Everyone’s Job is World Building | Alex Danco on Infinite Loops with Jim O’Shaughnessy

Check out Infinite Loops Episode Page and Show Notes

Key Takeaways

  • The biggest difference between the physical and digital world is the reorientation of value from production scarcity to demand/attention scarcity
  • ‘world building’ – you can’t speak to every customer all of the time but you can create an environment for the community to be connected and explore new challenges
    • “The ability to create new challenges on the internet is unlimited” – Alex Danco
    • Middle management are the building blocks for world creating – the intermediary by constructing a reality that does not literally produce anything, maintaining the meaning to work
  • The Office is a great example of the comprehensive cynical theory of management and world-building to create a sustainable and meaningful workplace
    • Michael, Dwight, and Andy are in charge of ‘world building’ and perpetuating meaning to themselves and Dunder Mifflin
  • Status is relative to the nature of the ‘world’ you reside in
    • Rich is not always interesting or unique, value and cultural relevancy is detached from reality but exclusively attached to your world

Intro

Digital vs Physical World

  • The skills in the digital world are much different than the physical world
    • thoughts and actions are not linear in the digital world
  • Physical capital can be defined as clear inputs and outputs using natural resources, factory capacity, production, etc.
  • Reorientation of value from production scarcity to demand/attention scarcity
    • The relationship with the consumer is more valuable than the product

Early Internet & World Building

  • What are you selling in a world of abundance?
    • Everyone’s job is in sales if you know what you’re selling
    • Sales in scarcity vs sales in abundance
    • ‘world building’ – you can’t speak to every customer all of the time but you can create an environment for the community to be connected and explore new challenges, consistently finding meaning
    • “The ability to create new challenges on the internet is unlimited” – Alex Danco
  • Eternal September – early internet trends were based around the collegiate schedule starting in September when a ton of new members would join different forums and servers
    • The existing members often got frustrated with the flood of “noobs”, there was often a large learning curve to understanding the cultural norms of the service
    • Twitter is a great modern day example, hostile to new users but a great platform once established
  • Conditions for why the digital world initially succeeded:
    • The internet was fairly difficult to access
    • There was an abundance of challenges to immediately participate in and explore
    • The intelligence barrier was high enough for a select group to get a head start on internet cultural fluency
  • Ebay and Beanie Babies created the transition online, the first opportunity for normal folks to incorporate a commercial online platform into their interest
    • Interest and intent, first step to organic value growth from within a unique ‘world’

World Management

  • Middle managements main role is to be creative in the ‘world building’ process
    • Hard to define necessity on the balance sheet, but necessary to maintain the ‘worlds’
    • This refers to maintaining the self-perpetuating meaning for the internal and external worlds
    • The modern term is “Product Manager”
  • The Organization Man – William Whyte
    • All organizations that survive are built on three layers:
      • Bottom Layer – the majority of workers are doing ‘literal’ things, producing
      • Executive Layer – ‘literal’ roles and responsibilities with real stakes involved
      • Middle Management Layer – intermediate by constructing a reality that does not literally produce anything, maintaining the meaning to work, product, or service

World Management in The Office

  • The Michael Scott Theory of Social Class – Thesis by Alex Danco derived from the show, The Office
    • The higher you ascend the ladder of the Educated Gentry class, the more you become Michael Scott” – Alex Danco
    • The Gervais Principle – Venkatesh Rao
      • Goes through The Office as a comprehensive cynical theory of management:
        • The losers: Stanley, Pam, Daryll
        • The sociopath: David Wallace, Jan, Ryan, Jim
        • The clueless: Michael, Dwight, Andy
      • Coded language:
        • Posture talk: spoken by the clueless to anyone, including to themselves to ground their own reality
        • Baby talk: everyone who talks to the clueless, make sure they don’t go off the rails
        • Internal talk: the self-supporting language amongst the losers to get through the day
        • Power talk: language amongst sociopaths about information gathering or retroactive deniability
        • Straight talk: language with no code, senior management to front-line workers
    • Michael, Dwight, and Andy are in charge of ‘world building’ and perpetuating meaning to themselves and Dunder Mifflin

Defining World Status

  • Difference between world-relative high status and societal high status
    • cultural or ‘worldly’ relevance
    • Is a Subaru higher status than a Cadillac? Depends on the world you live in.
    • Rich is not always interesting or unique, value and cultural relevancy is detached from reality but exclusively attached to your world
    • “People beg for the acknowledgment of the meaning they’ve created” – Alex Danco
Infinite Loops : , , , , , ,
Notes By Drew Waterstreet

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