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Mysteries of Geek Incentives
I’m driven by unsolved puzzles. I have 40-year-old problems rattling around the back of my brain. I know that this is odd behavior but I don’t really have a choice so ima go with it.
Geek Incentives offers a smörgåsbord of enigmas:
Why is hierarchy so prevalent? I’ve read the utopian “flat organizers” but remain unconvinced. When your theory says one thing but reality says another, consider replacing your theory. With what?
People who create incentives are often oblivious to creating incentives. How can they wake up?
Why do monetary incentives often go so wrong?
Incentives seem inherently misaligned. How do we make any progress together ever?
Incentive creators create the opposite outcomes from what they want so consistently that it seems like something must be up. What?
Reasonably-functioning incentive systems don’t seem to work for long. How can you get away from pride in a now-obsolete incentive system?
I keep saying “incentive system”. In what way is it a system?
You can teach someone Goodhart’s Law, they can totally get it, and the next minute they are turning measures into goals again. Why?
Managers have chosen a life of service. They can’t get the work done, they can only encourage others to get the work done. What incentives do managers experience that they come to believe that they themselves and their work is “the point”?
Not an exhaustive list, but a fun one. Fun and consequential. Please add your incentives-related mysteries in the comments.