Google, Entrepreneurs, and Living 500 Years

Ed Hudgins's picture
Submitted by Ed Hudgins on Thu, 2015-03-12 19:50

Google, Entrepreneurs, and Living 500 Years
By Edward Hudgins

“Is it possible to live to be 500?”

“Yes,” answers Bill Maris of Google, without qualifications.

A Bloomberg Markets piece on “Google Ventures and the Search for Immortality” documents how the billions of dollars Maris invests each year is transforming life itself. But the piece also makes clear that the most valuable asset he possesses —and that, in others, makes those billions work—is entrepreneurship.

Google's Bio-Frontiers

Maris, who heads a venture capital fund set up by Google, studied neuroscience in college. So perhaps it is no surprise that he has invested over one-third of the fund's billions in health and life sciences. Maris has been influenced by futurist and serial inventor Ray Kurzweil who predicts that by 2045 humans and machines will merge, radically transforming and extending human life, perhaps indefinitely. Google has hired Kurzweil to carry on his work towards what he calls this “singularity.”

Maris was instrumental in creating Calico, a Google company that seeks nothing less than to cure aging, that is, to defeat death itself. This and other companies in which Maris directs funds have specific projects to bring about this goal, from genetic research to analyzing cancer data.

Maris observes that “There are a lot of billionaires in Silicon Valley, but in the end, we are all heading for the same place. If given the choice between making a lot of money or finding a way to live longer, what do you choose?”

Google Ventures does not restrict its investments to life sciences. For example, it helped with the Uber car service and has put money into data management and home automation tech companies.

“Entrepreneuring” tomorrow

Perhaps the most important take-away from the Bloomberg article is the “why” behind Maris’s efforts. The piece states that “A company with $66 billion in annual revenue isn’t doing this for the money. What Google needs is entrepreneurs.” And that is what Maris and Google Ventures are looking for.

They seek innovators with new, transformative and, ultimately, profitable ideas and visions. Most important, they seek those who have the strategies and the individual qualities that will allow them to build their companies and make real their visions.

Entrepreneurial life

But entrepreneurship is not just a formula for successful start-ups. It is a concept that is crucial for the kind of future that Google and Maris want to bring about, beyond the crucial projects of any given entrepreneur.

Entrepreneurs love their work. They aim at productive achievement. They are individualists who act on the judgments of their own minds. And they take full responsibility for all aspects of their enterprises.

On this model, all individuals should treat their own lives as their own entrepreneurial opportunities. They should love their lives. They should aim at happiness and flourishing—their big profit!—through productive achievement. They should act on the judgments of their own minds. And they should take full responsibility for every aspect of their lives.

And this entrepreneurial morality must define the culture of America and the world if the future is to be the bright one at which Google and Maris aim. An enterprise worthy of a Google investment would seek to promote this morality throughout the culture. It would seek strategies to replace cynicism and a sense of personal impotence and social decline with optimism and a recognition of personal efficacy and the possibility of social progress.

So let’s be inspired by Google’s efforts to change the world, and let's help promote the entrepreneurial morality that is necessary for bringing it about.
----
Hudgins is a senior scholar and the director of advocacy at The Atlas Society.

For further information:

*David Kelley, “Life: Your Adventure In Entrepreneurship.” Summer 2008.

*Edward Hudgins, “Transhumanism vs. a Conservative Death Ethos.” August 20, 2014.


Tech titans’ latest project: Defy death

Ed Hudgins's picture

Back to the topic of the thread, from today's Washington Post:

Tech titans’ latest project: Defy death

Picture Perfect

Ed Hudgins's picture

From the time I was a teen I liked to take photos of natural beauty. I’m slightly color blind so if I saw, for example, in the woods a particularly colorful view looking up through leaves against the blue sky, I wanted to capture the image.

I had my own darkroom, though mainly for processing astrophotos I took through my telescopes.

I’ve always taken photos of family and friends as mementos of people and occasions that I love. Today, I have two beautiful subjects whose beauty I never cease to want to preserve.

By the way, Rand asked “Is photography an art?” and answered “No, it is a technique, not a creative skill. Art requires a selective re-creation. A camera cannot perform the basic task of painting: a visual conceptualization.”

I don’t agree. But more important, I don’t care. If a camera captures beauty that I wish to preserve, that is what is important.

I judge that with a digital camera in every hand, most photos are uninteresting if not insipid. But if the possibility of preserving beauty actually raises one’s consciousness of the beauty that surrounds us, that’s a good thing.

P.S. Linz – I’ll pass along your message to Will. He is a good. Solid thinker and writer and a true asset to TAS.
Allegra caterpiller photo Allegra caterpillar_zpsiotjvevb.jpg

I'm convinced that

Jules Troy's picture

More people in order to begin to understand and appreciate beauty and the arts in general should take up photography.  I have witnessed in the photography world that there is a common appreciation of people taking the simplest of things, and with the proper light and understanding making masterful creations.  Yes, there are all kinds of different interests.  Some practice landscape, others wildlife, others concentrate on portrait etc etc etc. However ALL have a deep appreciation of a capture well taken and good post production.  Photography in many ways follows objectivist principles in practice.  And more...It can expose the ugliness of war, the beauty of the human form or highlight the architectural marvels of man.

