On Bias, Mirrortocracies and the Silicon Valley

1 minute read

“The problem is that Silicon Valley has gone completely to the other extreme. We’ve created a make-believe cult of objective meritocracy, a pseudo-scientific mythos to obscure and reinforce the belief that only people who look and talk like us are worth noticing. After making such a show of burning down the bad old rules of business, the new ones we’ve created seem pretty similar.”
— Carlos Bueno (2014) Inside the Mirrortocracy

Ruthless, crisp and insightful view on Silicon Valley’s culture. It’s a form of success that self-confirms itself: we are so successful, clearly we are doing it right. Right?

“Subtlety and introspection are not common traits among young people out to make a lot of money in a short period of time”

That’s nothing more than an additional point on the topic of Don’t Listen to Successful People. To be clear, it’s not a problem of the Silicon Valley alone. It’s a human trait. We select. We look for comfort. We seek confirmation. We want safety. In short:

“You can protest your logic and imparitiality all day long, but the only honest statement is that we’re all biased

And it’s surprising to me how the people that in my experience – bias warning – aren’t able to get this fundamental bias issue are exactly the same people that herald “logic” and “scientific thinking”. They should probably read more Damasio.

He has a good advice, even if it’s a really hard advice to follow from the inside. You usually need someone from the outside, and even there, not anyone, someone with an entirely different worldview, from an entirely different field, but able to spot cultural idiosyncrasies:

“The first step toward dissolving these petty Cultures is writing down their unwritten rules for all to see”

What about an example?
Here’s my previous post reflecting on AirBnB culture post.

But really, you should read the full article.

Thanks to Naveed for the link.