Charlie Loyd:

Again, your common or garden Valleybro Does Not Get This. He looks for that magical 10x programmer. He looks for efficiency. His strategy might work, ish, for one generation, which is – gosh – about how long it’s been. But short-term, lines-of-code efficiency completely misses the long-term point. Innovation, “disruption”, comes from outsiders, and you can’t say “hey, let’s make a group of outsiders and rule the world”! I mean, you can – people do all the time – but you lose your outsider perspective really fast. (Unless maybe you have someone like Steve Jobs, who is constantly reminding you that you are not buddies, you have not arrived, and you should drop acid and live in an ashram for a while if you really want to understand technology, and you’re fucking his company, and Microsoft is evil, and so on, but even then, jeez!)

Eh. Everything hinges of course on the details of separateness. The problem for me is that I don’t see any interesting points in the phase space of anything worth calling separateness. A converted oil platform would be astonishingly hard to have an open society on. Where do the sewage engineers live? Why do they come there voluntarily? Why do their countries of origin allow them to work there? Why would even a billionaire want a house there? Is this idea – not to put too fine a point on it – interesting to anyone other than men? And that’s like 90% of what I have to say about it right there.

I’m not offering a new critique here. People have always asked who cleans the toilets in Galt’s Gulch. I’m just trying to color a sketch of how hard a problem practical logistics are. Supply chains are really, really tricky, and it would be quite a trick to sign up for them without entraining a bunch of stuff to do with credit supply, labor and safety laws, and so on. That bureaucracy is sometimes bad, sometimes unnecessary and corrupt, but it’s also what makes it work. The real world is not a packet network – physical objects come with complex and inseparable contexts, and they are produced by a huuuge machine full of flywheels with unfathomable inertia.