Often some of my photographer friends also post threads to favorite classical music too!

PS: I enjoy Tore, he has a fire under his ass.

PPS:I also enjoy Ed

Ed

Lindsay Perigo's picture

I enjoyed your riposte. But why bother "bashing" Obama? Aren't we going to run him down with the Tchaik-Truck? I think we should—he's a rap-crap fan!

Please pass on to Will I think his article on the Indiana thing is brilliant—and KASS! I retract that there'd be nothing forthcoming from ARI or TAS about this. Thanks for linking. He should put his stuff up here as you do.

Seriously suggesting something simply

Ed Hudgins's picture

Maybe I’ll start using “Rage, rage against the dying of the Enlightenment.” That better expresses what we’re up against.

But my points are seriously simple:
1) To change the culture and politics involved addressing various audiences. Not “the world wide web.” Not some disembodied Platonic uber-entity. Real people.

2) Audiences come from different intellectual, emotional, and moral perspectives. They are not computers. These perspectives will inform how they process what they hear, read, and see.

3) Depending on what audience you are addressing and what your goal is with respect to that audience—rouse its members to storm the barricades, get them to think seriously in different ways about some issue; change their minds on some point—some approaches will work better and be more effective while others will fail miserably. Sometimes KASS does not work.

4) With the audience that is the subject of my pieces—entrepreneurial achievers who share the values of a Roark but not the politics of a Galt—simply offering the same arguments I’d offer to Objectivists or libertarians will not be effective in getting a good many of them to think seriously in different ways about some issue or change their minds on some point. I repeat, they will not be effective. If you have evidence to the contrary, if you have successes to share with me, please do.

5) I do not compromise my principles but I do start from points of agreement with my audience—in this case many of their values—or offer something that will get them to think differently. That’s the art of rhetoric.

I’m a big fan of Pat Condell. I love his stuff. He’s KASS at its best. But for some audiences he is wasted not because he’s wrong but because those audiences have a way to do before they’ll appreciate what he’s saying.

You even more than me argue that society consists more and more of Airheads, headbangers, and others who couldn’t think their way through first grade arithmetic. So do you really think that KASS alone will change their mind or, or accurately, cause them to start using them? (I don’t see this as a particularly promising audience.) Or that KASS alone will be enough to cause those who still use their minds to some degree to use them fully and consistently? (You might start with Tore on this very thread.)

This is where we disagree. I’m not as pessimistic as you but I believe a mix of approaches is necessary to change the culture and the world. Do your best with your approach. I truly wish you the best. But I use my own judgment concerning which approaches work better when. Keep us posed on your successes.

By the way, here’s Will Thomas’s piece on Secular Sharia Law in Indiana.

I do look forward to our Tchaik-Truck enterprise! I’m now off to bash Obama.

More straw men

Lindsay Perigo's picture

Ed

You can't seriously be suggesting that I advocate "rage, rage against the dying of the light" only?! Or that all I've ever offered is a "string of adjectives"?! If that's what you think, I'd urge you to purchase my book, Total Passion for the Total Height—and have TAS promote it! That would be an advance over acquiescing to Babs Branden's smears of me.

But it remains true that naming evils is an indispensable part of our battle, the part from which OrgOism shrinks. Just take one very current case in point: the brouhaha over the new "religious freedom" law in Indiana. The Governor there has apparently capitulated to the Pink Swastika and is going to "clarify" the law (which reportedly is no different from one Clinton passed as President for all America) so that it will still be illegal for a Christian baker to refuse to bake a cake for a gay wedding (or would be if Indiana had such a prohibition, which, in a delicious twist, it evidently does not!). Marco Rubio and other conservative pin-ups are saying a Christian baker shouldn't have to bake a cake, but a Christian cafe owner should not be allowed to refuse cake to the newly-weds! Now, I am gay. No one despises anti-gay bigotry more than I. But I recognise the bigot's right to be a bigot on his own turf (and the right of gays to shame him as such). More than I despise homophobes, though, do I despise professional gay fascists who, along with feminazis, communists, pomowankers and Muslims, are succeeding in turning America into one vast Politically Correct concentration camp.

Now, where is OrgOism on this?! Nowhere to be seen. From whom are we seeing a stalwart defence of the right to discriminate no matter how abhorrent that discrimination may be?! Who is pointing out that discrimination is not force, that refusing service to someone is the prerogative of the service-provider and does not constitute coercion? No one!! ARI?! TAS?! Don't make me laugh! You're all too bloody scared to buck the PC trend, just as you're too scared to acknowledge that "Islamism" = Islam and Romantic music is objectively superior to rap-filth (a version of cultural terrorism). You're all scared of opinion polls. Instead of resolving to smite the airheadery they reveal, you buckle to it. So what if 49% of respondents cum in their drawers when the word "socialism" is uttered?! Obamarx is a socialist. Call him one!! You want "effective"? I ask myself why I'm not seeing OrgOism on O'Lielly or Megyn or Hannity or even Stossel, and my answer is: OrgOism is just too frigid to be sexy.

