Greedy Goblin

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Don't do better, do differently!

The career path of doctors is pretty conservative. First they go to med school. Then they go to do busywork in a hospital as residents. Then they become associates of an established doctor. Only after that, probably more than 15 years after they started the process will they become the ones who do something great on their own.

Wouldn't be cooler if a bunch of students would just self-teach, found a hospital and outdo the old ones? Of course it would be. It doesn't happen though.

Same with farmers, mechanical engineers, homebuilders, athletes and practically everyone else in the professional work. You don't start as a superstar. You start as a student, then continue as an apprentice, than as one of the practicing guys and finally you become a big guy in your field.

For some weird reason, people in EVE find this obvious path bad. Now a HERO leader passed his tears to the public because new wannabe alliance leaders cannot skip that path. They can't just start their own alliance and grow big, they must join the established ones and climb the ladder. And this is so horribly bad, because in a video game we should be able to do what we can't do in real life and become accomplished, acclaimed hot-shots overnight. Well, I've heard in WoW everyone is a hero, maybe you should try it.

The CFC and N3 leaders aren't "just" good in leading coalitions. They are doing it longer than we are playing the game. The Mittani was already behind a CSM term before I got my first million ISK. Vince was leading supercapital fleets before I got my first destroyer. They earned their place in competition with literally everyone in Sov-Null. How much arrogance one needs to believe that there is a systemic error if he can't beat these guys on their own turf?!

But sometimes the magic happens: guys go into the garage of their parents and cook up something that changes the World. Microsoft, Apple, Facebook and many-many startup began their saga in the hands of untrained, unprofessional, unsupported, unconnected youngsters. Why shouldn't you be the next?

Because you aren't even trying! These guys didn't do better. They did different. Zuckerberg didn't write a better social media than the existing ones. There were no existing ones. Facebook isn't 10% faster or considered easier to use by 5% more testers than the competitors, it was pioneer work. The old guys couldn't beat him down because there were no old guys on the field.

Any established theater is ... established. It isn't without progress and you can be part of the progress, but there is no way you can start an alternative establishment. You have to join the existing, prove yourself to the big guys, carry their suitcase and learn from them. After you know more than them can you become someone within the same establishment.

Or, you can go somewhere where no one went before. To a virgin land without establishment. If you build something worthy there, you'll be the first - therefore the best - on the field. Of course most places are simply unsuitable for building anything and anyone tries will become one of those perpetuum mobile creating weirdos. The reason why people want to outdo other people isn't simply being competitive, it's avoiding risks: building a coalition is possible, as others did it already. Starting a highsec war against a nullsec coalition on the other hand not only looks silly, but there is no proof that it can theoretically work.

It does. 1.18T losses in Feb-May and another 0.29T in June. Of course before that there were horribly failed ideas including unorthodox titan fits, keeping up a sov-holder based on donations and countless other weird ideas you could see in this blog.

It's respected to do as others, but better, as imitation is the most sincere form of flattery. Flattered veterans sometimes throw a well-wish or some handout to the "adorable newbie". Maybe cry with them about how hard it is, because that means that they are awesome for overcoming this hardship. Doing something different meets with ridicule and dismissal. After all, you can only be right if they are wrong.

You should really stop crying that you can't succeed outperforming the veterans on their own turf. Start finding your own turf instead!

PS: this Goon minion had a T1 cyno frig. With a capsule that would bring tears of joy to the New Order.
Bonus: a pure blood Goon was doing what they are best at.


mugg said...

"Zuckerberg didn't write a better social media than the existing ones."

Friendster, MySpace, Bebo, Orkut

Gevlon said...

And many other. But neither one was known to the users. Most first used Facebook.

He was among the first pioneers. The competitors weren't more established than himself. It wasn't like "everyone" was on MySpace and he took them.

Anonymous said...

In some ways it was. At the start of Facebook it was limited to American students, once that base of next generation users was quite well covered it opened and almost as fast as over night the established ones crumbled, because everyone knew already someone who was on there.

In Facebooks case it was lucky timing. A year earlier or later, and someone else would have taken the place.

Gevlon said...

Indeed. You need to be where the field opens to be a pioneer. If Columbus sailed to America earlier, the ships weren't good enough to make it. If he sailed later, someone else would get ahead of him. But that doesn't change that he sailed into the unknown instead of doing yet another trip around Africa to India as everyone else.

Anonymous said...

"But sometimes the magic happens: guys go into the garage of their parents and cook up something that changes the World. Microsoft, Apple, Facebook and many-many startup began their saga in the hands of untrained, unprofessional, unsupported, unconnected youngsters. Why shouldn't you be the next?"

I recommend checking out Malcolm Gladwell's book [i]"Outliers: The Story of Success"[/i], where he thoroughly examines and dismantles this trope.

It turns out that the heroes of these success stories were not so untrained, after all - if anything, they were the complete opposite. Bill Gates gained access to his first computer in 1968, when he was 13, so he had more than 10000 hours of programming practice by the time Microsoft became a thing. The Beatles had more than 1200 professional performances (totalling more than 10000 hours of practice) before they had their first breakthrough.

The aforementioned "lucky timing" factor is also mentioned in the book. The conclusion is that you need both components for overwhelming success. You need to catch that elusive opportunity window *and* already have 10000 hours of worthwhile practice by the time it comes around.

Gevlon said...

There are always opportunity windows but in different fields.

Most people with good training go to a high-paying job. Bill Gates could go work for the IBM for 6 figures first year upgrading mainframes. Yet he started working on Personal Computers, a field that barely existed.

Of course if you are a clueless idiot you won't make a difference. But just having training, just trying hard won't help either: you need to go to an untouched field.

Anonymous said...

@ Anonymous: Whilst Malcolms book is widely quoted, new meta analysis is showing this is not always the case

"But Macnamara and her colleagues found that practice explained 12 percent in mastering skills in various fields, from music, sports and games to education and professions. The importance of practice in various areas was: 26 percent for games, 21 percent for music, 18 percent for sports, 4 percent for education and less than 1 percent for other professions.
Their conclusion was based on a comprehensive review of 9,331 research papers about practice relating to acquiring skills. They focused specifically on 88 papers that collected and recorded data about practice times."

jstk said...

While I agree with your view that a newer entity should obviously not be on par with established ones, you have to remember that there are far less oportunities for innovation in Eve (no matter how sandboxy it is) compared to real life.

Anonymous said...

@ Anon regarding the

The article seems to imply some sort of measured, formalized "practice" as being different from the actual performance (musician, doctor, teacher, etc). That's a big distinction.

The 10 year "overnight" success doesn't spend 10,000 hours practicing and then all of a sudden is "performing sucessfully". He/she has been trying to perform all along, or to put it differently- mere practice doesn't necessarily hone skill, everything has to be done as the real deal, no holding back, with a deliberate focus to fix every mistake and get better. Practice does not make perfect; perfect practice makes perfect.

Anonymous said...

The 10000 hours quote refers to experience. Some people can develop skills further in a closed-box practice type environment. Other people can't, but they still need 10000 hours. It just has to come from actual experience, using the skill in practical situations.

It is impossible to "practice" some skills, such as cooking; it's also difficult to develop skills in construction or engineering without doing actual work. As far as Gladwell is concerned, that's still practice if it progresses towards developing mastery.

Read the book, kids.