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Christopher Marks

A thoughtful gift

1 min read

Got on a busy tube and accidentally stepped on a guy's duffel bag. Apologised immediately. He says "what?" I say, "Sorry for stepping on your bag." He goes "that's okay."

"There's a valentine's present for my girlfriend in there."
I start feeling really bad.
He then pulls out a pink dildo in its packaging.
"Do you think she'll like it?"
"It cost me £50"
I laugh. He then pulls out two cans of beer from his duffel bag, cracks them both open, and says "Come on, drink with me"

THIS
IS
REAL

Christopher Marks

"If we do that, we can add a kazillion dollars to the bottom line!"

1 min read

"Whoaaa, Jeff!" *high five* "Aaaalright, that sounds fantastic!"

Watching the Enron documentary called 'The Smartest Guys in The Room' and the above clip of Enron's own skit about 'hypothetical future value accounting' cracked me up so much.

edit: less funny realising PGE linemen put their entire 401Ks in Enron stock

Christopher Marks

Christopher Marks

Do you have any questions for us?

4 min read

Interviewer: Well, that concludes this part of the interview process. Before we proceed, do you have any questions for us?

Candidate: Sure do.

Here’s a question to help me understand the culture of the company. A manager walks over to her associate, who’s brewing a coffee at 6:45am. She forgot the VP arranged a meeting with a major client, so she needs a revised report on her desk by 10am. The report would just need the most up to date financial data, but she also stipulates that there has to be a page with 3 green triangles, 2 blue rectangles, and 1 red circle.

The associate understands the importance of the request, so he gets started right away. But he misremembers the details of the report, and convinces himself that his boss asked for 3 blue triangles, 2 green rectangles, and 1 red circle.

At 7:30am, the associate walks over to his analyst, who had been at the office until midnight the previous night, and tells her that the report is now her responsibility. He also says it has to be finished by no later than 9:30am. He makes sure to stress the importance of there being a page with 3 blue triangles, 2 green rectangles, and 1 red circle. The analyst gets started right away too, and without taking any breaks, manages to finish the report by 9:55am. The associate briefly scans the report, checks that the page meets the specification, and has 2 copies printed out for his manager’s meeting.

When the manager sits down, she takes a look at the report and doesn’t notice the mistake. But as they’re walking through the specifics of the deal, the client does, and is not impressed. They lose the sale, and their reputation is damaged.

Whose fault is it?

Interviewer: Well. It’s the fault of the manager for forgetting the meeting in the first place. It’s also the fault of the associate for misremembering the details. But the analyst is also to blame for not being able to get the report finished on time so that it could be proofread properly. The VP of Operations may also be to blame for the lack of organisation and structure that allowed for this problematic situation to arise, but that would depend on if this was something that happened regularly.

Candidate: Sure. Now assume that each person doesn’t have full information of the situation, and they are real people with real egos and reputations on the line. The last thing the manager remembers before seeing the final report is that she made it the responsibility of the associate at 6:45am. The last thing that the associate remembers before seeing the final report is giving the analyst instructions at 7:30am. The analyst knows she made the report to the exact specifications that the associate asked for.

Who does the manager blame? Who does the associate blame? Who does the analyst blame? Who does the VP blame?

Interviewer: The manager would mainly blame the associate for the error, though she would also put some of the blame on the analyst. The associate would blame the analyst, and would likely forget that they were the one who asked for the wrong colours in the first place. The analyst would blame the associate for messing up the instructions and for making it the analyst’s problem in the first place. The VP blames the manager.

Candidate: Where does the blame really lie?

Interviewer (bad answer): The associate should be blamed for misremembering the colours, and the analyst should be blamed for getting the report finished late.

Interviewer (good answer): The employees share the blame because they are a unit that works as a team. The important thing is that they identify the systemic problems that allowed for this mistake to occur, so that they can avoid it in the future. In this case, it may mean clearer communication and better organisation from the manager and VP.

Christopher Marks

The Curse of Credentialism

1 min read

"A world in which success means Rhodes/Teach for America/Goldman/McKinsey followed by Yale Law School/Harvard Business School followed by Blackstone/Bridgewater/Facebook is one in which too many talented, well-intentioned people follow the same path and end up doing the same few things. (Since I graduated from college a quarter-century ago, the only real additions to the hierarchy have been TFA and the technology behemoths.) In their famous paper, Kevin Murphy, Andrei Shleifer, and Robert Vishny found that countries with more engineering majors tend to grow faster and those with more law students tend to grow slower. A society in which smart, hard-working young people with generic ambitions tend to become hedge fund and private equity fund managers, management consultants, corporate lawyers, and strategists for technology monopolies is probably not one that is allocating talent effectively."