So what must be done? Abandon KASSlessness for starters. Grow a pair!! At dawn, shoot all the MBA weasel-worders in your ranks. Then start something that measures up to this:

Let us have an organization as strong, as sure, as enthusiastic as any the Totalitarians could hope to achieve. Let us follow our faith as consistently as they follow theirs. Let us offer the world our philosophy of life. Let us expose all Totalitarian propaganda in any medium and in any form. Let us answer any argument, every promise, every "Party Line" of the Totalitarians. Let us drop all compromise, all cooperation or collaboration with those preaching any brand of Totalitarianism in letter or in spirit, in name or in fact. Let us have nothing to do with "Front" organizations, "Front" agents or "Front" ideas. We do not have to proscribe them by law. We can put them out of existence by social boycott. But this means — no compromise. There is no compromise between life and death. You do not make deals with the black plague. Let us touch nothing tainted with Totalitarianism. Let us tear down the masks, bring them out into the open and — leave them alone. Very strictly alone. No "pro-Soviet" or "pro-Nazi" members of the board in our organization. No "benevolent" Trojan horses. Let us stick together as they do. They silence us, they force us out of public life, they fill key positions with their own men. Let us stick together — and they will be helpless to continue. They have millions of foreign money on their side. We have the truth.

That's from Ayn Rand's Open Letter to Innocent Fifth Columnists from seven decades ago, even more urgently relevant now ("millions of foreign money" = George Soros!), which I've obligingly re-stickied at the top of this page.

And I'll join you in the Tchaik-Truck. Tell me where and when!

What else is to be done?

Ed Hudgins's picture

By all means rage, rage against the dying of the light. Call filth, filth. Call evil, evil. But that alone will not change the culture and, thus, the politics. What else is to be done?

It is important to rouse the still sound-spirited Americans to anger over the sad state of the country and culture in hopes of moving them to action. (Anger, of course, must be accompanied by understanding. We don’t think with our adrenal glands.) But many others will not be angered and, thus, not be moved.

You know quite well the implications of the fact that Americans elected Obama twice. I am particularly angry at Obama assuming imperial powers: declaring he simply won't enforce immigration laws (and I'm generally pro-immigration); strong-arming the FCC into seizing control of the internet; negotiating a treaty favorable to America's enemy Iran and refusing to let the Senate vote on it; acting unilaterally to cripple industry with environmental regulations, etc.

But many Americans are unconcerned. Call them airheads, stupid, and servile if you will. But that will not change them. Call Obama the socialist that he is. But 49% of young people have a favorable response to the word "socialism" compared to 46% favorable for the word "capitalism." (Fortunately, most still want to make money.) Naming evils is not enough. So what else is to be done?

Show me, give me some clue, some evidence for how a string of adjectives alone or primarily will be an effective way to change the world?

The title of my latest book includes the term "civil war" and I've been writing for some years that the U.S. is in such a war, though fortunately not the bloody kind of the 1860s--yet. And I keep coming back to the question, what else can be done?

TAS runs courses targeted at teaching Objectivism especially to young people, and we have very good online courses and materials through our Atlas University. But we also are involved in cultural and political advocacy. So I am always asking, what else can be done?

One cannot be blamed for being frustrated with the state of the world today. One cannot be blamed for giving less attention to advocacy and more to tending one's own garden, as did Candide, of taking joy in life rather than frustration in a seemingly hopeless battle.

But since I'm still involved heavily in that battle, and since I do not concede it to be hopeless, I must look for strategies that, in the long term, could be effective, I repeat, effective. Raging against the dying of the light might be a part of a strategy. (And I would gladly drive a Tchaik-trucks!) But this is not enough. Much more must be done.

Straw man

Lindsay Perigo's picture

Ed, who among us is advocating—or practising—doing nothing other than "simply seething with anger"? The alternative to always being angry about everything, however, is not never getting angry about anything. Filth ought to be called filth, and evil ought not to be excused or trivialised as random, occasional lapses from rationality. OrgOism, both ARI and TAS, has lost its moral compass, and is ineffective to the point of being inaudible and invisible as a result. Imagine if Ayn Rand were still here and publishing her Ayn Rand Letter! "Bankrupt" doesn't begin to describe the current culture and the infestation of Comprachico-ed "millennials" (ugh!!).

There's a war on. I think this is where you and I radically differ, Ed. I believe we ought to be ferocious warriors; you want us all to be timorous vicars! I want tiger, you want pussy-cat! (I'm puzzled by this, since for a while there you were pumping out KASS op-eds at a rate of knots.)

I'll revise that opinion if I see you driving one of those Tchaik-trucks!

Sharing and advocating

Ed Hudgins's picture

Imagine trucks with loud speakers rolling through the city. Tchaikovsky’s music echoes through the streets—the celebratory theme from the Violin Concerto, the uplifting finale of the 5th Symphony. Crowds of young ne’er-do-weller run ahead of the sounds, screaming, holding their ears, their normally dull, lethargic faces contorted in agony. An occasional teen stands still listening, surprised, astonished, thinking “My God, I’ve never heard such glorious sounds! What am I feeling? What is this beauty doing to me? Why, until now, has it never taken seed and flowered in my culture, in my world?” Others, mainly older folks, are hearing their old familiar friends who give them beauty and spiritual fuel, who inspire the best within them. They smile!

I hope this scenario puts a smile on your face.

