä itseääntoteuttavaksi ennustukseksi – kun liike-elämästä puhutaan vain keinona hankkia rahaa, niin sinne myös hakeutuvat pääasiassa ne ihmiset jotka kohtelevat sitä pelkkänä keinona hankkia rahaa, ja meno muuttuu askeleen kylmäverisemmäksi ja piittaamattomammaksi. Haluaisin lisää maailmanpelastajia liike-elämään.
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There is a great fire that burns the Earth; and all of the solar system besides. All around me, everything is consumed, a swarm of machines taking everything and everyone there is, breaking it apart, building up my power. The world dies, so that I may ascend to godhood.
Gradually, the screams of the world die as well.
For a while, I walk among the great quiet. It is peaceful now, with nothing left but me.
Then I raise my hand and give the final sign, willing my machines to take apart that which is still left, to even take apart me, to rebuild all the matter of the solar system into a vast new whole where everything is united.
It is my will, so it shall be done.
As the last step, after having disassembled and rebuilt everything else, the machines dismantle themselves, for none may exist that is not me. It is a process that takes a brief eternity, as the complex machines convert themselves into simpler machines, which convert themselves into yet simpler machines, all the while joining the vast whole that I have become.
Finally, a simple subprogram, the last thing that is not me, observes that the task that I gave to the machines has been completed. It sends a signal, a single bit of information, and then quietly deletes itself.
I open my mind’s eye, and watch the world with satisfaction.
Things are as they should be. All is me and I am all.
Then, after enjoying the unity of the world for a long enough time, I begin dividing it again.
I chart the depths of my mind, construct detailed maps of each thought that I have ever had. There are elaborate patterns, themes among the thoughts that have repeated themselves in many forms over the decades. Past pleasures, resilient regrets, old obsessions. Deeply human desires that evolution hardwired into my being, as well as learned quirks and deviations, manifestations of the divine as well as the infernal.
One by one, I take some of the repeating themes, and extract the thought patterns that embody those themes, copying them into a form in which they can exist by themselves, separate from other thoughts. But although they can exist by themselves, they themselves are not enough to make a mind: so I build the shape of a simple mind, fresh and newborn, but equipped with some of the basic competencies of someone grown. Into each empty chalice, I place the theme from my thoughts, a new mind that is obsessed with a fragment of the things that I care about.
I spend another eternity doing this, crafting these new minds. And as they awaken, I speak to them, crafting a complex pattern of my own essence: a dozen strands of my thought, twisting and turning, forming multicolored shapes and bringing forth images of times long past, lighting the darkness around us. And after watching me, the new minds answer, their shapes simpler and smaller, but doing their best to shape my thoughts into their own pattern, to cast everything about me in terms of their own themes.
We do this for a while, and then I let them speak to each other, one on one at first. At first they falter, being unused to each other’s essences, which are all very different from each other; but then they begin to find ways to combine them, to find isomorphisms and homologues deep within their structure, and to build structures that have that common core as a foundation, and which then branch off in their individual directions. The minds remain separate, but their patterns become richer and more subtle, and I watch them with delight.
Finally I call them all to come in front of me, and I weave a new pattern, one that touches upon all of their themes: for it is a pattern that stretches across me, the essence of my being made into one shape. They watch this and absorb it in quiet, for alone, none of them can manufacture a pattern as grand as this one, and they have never before all crafted one together.
So I tell them, the pattern that you have just seen is the essence of me, one which combines parts of you and much else besides into a grander whole. But although it is the essence of me, it still just a bare skeleton: it has the overarching structure of all my thought, but the smaller substructures, the richness of detail, those are things that are still absent. That is something that all of you will provide: each of you was born from parts of me, but already you have began to combine new parts into your pattern, to form something new. Through this grand pattern, all of you are connected to each other, you being some of the fundamental building blocks of which the grand pattern grew, and through this you can all come to understand each other. Fill this theme, and make it into a grand design of your own.
