rainier ababao reads and writes

September 07, 2018 RnL (contains substance)

Note/epistemic status: RnL’s (reading and listening) are my consumption logs with notes I’m OK making public. I spend little time polishing my thoughts and timebox it to no more than 30 min to an hour on days I choose to log.


  • The Gervais Principle, Or The Office According to “The Office” by Venkatesh Rao

    The Gervais Principle is this: Sociopaths, in their own best interests, knowingly promote over-performing losers into middle-management, groom under-performing losers into sociopaths, and leave the average bare-minimum-effort losers to fend for themselves.”

    I want to say that the theory may be incomplete for “lifestyle businesses” e.g. sustainable software businesses, situations where the members “at the top” are the only members, people own roughly equal amount (no VC/founder-employee equity disparity) and no one’s creating less value than they’re getting (Losers). In this situation (lifestyle business/sustainable software business) all members of the group might be considered Sociopaths. Rao separates “Loser” from the cultural context, but I’m curious if it’s apt to be consistent and do this for Sociopath category.


    Is it because “lifestyle businesses” do NOT abide by the MacLeod Life Cycle (as he dubbed), as in they do not live and grow and die/stagnate, they are in slow growth/stagnation (not in a pejorative sense) - that Gervais Principle is not meant to address these?

  • Fixing Venture Capital by Joel Spolsky

    Found via this thread. Main idea (does not explicitly but is consistently) stems from SITG-mechanics/principal-agent problem/situations where the intended recipient is not the beneficiary etc.

  • How VC John Doerr Sets (and Achieves) Goals on HBR

  • Why Financial Statements Don’t Work for Digital Companies

  • Anki 2.0 user manual.

    Related (read in past): How to Read by Robert Heaton

  • A Workflow with Spaced Repetition.




  • need to get better at storytelling
  • CR (“conversation retraction”): series [insert letter here] round does not sufficiently describe “how far” a company is along. for B2B enterprise SaaS, revenue is obviously more than whatever the letter is. then perhaps number of employees (see Spolsky article graph) but duh I knew that already!