Life is not mainly about advocating ideas. It is about flourishing in our own life. On Solopassion you share beauty with your community, a wonderful thing, an important aspect of life.

But to the extent that I advocate ideas, I always come back to “What can I do to be effective?” Yes, we must not delude ourselves about the ugly and the bad in the culture, and both of us have pointed these things out. But who is our audience? To whom are we saying “Damn this!” and “Damn that!” And what do we expect the audience to do? It certainly doesn’t help us or others change the world if we simply seethe in anger.

I cannot let pessimism paralyze me. Just as you look for beauty in a world that contains much ugliness, I look for the values and virtues in individuals and groups that often contain irrationalities. What is the alternative if being effective in changing the world for the better is your goal?

Ed

Lindsay Perigo's picture

I can top your Beethoven story with a current one:

http://www.stuff.co.nz/taranak...


Classical music has blown some riff raff from the front steps of New Plymouth's library.

For years problems have plagued the area outside of Puke Ariki, and police have often had to intervene.

In the past concerns over the anti-social behaviour have been raised by both library staff and users, and the problems even sparked a permanent 24-hour liquor ban in the CBD.

But it appears library staff have finally found a harmonious solution for the area once dominated by the smell of synthetic cannabis and alcohol.

This month the sounds of Beethoven, Bach and Chopin have been blasting out over specially installed speakers.

The serene sounds of classical music seemed to have scared the undesirables away and on Thursday afternoon there was no riff raff in sight, and just three people sitting in the shared space.

The classical music did not strike a chord with plaza user 16-year-old Sjaan Stevenson though.

"It's kind of annoying," she said.

"It's weird music. Why are they even playing this?"

Stevenson said she would prefer it if the library played music that was more upbeat, or had been on the radio recently.

So there you have it. An unimpeachable snapshot of the way the world is, and the solution: drive out filth, trash, flotsam and jetsam, dross and dregs, and airheads, with real music of the kind they're not only congenitally incapable of appreciating but spiritually allergic to. It is like a stake through the place their hearts would be if they had them. Make Beethoven as ubiquitous as headbanging filth is now. If all the scatter-brained aliens like the 16-year-old quoted above were to run into the sea in panic at the sound of Music of the Gods, all our problems would be solved. Failing that we might have to set up some kind of reserve for them. Escape-proof. They shouldn't be being allowed out as it is.

In all seriousness, I don't think anything is achieved by a policy of pretending filth doesn't rule at the moment. That's not to say one shouldn't celebrate the exceptions, as you do and as I do constantly: see my current threads re Janine Jansen and Freddy Kempf, for example. One can only do one's best, and then be resigned, as Ingersoll would say. If there are enough of us, our collective best might be enough—but at the moment it's not looking that way. We need a realistic assessment of where we are, not pollyannistic wishful thinking and MBA-speak.

And let me add

Tore's picture

And let me add that I am baffled by this reaction towards me. Or maybe I'm not. After all, americans are known to be hypersensitive sissies, which explains why they usually just "debate" in their comfort zones, with people who mostly agree with them on everything. What i do not get is the need of a "civilized" tone to be able to function. And as for me being supposedly unable to fit in the Objectivist Utopian Universe - very, very disturbing. Brave New World, The Prisoner (the best TV show of all time, watch it!), Orwell and everything similar comes to mind. This was unsettling to read.

Hudgins

Tore's picture

I am not a troll, nor am I an Objectivist. And I mean what I say.

Like I said - "I don't come to any conclusions that I hold easily, and I think god-damn long and hard about them. So I believe what I say, and I believe everyone disagreeing with me are wrong, 'til proven otherwise."

I also said that I wish I was wrong, regarding my views of the culture. But, alas. Your Beethoven story is spot on, and I witness this kind of world every time I walk out of the house. It's not the exception, it's the rule.

As for "just someone who gets a kick out of being outrageously in order to jerk people around." Nay, brother. I am just stating opinions. Different and differently from civilized libertarians, yes. I do not see that as a bad thing.

"An Objectivist society would be impossible if it were populated by the likes of Tore." - Why? I am insignificant. I have no influence over anybody. I would do my every day of honest work, like everyone else.

As for "the likes of me" - everybody should try to be their own individual, and think for themselves. I am not a Kantian who says "I am going to live by example for how every human ought to live".

Trolls and Airheads

Ed Hudgins's picture

Linz – I must assume at this point that Tore is either a foulmouthed troll or just someone who gets a kick out of being outrageously in order to jerk people around. You know the folks on your site better than I do so you can let me know. An Objectivist society would be impossible if it were populated by the likes of Tore.

Speaking of questionable populations, of late I’ve highlighted in my standard talks the dichotomy between two groups: 1) the creators who possess rational virtues, which allow them to create the great technologies of the modern world which they value; and 2) what you call the Airheads, who are fuzzy-headed, unfocused, attention-deficit-disorder narcissists. The latter, as you and Lewis C.K. observe, use technology not to empower themselves but to anesthetize themselves. We both agree that a society dominated by the latter is doomed.

At the risk of feeding your pessimism about the future even more, let me relate the story of my visit to a convenience store in California about a dozen years ago. I pulled into the parking lot and Beethoven was playing over the parking lot load speaker. Beautiful! And asked the clerk inside about it. He said playing that music keeps young people from hanging around the parking lot and potentially causing trouble.