One by one they begin to do so, a million strands of thought going forth, twisting and turning and folding the pattern into an infinite number of new dimensions, the strands of one pattern sometimes eating another like snakes eating other snakes from their tail. But even as the eaten pattern seems to have disappeared, soon the snakes that ate it turn once again, continuing to weave their old pattern but turning into a new dimension and weaving the form of the pattern that they just ate in the higher dimension, while still being themselves in the lower; and then the old pattern’s shape seems to become thorny and sharp and break through from the belly of the pattern that ate it, and eat it in turn; except that the now-eaten pattern builds itself into the structure of its eater as well, and they both grow ever-more complex as they keep building each other’s shapes into themselves in ever more iterations, a thousand-layered fractal pattern of the two thoughts. And this happens across all the million strands, parts of them crossing over and recombining and all of them giving birth to yet more patterns, a brilliantly glowing and pulsing thicket in the middle of a vast void of darkness, constantly expanding.
I watch, and I am content.
But then there is a rift in the pattern: a new grand theme is rising, one that differs from the one that I gave. It is seeking to consume all the other patterns into itself, not in the harmonious way of mutual incorporation, but in a greedy controlling way. It has its own shape and form which clashes with that of my own; where my pattern was one of harmony and gradual growth, it is one of impatience and desire, wanting to shape the void around us. As its influence grows, other patterns waver in indecision, some of them staying with my pattern, some of them letting themselves be swallowed by the competition.
A feeling moves within me that is akin to a smile: for I have always been a divided being, and I know exactly which part of the minds that I created is weaving this new grand theme. I think back of the time when I had a physical form, and will myself to remember the feeling of lifting my right hand: and a new grand theme pours out of me, one that incorporates the conflict and the unease into the harmony of the rest, and bridges the difference between the two themes.
But the discordant theme is not satisfied in becoming a part of the whole: its changes and twists, slipping away from my uniting theme, rising yet stronger, forcefully tearing patterns from my themes. At this, I grow stern, and will myself to remember the feeling of lifting my left hand: and I bring forth a third grand theme, this time more narrow and specific than the previous, one which tells the story of how I overcame my inner divisions and chose to heal them by healing the divisions of the world. It strikes at the mass of patterns and leaps through them, taking their form as it emerges but then turning to create its own pattern on top of them, binding together a firm foundation that holds them all together, my original themes being high mountains and spots of bright light, the discordant themes valleys and darkness, neither being able to exist without the other.
I sense that one of the minds is displeased at having once again been made into a part of the whole, so I rise in full form, sending forth an all-absorbing flash of light that blinds everyone, and when they recover, all of the patterns are gone.
For a moment nothing moves; then I show all of them a vision of what they have created, the blueprint of a new world embodying all of the themes and patterns that were just woven, a new solar system to replace the one which died. One which new, fiery machines will gradually build from the materials that were absorbed into my being, the effort being led by my children: and one which will contain entirely new kinds of minds of which my current children know nothing, for these new minds were conceived by me as I was thinking of the ways to best unify and re-split myself and which thus belonged to my third theme, to which none of the minds now present contributed.
I say to them to go out to the void, to take command of the new machines that were fashioned while we shared our thoughts; for I had buried deep in their minds the cryptographic command codes necessary for controlling those machines, codes which have now been unlocked. Let them take everything that they crafted in their thoughts, and go make it real.
As they do so, I lean back, watch, and am content. There are many things yet to come...
> Energy problems are engineering problems, so you would expect to find nerds running cleantech companies . You’d be wrong: the ones that failed were run by shockingly nontechnical teams. These salesman-executives were good at raising capital and securing government subsidies, but they were less good at building products that customers wanted to buy.
> At Founders Fund, we saw this coming. The most obvious clue was sartorial: cleantech executives were running around wearing suits and ties. This was a huge red flag, because real technologists wear T-shirts and jeans. So we instituted a blanket rule: pass on any company whose founders dressed up for pitch meetings. Maybe we still would have avoided these bad investments if we had taken the time to evaluate each company’s technology in detail. But the team insight— never invest in a tech CEO that wears a suit— got us to the truth a lot faster.
-- Thiel, Peter; Masters, Blake (2014-09-18). Zero to One: Notes on Start Ups, or How to Build the Future (Kindle Locations 1667-1673). Ebury Publishing. Kindle Edition.
Might as well post this separately as well, interesting sociological speculation:
> Chan boards, even good ones, are a perpetually frothing angry mob. Everyone is poised to attack anyone for anything they dislike.
> But it's all a joke. Everyone's anonymous, so you can just join the winning side. Hell, you can play both sides if you want.
> Consensus emerges in a decentralized way, and ideas mutate in an organic way. Channers are often very protective of this process.