James Kwak, 'The Curse of Credentialism'

Christopher Marks

Contrails at sunset look like meteors

1 min read

I'd need a much better camera to capture how vivid and cool this looks:

 

Christopher Marks

4 Your Eyez Only

1 min read

Cannot wait for the new J. Cole album to be released.

Here's two tracks: False ProphetsEverybody Gotta Die

Christopher Marks

Christopher Marks

Solid quotation from Joseph Campbell

1 min read

“Eternity isn't some later time. Eternity isn't even a long time. Eternity has nothing to do with time. Eternity is that dimension of here and now that all thinking in temporal terms cuts off.... the experience of eternity right here and now, in all things, whether thought of as good or as evil, is the function of life.”

Christopher Marks

Memorable words are often two 'chunks' long

2 min read

The simplest way to illustrate this point is just to name successful companies, prestigious schools, famous cities, and other everyday words:

Companies

  • Goo-gle
  • Face-book
  • A-pple
  • Win-dows
  • Ya-hoo
  • e-Bay
  • Twi-tter
  • Snap-chat
  • In-sta(gram) - colloquially Insta
  • Tin-der
  • Ven-mo
  • U-ber
  • My-Space
  • Flick-r
  • You-Tube
  • Linked-In
  • Whats-App
  • Out-look
  • G-mail
  • Face-Time
  • Net-flix
  • Drop-box
  • Git-hub
  • We-chat
  • Click-hole
  • i-Tunes
  • Bai-du
  • Wealth-front
  • Word-press
  • Best-Buy
  • Wal-mart
  • Safe-way
  • Whole-foods
  • BA-ML (abbreviation for Bank of America Merill Lynch)
  • Gold-man (instead of Goldman Sachs)
  • Black-rock
  • Roths-child
  • E-Y
  • De-loitte
  • etc.
  • notable exceptions: Amazon (a place), Spotify (3 syllables but arguably said as two, 'Spot-Ify'), Airbnb (still sort of broken down into two chunks, 'Air-bnb'), Skype (one syllable), KPMG (abbreviation), PWC (abbreviation), a billion other companies I can't think of

Really prestigious schools (no order)

  • Cam-bridge
  • Ox-ford
  • Stan-ford
  • Har-vard
  • Prince-ton
  • notable exceptions: Yale (one syllable), MIT (abbreviation)

Famous cities

  • Lon-don
  • Pa-ris
  • Ma-drid
  • Ber-lin
  • Lis-bon
  • Pi-sa
  • Flor-ence
  • Du-bai
  • Hong-Kong
  • Pe-king
  • Mos-cow
  • Que-bec
  • New-York
  • S-F (San Francisco)
  • L-A (Los Angeles)
  • Bos-ton
  • D.C. (Washington D.C.)
  • Dall-as
  • De-troit
  • this is a stretch, because there are a ton of famous cities that aren't 2 syllables, but there are also quite a few that are

Everyday words

  • Drink-ing
  • Danc-ing
  • Runn-ing
  • Cook-ing
  • Talk-ing
  • Eat-ing
  • Cry-ing
  • Fuck-ing
  • Sleep-ing
  • Yell-ing
  • these are just verbs ending in -ing
  • massively grasping at straws
  • T-shirt
  • Sweat-shirt
  • Box-ers
  • im just naming clothes
  • Foot-ball
  • Ath-lete
  • Pop-star
  • Sing-er
  • Ac-tor
  • Writ-er
  • Hack-er
  • E-con
  • Eng-lish
  • but it's also weird how our description of actions people take are usually 2 syllables long
  • yeah that's enough of this list

The simple reason for this is that it's much easier for things to spread by word of mouth if it's easy for people to say the word being spread. It's especially easy if people are able to quickly visualise how the word should be spelt in their head, and even more so if there's a consonant dividing the first and second syllable.

On a personal note, I've found it's infinitely quicker to say I go to school at Hog-warts than Warw-ick (especially if I'm talking to an American). That weird English 'rw' sound is as baffling as wor-ces-ter-shire being pronounced wooster-shire.