And, as our discussions always end up, I ask “What can be done? On what fronts—many, I argue—can we most effectively fight the battle to create a future in which it is worth living?”

I conclude that we need to show the achievers that it is in their self-interest and in the service of the things and the world they value to promote both a rational culture and individual liberty. I also conclude that there are a lot of mainly young people in the middle, who share attributes of both groups, and that these folks, especially as they graduate college, get into the work force, and have families can be more open to our appeals.

I am always interesting in how we might actually bring about change in the world. I always welcome ideas on how to be effective, here in this real world.

Perigo

Tore's picture

Oh no, I blame both, buddy!

But most of all, of course, the horribly wrong philosophical IDEAS, destroying the west from within. Ideas rule the world.

Linked to this before - http://www.conservativedailyne...

I would have put Heraclitus on this list as well.

Hudgins

Tore's picture

"Subjective opinion"? Buttons are objectively better than touchscreens, and anybody that disagrees is objectively wrong. Just because you can either love or hate touchscreens, doesn't make loving them right or ok. It is wrong. And everyone who prefers them over keyboards is a moron, in that regard, at least. It may sound completely nuts for someone in the libertarian world, but keyboards were "good enough", and should not have been "surpassed" by touchscreens. Just like Rand rightfully stopped writing fiction after Atlas.

I don't come to any conclusions that I hold easily, and I think god-damn long and hard about them. So I beleive what I say, and I believe everyone disagreeing with me are wrong, 'til proven otherwise. If this makes me pretentious, je suis pretentious, mon ami.

And the last part of your post is the same argument by authority as before. I know that I am pissing against a tsunami, though. And I should spend my time a little better than this.

Agreeing and disagreeing with both

Lindsay Perigo's picture

I agree with Ed that entrepreneurs are heroes who have wrought wonders (and ought not to be fettered as long as they don't employ force or fraud). I also think contemporary humanity doesn't deserve them—and that their astounding technologies as much as anything are what have made this dismal fact apparent. As comedian Louis C. K. has observed, "We live in an amazing, amazing world and it's wasted on the crappiest generation of just spoiled idiots that don't care." Tore is wrongly blaming the technology and its creators for the cretinism of most of those who are using it; Ed and TAS (and ARI) are burying their heads in the sand when it comes to said cretinism and the cultural catastrophe that is Airhead America. The wondrous smartphone or ipod has become something for the Comprachicoed to have their empty heads permanently buried in as they text nonsense endlessly and/or deafen themselves with filthy anti-music. Faecesbook is a babble of burbling banality. Twit-Witter is predominantly the domain of tawdry tabloiders. It is idle to fixate on what even more staggering technological wonders lie ahead when the pervasiveness of not just moronry but malevolent moronry all but guarantees that there is no "ahead" ahead!

Entrepreneurs don't ask. Change is exponential.

Ed Hudgins's picture

You say "No one asked for an iPad" and that entrepreneurs offer things no one thought they might need. Exactly! And I thank every entrepreneur who takes the risk of offering such goods and services, whether I in the end find them personally useful or not, because whether we "ask" for something or ever imagine we'll need it is irrelevant. If customers find some item of use to them, that's what counts.

When you suggest that your subjective preferences for buttons and bars on your devices--I generally prefer them too, which is why I have a Droid--or any other preference defines the only rational preferences and that the fact "that people consumed [iPads] speaks volumes of how irrational man is these days," you simply show that you to be pretentious beyond the hope of rational discussion on this matter. Fortunately, your preferences do not matter beyond your own choices about what works for you.

In addition, at any point in the development of technology you can ask "What's wrong with X [some current technology]?" and say "If it ain't broke, don't fix it." If entrepreneurs and inventors paid any attention to such sentiments, true progress would be stopped in its tracks. Fortunately, entrepreneurs and inventors don't pay attention and have moved ahead with innovations for centuries, creating the modern world.

One final point. Let me double down on "change is accelerating in more areas than information and communications, so you’d better recognize this important bit of objective reality." Moore's law about processor capacity doubling every two years has held for decades and the exponential growth we've seen in these areas are coming to robotics, medical devices, nanotech, biotech, genetics and a whole lot of other areas. Whether you like it or not is of no relevance. But if you or anyone else wants to be ready to deal with the world of tomorrow, it is necessary to understand the technological trends and forces at work. Ignore them if you wish, but they are coming.

Not convinced

Tore's picture

"I argue that the entrepreneurial achievers share fundamental values with a Roark—appreciation of reason’s power; pursuing their own vision; love of their work, etc. I am not concerned about whether they share every attribute of the fictional character Roark."

I am sure you can find any similarities "with a Roark" in anybody that way. I am concerned with what Roark is as an essential. This explains why so many from TAS an ARI doesn't reckognize Roark if it bites them in the ass, and are willing to hail any Keating as a Roark.

"I argue that they generally do not share the politics of a Galt, but that we can build on or leverage their values to move them in that direction."

Why on earth? And how on earth?

"But let me address two other points.
First, entrepreneurs attempt to determine what customers might purchase. Whatever the motive of the entrepreneur, the mix of how many people want iPads vs. desktops vs. laptops vs. smartphones is determined ultimately by customers."