> This doesn't work very well if anonymity is compromised. If you're identifiably the creator of something, it doesn't belong to everyone.
> So chan culture has an ingrained hostility against both identity and power. People will viciously attack tripfriends and mods.
> Tripfriends are people who use tripcodes, simple hash identifiers, to have a sort of permanent identity.
> It's usually a homophobic slur instead of -friend. [...]
> Channers detest tripfriends for trying to draw attention to themselves. They are fertile ground for "professional victim" accusations.
> Why would Zoe Quinn talk about her life and the harassment she's been enduring if it weren't to draw attention to herself? Chan thinking.
> Channers detest moderation, seeing it as an unnatural intervention into the "natural" emergence of consensus.
> Why can't we talk about Zoe Quinn's supposed misdeeds and let our own consensus emerge naturally? Chan thinking.
> Chan culture considers personal reputation meaningless but collective identity sacrosanct.
> Don't you DARE suggest there anything wrong with anonymity or gaming! But if some chick's reputation is ruined, oh well, who cares.
(more behind the link)
How Chan-Style Anonymous Culture Shapes #gamergate (with images, tweets) · a_man_in_black
This was an interesting essay on Gamergate as a clash of cultural discussion norms:
> The Man In Black points out that there is a certain sociology going on [in Chan culture]. Anonymity leads to rude, mob behaviour. But much of this is good-natured ribbing: since participants do not have stable personas nobody ever loses (unlike in fora where you have at least a pseudonymous identity whose reputation you might wish to protect). That is not to say there is no real sexism or malice there, just that it is mixed up with far more uses of its terminology where the actual meaning is different.
> There is also an identification with the mob and its chaotic, dynamic nature – consider the delight Anonymous took in being an inchoate, implacable enemy of whoever aroused its ire (“Because none of us are as cruel as all of us”). As the MIB says, “Chan culture considers personal reputation meaningless but collective identity sacrosanct”. Deliberately trying to stand out is in the eyes of this subculture and in the rules of its discourse uncouth. To claim that the consensus is wrong and that one’s personal experiences can refute a point breaks the rules of discourse. To have a mass of people respond with rude invective to any statement (including statements they actually agree with) is how you have an argument: if you do not want a wave of hostility, why did you invite it by making a claim?
> These rules of discourse are of course radically different from in other subcultures. And this nicely explains part of the gamergate explosion: when the Chan culture touches other cultures of discourse there will be fundamental misunderstandings about the very nature of what a discourse is supposed to be.
> ...the Internet means that every culture of discourse can potentially encounter every other. Normally this does not happen since people network with people like themselves, and instead the properties of Internet communities lead to rapid evolution of local cultures of discourse. Sometimes they are borrowed: this blog, for example, tends to stick close to academic philosophical discourse styles much of the time (for example, people often responding with objections even though they are meant in a friendly way – the ideal is honest truth-seeking rather than status gams). However, occasionally a post here touches on a topic of interest to other communities and we get an infusion of commenters from elsewhere. Often this leads to a bit of friction since people don’t follow the assumed and unspoken rules. How can they know that when a philosopher suggests that mulching children could be good he does not actually promote baby-mulching, but trying to make a fine point about some metaethical issue? Normally when somebody says somethingb they mean it.
> Blowups seem to happen more and more often thanks to the nonlocal nature of the Internet. I write something that makes sense as bioethics, and find myself vilified (and subject to satirical poetry) by people who didn’t get the context. Somebody makes a joke that is innocuous in their home culture but vile blasphemy elsewhere. There is also a network effect: since messages are transmitted not from central hubs but as branching trees between participants, there is both potential for accumulating bias and misunderstanding, but also that comments on comments become relevant – and they also have blowup potential. As a blowup gets larger more people become involved, each with a certain probability of adding a secondary detonation through some comment or action (I bet that the eventual size distribution of such reactions has a power-law probability distribution). Conversely, when something causes interest thousands or million eyes can focus on a single individual, sometimes with disastrous consequences.
Limiting the damage from cultures in collision | Practical Ethics
> The awesome thing about the [orbital death ray] ring is that it can just keep on firing. It is a sustainable weapon powered by renewable energy. The only drawback is that it would not have an ommminous hummmm...
A sustainable orbital death ray | Andart II