The Lesson to Unlearn


People in school/university are not learning to learn, but to get good grades. This means students are hacking tests (try to narrow down what is needed to know to pass the test and only learn that)

But you can't blame teachers if their tests are hackable. Their job is to teach, not to create unhackable tests. The real problem is grades, or more precisely, that grades have been overloaded.After a certain age, whenever you're being taught, you're usually also being judged.

This translates over to the real world and founding startups:

But wasting your time is not the worst thing the educational system does to you. The worst thing it does is to train you that the way to win is by hacking bad tests.Why did founders tie themselves in knots doing the wrong things when the answer was right in front of them? Because that was what they'd been trained to do. Their education had taught them that the way to win was to hack the test

Especially in big corporations hacking tests is the way to move up the ladder:

I never understood how much of my dislike of big companies was due to the fact that you win by hacking bad tests.

There is a pattern to find out which tests are bad

Tests can be divided into two kinds: those that are imposed by authorities, and those that aren't. Tests that aren't imposed by authorities are inherently unhackable [...]. [A]s a first approximation, bad tests are roughly equivalent to tests imposed by authorities.

Outlook for the future:

The more I think about this question, the more optimistic I get. This seems one of those situations where we don't realize how much something was holding us back until it's eliminated.

I am currently reading through a bunch of Grahams essays, some of them from as early as 2005. I was pleased to learn this one was written recently (2019), so we're not too far in the future yet.

28th Dec, 2023
© 2024 Chris Jarling