Browser Newsletter 1170

Hic sunt camelopardus: this historical edition of The Browser is presented for archaeological purposes; links and formatting may be broken.

Best of the Moment

How Google Sold Its Engineers On Management

David Garvin | Harvard Business Review | 24th November 2013

Google's technocratic culture breeds skepticism about managers. "A company built by engineers for engineers". But when the founders tried a flat structure, a few years in, it didn't work. Trivial questions came straight to the top. The compromise: to have managers, but not very many, and to accept that good ideas count for more than formal seniority. "Seldom do employees accept top-down directives without question"

David Zwirner: The Dealer’s Hand

Nick Paumgarten | New Yorker | 25th November 2013

New York gallerist and dealer David Zwirner is ranked by Art Review as the second-most powerful figure in the art world (after the head of the Qatar Museums Authority). He is talked of as the new Larry Gagosian — but without the latter's mystique. "Zwirner, by design and by temperament, strives to quell drama. He has set out to systematize art dealing, to give the endeavor a measure of efficiency, transparency, and order"

Rethinking Chess

Christopher Chabris | Wall Street Journal | 22nd November 2013

Chess champions have discovered new skills by playing against computers. "When engines suggest surprising moves, or arrangements of pieces, they are often seeing more deeply into the game. Having seen how machines go about attacking and especially defending, humans have become emboldened to try the same ideas. The top human players are now those who most often play the moves that would be chosen by the best engines"

I Hope My Father Dies Soon

Scott Adams | Dilbert | 23rd November 2013

"His mind is 98% gone, and all he has left is hours or possibly months of hideous unpleasantness in a hospital bed. I'll spare you the details, but it's as close to a living Hell as you can get. I'd like to proactively end his suffering and let him go out with some dignity. But my government says I can't make that decision. Neither can his doctors. So, for all practical purposes, the government is torturing my father until he dies"

Inside The Mind Of Marc Andreessen

Andy Serwer | CNN Money | 21st November 2013

Interview. Full of good points. "Jeff Bezos says there's really two kinds of businesses in the world: those that try to charge consumers more, and those that try to charge consumers less. I reframe it as: There are businesses that have the mentality of adding value, and businesses that have the mentality of extracting value. The Internet is an enormous benefit to the model of adding value, and an enormous danger to the model of extracting value"

A Simple Explanation Of How Money Moves Around The Banking System

Richard Gendal Brown | 24th November 2013

The headline describes this piece exactly. If you already know quite a lot about interbank settlement procedures, read no further. But if you don't, and you'd like to find out more about how the banking world works, read on, and learn, inter alia, the difference between Real-Time Gross Settlement and Deferred Net Settlement; and how to combine Settlement Finality with Zero Counterparty Risk

Video of the day: Fortunes (NSFW language)

Thought for the day:

"Good tests kill flawed theories; we remain alive to guess again " — Karl Popper

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