The Smart Person Fallacy In Two Easy Steps
The Smart Person Fallacy in two easy steps. “I’m smart, I can learn about situation X and figure out the way it should work.”
First step: Situation X is likely far more complex with far more moving parts and confused causes and effects than you can imagine. Autodidacts and polymaths are highly prone to this. True experts in a field are often far more skeptical about their own ability to understand. Often suffered by professional writers, journalists, commentators, columnists, analysts, investors and venture capitalists.
Second step: In many complex situations, logic matters far less than other factors — with incentives at the top of the list. So thinking your way to the answer may well be counterproductive or worse. Often suffered by intellectuals, academics, theorists, paternalistic left-wingers and venture capitalists.
Bonus step: For any mandated change to situation X, unintended consequences are likely to dominate the long term effects.
@pmarca in project mgt, I call this the "gradient of terror" - at every stage unintended consequences become 10x more costly to find and fix—
Adam Russell (@madman_42) April 20, 2014
@pmarca And I agree with your sentiments in general, I just think there are very real exceptions to that line of reasoning.—
Chris J. Davis (@chrisjdavis) April 20, 2014
@pmarca another challenge here: as outsiders, we have limited and second-hand data, so our understanding of the challenges are likely off.—
David Aron Levine (@davealevine) April 20, 2014