No shit.

Look, no-one asked for an ipad before it came out. Apple pulled it out of its ass, and went on a war against buttons and keyboars. A war that was never needed. Keyboards and buttons were fine. Touchscreens are worse. Apple won. And the world sucks for it. That people consumed it speaks volumes of how irrational man is these days. Jobs and Apple knew how to convince people that this was as good as tits. They did it with ease. Proper advertising can brain-hack people. Changing something perfectly fine with something that sucks is change for changings sake. Always for the worse these days, it seems.

"If you like your desktop with keyboard, you can keep it. (I like a laptop.) Still running Windows 3.1 on an old machine with a 386 processor and virtually no other software? Your choice! You don’t like smartphones? Think they’re junk? Don’t buy one if it doesn’t serve your needs."

If only. Gadgets have short lifespans and die. And my point was - if it ain't broke, don't fix it. If you reached a peak, the only way is down. The PC reached a peak, and all this Apple BS is a step down. Rand never wrote fiction again after Atlas Shrugged. This is how everybody should roll.

"Millions of others, including me, like them and buy them. Will Google Glass or Microsoft Hololens catch on? I don’t know. It’s not a matter of change for the sake of change. It’s a matter of determining what customers want."

No. Not at all. Who asked for all this bullshit? Are modern entrepreneurs concerned with giving people what they want, or telling them what they should want?

"By the way, Steve Balmer at Microsoft decided not to jump into the mobile device trend, resting on Windows. No change for the sake of change for him! Windows ain’t broken. Microsoft had 90% of the PC OS market! But Microsoft lost. More and more people went mobile and Apple is the most valuable company in the world."

Did anyone need anything better than windows XP? Were the next OSystems better or worse? Did anyone ask for Vista?

"You personally don’t like the mix of product purchases in the market? Who cares? They're rich because customers buy their products.
By the way, change is accelerating in more areas than information and communications, so you’d better recognize this important bit of objective reality."

This is like some smug asshole telling me to "deal with it, this is the way we do it around here". Argument by authority, if I am not mistaken.

"Second, you mention group or collective decision making in enterprises. I myself write my materials by myself and have had to tell more than one editor or superior “My name is on it so this is how it gets published.” And I’ve been in more than my share of brainstorming sessions that were a total waste of time. But I’ve also been in sessions that were very useful. I find bouncing ideas off others or soliciting input often to be useful."

Good for you. I didn't mean that one shoudn't have a brainstorming session where it is needed. It very rarely is, however.

"To say "A man works and thinks alone" does not preclude collaboration."

Duh.

"What mix in an enterprise works best? That’s a matter of experimentation by managers and entrepreneurs as well. Sometimes it is too much of “Let’s let a committee design this” and you get a product that fails. With certain work arrangements, a true innovator does well to walk away and go somewhere else, join a different company, start a new company."

Yeah...

"But if you study the Manhattan Project and the development of the first atomic bomb, you find a lot of collaboration, discussions, brainstorming, bouncing ideas or colleagues, etc. That approach worked. They made atomic bombs.
Also I call your attention to Isaacson’s new book “The Innovators,” which traces the development of the information revolution going back to the late 1700s. You see a mix of collaboration and competition.
In all cases, innovators and entrepreneurs must ultimately must think for themselves and make independent judgments. But they also must judge when and to what extent collaboration with other serves their purpose."

These discussions were had by male nerds in another time. No wonder shit got done! I'm speaking of "humans" as they are in this day and age.

Read this link: http://www.techradar.com/news/...

Now, tell me, what in the name of ass was wrong with texts and e-mail. Is Messenger a "killer app" (god, the modern world is lame) or incredibly annoying? Is this a typical change in this day and age, or is it mostly changing for the better?

Change and collaboration

Ed Hudgins's picture

Perhaps we’re talking at cross purposes.

I argue that the entrepreneurial achievers share fundamental values with a Roark—appreciation of reason’s power; pursuing their own vision; love of their work, etc. I am not concerned about whether they share every attribute of the fictional character Roark.

I argue that they generally do not share the politics of a Galt, but that we can build on or leverage their values to move them in that direction.

But let me address two other points.

First, entrepreneurs attempt to determine what customers might purchase. Whatever the motive of the entrepreneur, the mix of how many people want iPads vs. desktops vs. laptops vs. smartphones is determined ultimately by customers. If you like your desktop with keyboard, you can keep it. (I like a laptop.) Still running Windows 3.1 on an old machine with a 386 processor and virtually no other software? Your choice! You don’t like smartphones? Think they’re junk? Don’t buy one if it doesn’t serve your needs. Millions of others, including me, like them and buy them. Will Google Glass or Microsoft Hololens catch on? I don’t know. It’s not a matter of change for the sake of change. It’s a matter of determining what customers want.

By the way, Steve Balmer at Microsoft decided not to jump into the mobile device trend, resting on Windows. No change for the sake of change for him! Windows ain’t broken. Microsoft had 90% of the PC OS market! But Microsoft lost. More and more people went mobile and Apple is the most valuable company in the world. You personally don’t like the mix of product purchases in the market? Who cares? They're rich because customers buy their products.

