How much is the ball or homo-not-very-sapiens

    So I decided to offer another post from my blog to the attention of Khabrovsk residents ...

    A ball with a bat costs $ 1.10. A bat costs $ 1 more than a ball. How much is the ball?

    While you are thinking about this problem, let me tell you why I brought it. Recently I saw the performance of Mark Bukanan - this is the one who discovered that any two people in the world are familiar with each other through a chain of no more than 6 people. He spoke about his new book, The Social Atom: Why the Rich Get Richer, Cheaters Get Caught, and Your Neighbor Usually Looks Like You by Mark Buchanan, ISBN 978-1596910133)

    The main idea of ​​the book is that many things in society do not happen because of conscious and rational actions of people, but because of completely unconscious and irrational small actions that creep out into noticeable phenomena due to the structure of society. For example, freezing water forms patterns on a window or snowflakes, or there the stones on Grumant (aka Svalbard) line up in neat rings on the ground, surrounding circles from the soil (also due to freezing water, which is larger in the soil and which expands when freezing).

    One of the illustrations of his point of view was that in classical economic theories everything is built on the rational behavior of people, but that is why they often do not work. For example, from a rational point of view, the securities market cannot fluctuate on such a scale that it really fluctuates. In one of the models, panic factors and several irrational beliefs of market participants were included and they received a much more consistent picture with reality. He has other examples. For example, a population of three different colors is modeled - orange, blue and green - which inhabits the city, and inhabits it quite evenly. Color doesn’t matter, but each person is just a little bit slack! - prefers not to be in an extreme minority, for example, one single representative of his own color, if all the others are already the same color. That is, orange, surrounded by green ones alone, is likely to move on occasion, or there, blue, surrounded by orange. It’s not that it will immediately break loose, but if it changes jobs, and it turns out to be further, it will seriously consider the question of moving closer to work. It would seem nothing at all, right? It turns out that this is enough so that after n years the town turns into spots of a population of the same color.

    So, what am I talking about? And the fact that such structural phenomena that do not depend on people, but on the structure of a society or a collective are manifested not only in macroeconomics, but also in microeconomics - within firms and individual teams.

    The most famous example is the product structure repeating the structure of the team that made it. Say, create the Infrastructure team and put an ambitious aggressive comrade in its head, and your product will be full of pipes, ducts, wires, taps ... Instead, create the UI Convenience team and put the same comrade at the head of it, and it will turn out to be that most of these pipes were not so necessary. By the way, Google solved this problem radically. They really have no bosses at all. That is, but each manages groups of 30 to 100 people, and each of the subordinates is an “army of one soldier” and he chooses which projects to join and what to work on. True, such a structure is also not without some problems.

    Another example. Take a normal product development team from PMs, virgins, testers, documentation writers, well, managers, of course, where to go without them ... Start evaluating the work of testers by the number of bugs they discovered. Have you already guessed that before the review the number of opened bugs will increase dramatically? So far I have not said anything structural, self-interest is a completely rational or at least understandable feeling within the framework of classical economic theories. However, it is clear that stating that you open bugs to increase your “counter” is a definite “no way!” Even suspecting another of such behavior is a terrible social sin, which they may recall. Therefore, people amicably waving the flag “Quality is our helmsman!”, And some even quite sincerely, especially since I really want to make a good product, not that. So, it’s absolutely astounding that even those testers who sincerely believe that the main thing for them is the quality of the product and not their review, they still increase the release of bugs “uphill” shortly before the review period. Moreover, nobody uses the mechanical number of bugs anymore, as a last resort, consider bugs that were recognized by the team and repaired, and not resolved as By Design or Not Repro. Is it logical, right? However, the number of these bad bugs is also increasing anyway. Moreover, the number of conflicts over bugs is also increasing, despite the fact that conflicts are almost always bad for a review, and an extra “fixed” bug shouldn’t hurt the developer either. Neither one nor the other can be explained in the model of rational behavior of people, but as a structural element and the result of unconscious reactions (instinct of the crowd,

    Yes, and the example at the beginning, Mark cited in his lecture to illustrate the power of unconscious behavior in man. Have you already calculated how much the ball cost? Of course, 5 cents. However, subconsciously I want to say 10 cents. So, this question was asked to students of the University of Michigan and (uzhos ...) Princeton (!!!). They gave them 15 minutes (!!!) Half - 50% - answered 10 cents! I think the students were with a humanitarian specialization, but still impressive.

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