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Spartans and Soviets

I have been working a lot lately, but also rapidly studying historical eras. It is refreshing to realize that I do not have to do any one thing myself; in fact, is is ineffective. On our staff, I'm the most knowledgeable and effective historian, strategist, recruiter, trainer, marketer, and project manager. I'm also adequate-to-good in dozens of other roles, but I'm dispatching with almost all of them - and now, I'm starting to dispatch with project management (my first professional love) and marketing (my most recent professional love).

We have better legal, financial, sales, administration, management, and creative people than me. That's nice.

My time will be largely spent doing grand strategy, recruiting, training, and studying. I will mix in a little statistics and analysis, but this will be the bulk of my role going forwards. I do not need to laundry, I simply need to find someone competent to do it, and pay them well. There is something like a 1000x gap between successfully defining strategy with all the relevant contingencies, constructing completely workable models in identified big opportunities, and staffing those and training/compensating the staff well - and washing socks. The socks? I will not be doing that, because it would mean less time studying history, identifying opportunities, and finding/training/compensating very good people.

Thought of the day: Sparta and the Soviet Union both excelled at military arts by concentrating immense amounts of their society's total creative, intellectual, and productive output into military. This led them to be fierce warrior societies immediately after their rise, but with a gradual decline as they were out-paced by societies with a smaller military concentration and faster growth.

"Flex" societies that can gear up and gear down on war production can maintain a larger credible military presence with less resource drain. "War concentrated" societies show stronger than flex at first, but must win quickly or be defeated. Time is their enemy. Of course, pacifist societies are quickly conquered if they do not have allies, and thus do not enter the discussion.

The Rise of the Attention Economy

On Isaac Lewis

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I've been thinking recently about how time is being replaced with attention as the scarcest, and most important, economic resource. This trend is manifested in a few ways. For example, while twentieth century consumers bought time-saving products, twenty-first century consumers will buy attention-saving products. I'll talk more about the implications of this below, but first, how did we get here?

(Note: this article by Venkatesh Rao provided a lot of inspiration for the following post. He's more than a few levels above me in writing/thinking skills, so if you enjoy this post, I'd suggest checking out his).

The attention economy is a product of the information revolution. In their time, the industrial and agricultural revolutions also created new economic orders. There have been many revolutions, but these were the only three that changed the fundamental nature of wealth, scarcity, and growth. Between them, these three revolutions split economic history into four distinct phases.

"I store meat in the belly of my brother."

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