By the way, change is accelerating in more areas than information and communications, so you’d better recognize this important bit of objective reality.

Second, you mention group or collective decision making in enterprises. I myself write my materials by myself and have had to tell more than one editor or superior “My name is on it so this is how it gets published.” And I’ve been in more than my share of brainstorming sessions that were a total waste of time. But I’ve also been in sessions that were very useful. I find bouncing ideas off others or soliciting input often to be useful.

To say "A man works and thinks alone" does not preclude collaboration. What mix in an enterprise works best? That’s a matter of experimentation by managers and entrepreneurs as well. Sometimes it is too much of “Let’s let a committee design this” and you get a product that fails. With certain work arrangements, a true innovator does well to walk away and go somewhere else, join a different company, start a new company.

But if you study the Manhattan Project and the development of the first atomic bomb, you find a lot of collaboration, discussions, brainstorming, bouncing ideas or colleagues, etc. That approach worked. They made atomic bombs.

Also I call your attention to Isaacson’s new book “The Innovators,” which traces the development of the information revolution going back to the late 1700s. You see a mix of collaboration and competition.

In all cases, innovators and entrepreneurs must ultimately must think for themselves and make independent judgments. But they also must judge when and to what extent collaboration with other serves their purpose.

Sigh

Tore's picture

“Your time is limited, so don't waste it living someone else's life. Don't be trapped by dogma—which is living with the results of other people's thinking. Don't let the noise of others' opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition.” --Steve Jobs

Empty, nice words without any meaning. Very cheesy, very corporate, which is a bad word these days.

"Here's a man who helped transform our world. His values, expressed here, were those of a Roark."

WHAT? Roark would have balked at this and dismissed it like I did, while doing ACTUAL GOOD WORK! Probably while starving to death in this world, I might add.

"His politics were not, though at the end he was getting frustrated with Obama. (So was everyone.)"

Who ever said anything of his political views? What has this to do with anything? Huh?

"And why should he and achievers like him pay any attention to those who simply sit on the sidelines and bitch like carping little ne'er do wellers?"

No, they are laughing all the way to the bank. More power to them. Changing stuff that did not need changing, and even changing things for the worse, like removing buttons and keyboards from our lives (who asked for this? who applauded this?) and figuring out humans can be emotionally hacked to buy shit at a higher price if the design is "better" (ie more boring), I mean, Jobs was a genius. But he made the world suck a little harder. A prophet of Heraclitus.

"No, we need to look for the sparks and the flames of those with these sentiments, engage with them, and make the case for the politics of a world that will allow them and all of us to flourish!"

You know, you DO remind me of someone from The Fountainhead, but it's not Roark.

Roark, my ass.

Tore's picture

Hudgins wrote: "A quick follow-up. I point to the achievements of these entrepreneurs including all the technology that allows us to have this exchange over thousands of miles and say yes, in this way, so many of them are Roarks! If, at any given time, you look at the snapshot of the imperfect individuals, culture, and world around us and simply complain, you will get nowhere. We must reach out. We must make our case. We must leverage, yes, leverage the sound values within them in order to bring them and, especially, young people around to a more consistent ethos of reason and liberty."

Did you even read my post? You may have skimmed my post, but you understood nothing of it. Either that, or you pretend I never wrote what I wrote. I must point out that this is very rude.

I am not the one who clings to empirical evidence just because I want what i write to be true. If anything, I wish that I was wrong. Alas, I am not.

The ones who cling to empirical evidence in this case, are the ones who have a positive outlook. THEY are the ones who find something in the news, shut everything else out, and say "this right here says what I want to hear, that's the ticket!" You do not look for the truth. You look for confirmation of your very wrong view of reality, and construct a world that is very unreal. Borderline hallucinations.

And as for this technology we use for this "exchange" (it would be an exchange if you talked to me, not at me) - how long do you honestly think it will last? I type this on a PC, already an obsolete tool in this lame world where Heraclitus philosophy must never be questioned. We're supposed to be using a "smart"phone, and type on a useless touchscreen, which is our only option very, very soon. No more kickass keyboards. Inconvenient screens that break easily, on the other hand... hooray for "progress". Now, what the hell was wrong with keyboards in the first place? PROGRESS FOR PROGRESS SAKE! THE ONLY THING REAL IS CHANGE!

Roark, my ass.

Don't live "someone else's life."

Ed Hudgins's picture

“Your time is limited, so don't waste it living someone else's life. Don't be trapped by dogma—which is living with the results of other people's thinking. Don't let the noise of others' opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition.” --Steve Jobs

Here's a man who helped transform our world. His values, expressed here, were those of a Roark. His politics were not, though at the end he was getting frustrated with Obama. (So was everyone.)

And why should he and achievers like him pay any attention to those who simply sit on the sidelines and bitch like carping little ne'er do wellers? No, we need to look for the sparks and the flames of those with these sentiments, engage with them, and make the case for the politics of a world that will allow them and all of us to flourish!

Roark, yes. Leverage, yes.

