Updated: Dec 22, 2020

notes and resources


3 ways to measure your adaptability — and how to improve it

1. Ask what if questions (stimulate counterfactual thinking)

2. Actively unlearning (error correcting)

3. Prioritize exploration (testing), not exploitation

Ms Fratto makes some good suggestions re: how to interview for adaptability. More interesting than the typical behavioral interview. (Natalie Fratto is a Venture Capitalist)

“natural selection sculpts traits into adaptiveness” Robert Sapolsky Behave, A direct linkage from adaptivity to evolution.

Tara Westover (re: “active unlearning”)

“I think that when we deny what is worst about ourselves, we also deny what is best. We repress our ignorance, and thus we deny our capacity to learn. We repress our faults, and thus we deny our capacity to change. We forget that it is our flawed human self, and not our avatar, who creates things and reconsiders and forgives and shows mercy. “

(Tara Westover is an author. She wrote Educated.)

Excerpt from Economist article about Clayton Christensen and Disruptive Innovation - 11/30/20. Gets at Fratto’s 3rd point about prioritizing exploration:

In a nutshell, Mr Christensen’s insight was that it is not stupidity that prevents great firms from foreseeing disruption but rather their supreme rationality. They do "the right thing focusing on better products for their best and most profitable

clients, often to the point of over-engineering (how many Mach and Fusion blades does a chin need?). But that is "the wrong thing" if it blinds them to the threat from poorly capitalised upstarts offering cheaper stuff in markets too obscure to worry about. Such threats can swiftly turn existential if the rivals move upmarket and go for the jugular.

Re: active unlearning:

"I know that most men, including those at ease with problems of the greatest complexity, can seldom accept even the simplest and most obvious truth if it be such as would oblige them to admit the falsity of conclusions which they have delighted in explaining to colleagues, which they have proudly taught to others, and which they have woven, thread by thread, into the fabric of their lives.” - Tolstoy

This relates to Fratto’s 2nd point about active unlearning, or the struggle therein. This also relates to K&Ts Endowment Effect, in that those people that are endowed (or invested) in a current idea often struggle with its unlearning.

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