2016-05-06

Things I Never Have Time For

While reading some US political comment about "probability being less than zero," I was just thinking about how confusing negative numbers are to concrete thinkers. How do you explain negative space, concretely? How about so-called complex numbers (square roots of negative numbers)? The answer in concrete terms... requires us to reflect upon the nature of our cognitive apparatus, the information system which is a combination of our wetware and the culture which is contemporary mathematical language.

The number line is what we refer to as a frame of reference... when describing enumerable things, such as space. How is this handled by the information system? The system notes a point in space, and arbitrarily annotates it with a mark, 'zero', arbitrarily picks out another point, 'one', and thereby initiates a vector: a linguistic and now mathematical construct which is extendable to an arbitrary degree (to infinities, and beyond?) - note that the formation of this concept was contingent upon a primal cognizance of space (classically referred to as the transcendental aesthetic - a loose interpretation).

But then what if we wish to refer to some space behind us, oh, it appears we say it is 'negative one', because that is conventional language. (Wow. Much abstract. Many dimensionality.) And then we potter on and perhaps need to find the square root of some locus in negative space, and thereby come to invent the construct of complex numbers. (Wow. Many abstractions. So impressed.) But none of this is strictly necessary if we simply revisit our foundations, and move the mark 'zero' further back from where we had initially placed it.

So it has for a long time, seemed to me that contemporary language relies on crutches upon crutches of monkey-patching. And our Standard Theory is encumbered by these semantics such that they grate upon our apparati, burning resources, and bleeding our civilisations of their productivity. Mathematics is not inherently hard to learn, but our language for describing mathematics is, today.

I have often wondered what we would discover if we rewrote the semantics of Standard Theory in a refactored fashion... attempting to cut through all the pointer-salad that give us our canon on standard mathematical notation. But, I have never really found the time to study the problem carefully.

CEO Compensation

Why should a CEO be highly paid. (A) she is irreplaceable (B) she has ensured that she is easily replaceable. I prefer B. And the same is true of staff in any other role.

Nature of a Business

Now this might come as a shock to some people, but it would seem obvious to others. (All mentions of 'food' below should be regarded as 'food and beverage'.) I was just discussing with a partner why I don't run Sudo's social media properties in a more foodie-friendly fashion. The reason is that I'm running it as "we're not a food brand, but food is our revenue model," similar to how "Facebook is not an ads company, but ads are the revenue model." Of course, it could be a complete mistake, and this might not be a bankable approach.

In terms of positive statements, it would be fairly accurate to say that we have been run as a provider of infrastructure that facilitates the acquisition and distribution of knowledge. Sudo is an IT company masquerading as a food company. Even the people who work here who think that food is the core value proposition... are the like the people who manage ad products at Facebook who think that ads are Facebook's core value proposition - neither could be farther from the truth.

As Starbucks understands fairly well, the coffeeshop business can be primarily about the management of space - space that is used by a population to engage in particular activities. Starbucks takes a humanistic value and commercialises it - social life. I simply took an intellectual value - learning - and am proceeding to attempt the same commercialisation. This may not be successful, but it is what we are currently able to attempt.

Also, it's the only way to make food interesting to me, I suppose. Pleb foods, hipster foods, all a captive market of sorts - potential cash cows for more interesting and scalable endeavours. I'm certainly not a foodie myself - it's one of those luxuries that is disincentivises by the pursuit of technical knowledge. While I dislike greasy foods, and find people who like greasy foods disgusting, I nevertheless maintain the highest respect and professional appreciation for the experts in the food industry who have shared their views and emotions with me. Anyone who masters a value chain and is able to turn it into a business deserves to be a leader.

As for myself, I'm never quite sure if we're ready.