Ed Hudgins's picture

A quick follow-up. I point to the achievements of these entrepreneurs including all the technology that allows us to have this exchange over thousands of miles and say yes, in this way, so many of them are Roarks! If, at any given time, you look at the snapshot of the imperfect individuals, culture, and world around us and simply complain, you will get nowhere. We must reach out. We must make our case. We must leverage, yes, leverage the sound values within them in order to bring them and, especially, young people around to a more consistent ethos of reason and liberty.

Heraclitus, yes

Tore's picture

Thank you!

Tore

Lindsay Perigo's picture

I think you mean Heraclitus. But yes, you are so right. Both ARI and TAS have signed up to bullshit marketing bromide travesties of Objectivism. And they will not defend their trivialism. This goes to show, to me, an imperative for my upcoming Authenticism: short-term financial expediency does not equal the true free market; ARI and TAS would rather shut down the true free market, since it would ridicule them as they deserve.

Modern entrepreneurs = Roark?

Tore's picture

I don't know how anyone sane can arrive at the conclusion that modern entrepreneurs are Howark Roark. Roark would find the modern world, and modern entrepreneurs, lame.

Now, if one character would think "if it ain't broke, don't fix it!", it's Howard Roark.

Modern entrepreneurs think "if it ain't broke, fix it anyway!"

And they do not even reach that conclusion alone - every single decision is made in a comitee-meeting.

"A man works and thinks alone", Roark said. He was right.

Modern entrepreneurs enforce the policy of open offices, where everyone sits togheter, constantly conversing together, and ruin everything so that it is lame and cheesy. So everything takes a hell of a lot more time, and everything is discussed to death, with every cook fisting the pie like a german gang-bang. And every one of these fuckers has a dull education, making them so lame in the end that it is undiscribeable.

Roark? More like Heraklit - everything floats, change shit for changing's sake, this is where we "evolve", in this streaming process. It is a very big part of why today's world suck so much balls and is so mind-numbingly cheesy.

And of course, every time somebody makes something actually good, they have to upgrade and update, because only change is constant, folks. We learned it in some lame college class. Upgrades and uptades are other words for copletely ruining something that did not need any upgrade. FUUUUCK!

Ed

Lindsay Perigo's picture

True lovers of the Enlightenment know what a comma is for, and when to use it as opposed to a colon or semi-colon. They also don't use such ghastly ad-wanker bromides as "leverage." Immersing "millennials" in Enlightenment ideas is a contradiction in terms.

I know we need to think of our project as a "long march"; I believe it was I who first pointed this out, invoking Gramsci, long before any Objectivist had ever heard of him. But the long march in this case has to be short-circuited by the refreshing of the tree of liberty to which Jefferson referred. None of you American "Objectivists" is close to being a practical patriot, much less a Jefferson. Alas. Please see my revised American National Anthem.

Two value cultures

Ed Hudgins's picture

Linz – I see two cultures dominated by two opposed sets of values.

First, there are the achievers I highlight. They are extremely intelligent, understanding technical issues about everything from nano-tech to biological processes that most of us find far to grasp. They are individualists, following their own visions. They love their work. They have the values of a Roark, though not yet the politics of a Galt.

Second, there is what you call Airhead America, actually you can extend it to Airhead world. These are the unfocused, range-of-the-moment masses that survive only because of the achievers. (Sounds like Atlas Shrugged!)

I argue that the former group must not only appreciate the need for free markets in which they, as entrepreneurs, can pursue their projects and profits. They also must appreciate that their values will not spread throughout society on their own just because these achiever have been so undeniably successful. Those values must be actively promoted by them as well as by others—like us. It is necessary to raise consciousness about the nature of the values struggle in our world, a struggle that is at the basis of political battles.

I also understand that social change, for better or worse, is a process that takes place over time—see the spread of Enlightenment ideas. So I look for areas of leverage. I look for groups, especially young people, who can be immersed in Enlightenment values. I look for ways to make those values a growing part of our culture.

We need to think of our project as a long march through the institutions. Let’s take a note from our would-be destroyers and turn the process on them!

As I've said before ...

Lindsay Perigo's picture

... I find this topic a deflection from real problems that ought to be solved. World is full of trash in human guise? Don't worry, just wait till humans and machines have merged. Mind you, there are those who think "singularities" will be hostile to humans. Hahahaha.

The term "Law of Identity" comes to mind, for some reason ... but if someone can explain how the non-volitional, non-self-aware, non-conceptual, mechanical and inanimate can morph into/merge with the volitional, self-aware, conceptual, organic and living thing that is human consciousness I'm all ears.

I could achieve incredible things in 500 years.

Shane Pleasance's picture

In a world that becomes exponentially smarter, that timeframe would surely extend also.

Quality as well as quantity of life

Ed Hudgins's picture

Many folks among these entrepreneurial achievers work on life enhancement as well as on longevity. Thus, eliminating obvious diseases like Alzheimer's and Parkinson's are priorities. Kurzweil's Singularity idea sees humans and machines merging. So you would not be a head in a jar but a brain with a partial--or even full--artificial body. There are already artificial limbs that are approaching the capacities depicted until now only in science fiction.

I am skeptical about Kurzweil's timetable as well as about the extent to which human mind and machine can merge. But I'll be writing more about that in months to come.

Live long and prosper!

Well

Jules Troy's picture

That's pretty interesting, I would happily live for 500 years (as long as i wasn't some disembodied head in a jar)

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