Tanner Talks (5/4/2020)

Happy Monday!

Welcome from Chandler, Arizona.

I want to start this off with a quote that summarizes what I’ve been thinking about this week:

“It is not a matter of what is true that counts, but a matter of what is perceived to be true.”
Henry A. Kissinger


Personal News:

First, I wrote a new essay titled The False Dichotomy of Signaling. 

Here’s a quote from the essay:

Signaling can be both good and bad. Whether it’s good or bad entirely depends on context and meaning. And while it’s neither good nor bad, it is undeniably necessary.

I also put out a semi-spicy take on Twitter about signaling. I got a few interesting responses, and the tweet inspired some additional thoughts that I’ll be writing about on the blog.


Keeping Your Identity SmallY Combinator Founder Paul Graham explores why politics and religion are such polarizing topics in our world. He argues that these things become a part of a person’s identity. When something becomes part of your identity, you feel forced to hold strong opinions about them. He comes to the following conclusion:

“If people can’t think clearly about anything that has become part of their identity, then all other things being equal, the best plan is to let as few things into your identity as possible.”

The Leadership Paradox: We often label traits as good or bad. But Brett Bartholomew argues that there is often a bright and dark side to any trait, even Machiavellianism.

He argues that leaders sometimes have to tap into the dark side of a trait to influence others. That’s okay. It’s a necessary component of leadership.

Find Brett’s work at https://brettbartholomew.net/bretts-blog/

Zero Trust InformationPopular tech blogger Ben Thompson wrote an excellent piece looking at the intersection of information and the coronavirus pandemic.

It’s well worth the read. I was especially drawn to his example of how information has changed over time, which I will explain below.

Before the Internet, information followed a normal distribution curve.

There was very little misinformation, the highest amount of mediocre information, and not a lot of truly excellent information. You can see this in the first two images.

As inhabitants of the Information Age, we’re all aware of the explosion of information quantity. There is a lot more information available to us now than there was when Walter Cronkite was the most trusted man in America.

As a result, the distribution curve has shifted upwards. That means there’s a lot more misinformation than there once was (fake news), but there’s also significantly more extremely valuable information. This is good news for all of us, especially as we endure a worldwide pandemic.

This shift in our information environment has massive consequences for our present day and the future.

If this kind of stuff intrigues you, I suggest you take 10 minutes to the full article.

Excuse me, I’m going to go throw upHere’s a picture of Manhattan from the in-progress Empire State Building. Were there no safety laws? Gahhhhhhh


That’s all for this week. Thanks so much for your time. I hope you and your family have a happy and healthy week.

Until next time,

Tanner Reklaitis