Scott Page: Mental Models – Venture Stories

Key Takeaways

  • Why do you need diversity with a company?
    • “If you’re trying to solve a really hard problem, you want people trained in different ways”
  • When you bring together a lot of identity diversity (people from different backgrounds) you get a lot of FREE cognitive diversity (people able to think from different perspectives)
  • Intelligence comes down to two things: finding the right mental model and applying it correctly
  • Models are simple, but since the world is complex – you’re likely to screw things up if you only use one of them (so apply multiple mental models to a situation when you can)

Intro

  • Scott E. Page (@Scott_E_Page) is a professor of complex systems at The University of Michigan
    • Check out the Podcast Notes from his appearance on The Knowledge Project

Books Mentioned

A Little Bit About Scott Page

  • One of Scott’s first jobs was working as a mathematical economist training game theorists – while doing so he became really interested in complex systems
  • Scott’s new book, The Model Thinker, looks at how people can apply different mental models to understand complex systems (economies, startups, public policy, etc)

Thoughts on Diversity

Using Models

  • Intelligence comes down to 2 things: finding the right mental model and applying it correctly
  • Models are simple, but since the world is complex – you’re likely to screw things up if you only use one of them (so apply multiple mental models to a situation when you can)
    • It’s possible for the second model to not be as effective as the first, but averaged together – they can be superior

Additional Notes

  • If incentives are super, super strong, you can always get cooperation
  • For every proverb, there’s an opposite proverb
  • Data itself can be misleading, you need to apply models to aid your interpretation
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