Gendernomics: Differentiation and Features

I had another essay building on last weeks essay on responsibility and accountability planned this week, but I saw a tweet that caught my interest and started me down the rabbit hole of sexual market value again. More specifically, how what constitutes a high quality product in the sexual market place.

Christian McQueen (@TheCadClub on twitter) recently tweeted out the following:

If this trend continues it’ll be very easy for pretty girls world-wide:

1. Be in shape

2. Don’t have grey hair (dye it if need be)

3. Don’t be a hateful feminist

You’ll have your pick of great men.

I’ve touched on this idea before in Gendernomics and previous essays, most particularly in Female Sexual Strategies Part 2. The gist of my argument was that if one has a market, where a need exists and the only options to satisfy that need are poor ones, then those poor solutions can still do remarkably well. This is a function of the contrast effect more than anything, in that if you’re 6 ft 1, and go out with a group of men who are 6 ft 3 and taller, you look short by comparison.

This comes down to the fact that people would rather have a need fulfilled to a minimal degree as opposed to not having it covered at all. If you have to drive in a nail, and you can’t find a hammer at a good price, you may use a wrench or a rock. You have a need you have to fulfill, a preferred way to fulfill it (want) but you will compromise.

As I’ve mentioned, I travel a lot for work, and this means that I also end up talking to a lot of random people on various means of transport and in general. One of the most interesting groups to talk to are women in their 70s, 80s and 90s, who have daughters and granddaughters, as they tend to lament the lifestyle choices of their offspring. This is because back in their day, before egalitarian equalism, it was common knowledge what men wanted in a wife, often embodied in aphorisms like

The way to a man’s heart is through his stomach” – Know how to cook and take care a man.

Behind every great man is a great woman” – Know how to support your man and help him succeed.

I could extrapolate much from these simple sentences, however our culture contains enough examples of what type of wife or husband is undesirable in comics, literature and culture. Personally my favorite examples in comics is from Andy Capp and Bringing up Father, both demonstrate the dynamic of hapless Beta male with the domineering, harridan of a wife. Back in the 1940s and 1950s, this was a funny caricature, these days such comics appear almost prescient in how gender relations have developed. Continue reading

Gendernomics: Bachelor Nation

I came across some interesting statistical observations recently regarding singles [6], that show that for the first time, the number of singles are outnumbering the people in relationships. While the decline in marriage can be explained through concepts such as risk. Meaning that in the current climate a man can be “zeroed out” as Rollo put it, quite easily if he makes a poor choice in mate, but largely I think it comes down to men intuitively avoiding marriage due to having seen their families, and friends go through bitter divorces. If one watches 9 people jump off a cliff, splat against the ground, and then is told “I’m sure you’re different”, a sensible person would step away from the edge.

From a needs-perspective this is very interesting though, because the needs that are satisfied by marriage, have to be sated somehow. The sexual need can be satisfied outside of marriage for both sexes, the same is true for the need for friendship and companionship to some extent. Even reproduction outside of marriage is possible through the use of surrogates and sperm donors. The one need that persists though, is the same that men have always provided for women, namely provision and protection. Likewise, it is probable that if women could be entirely provided and protected without having to contract a Beta male to do so, they would prefer to share Alpha males.

However, the need to consolidate comes when a women realize that they are no longer commanding the same market value as they did in their younger days, and feels that she must settle down now in order to avoid being left on the market.

The question is, how can women ensure provision without having to make the trade with men?

Continue reading

Gendernomics: Emergent Strategies

I use the concept of emergent strategy in the Gendernomics book when explaining and to some extent describing the various ways in which a strategy can form as a sum of individual actions.  “Strategy as a pattern” is perhaps the more interesting one, and the one that forms the foundation of the book, “The Rise and Fall of Strategic Planning“. This book is a critique of strategic management literature, often based in Drucker, Taylor and Porter, the titans of planned strategy, where the chief argument presented by Henry Minzberg is that in a rapidly changing world, long-term strategic planning is destined to fail. Instead he argues that the interactions of the company with outside forces over time will form the company strategy.

The novel approach by Minzberg was a stark contrast to the top-down strategic planning literature in vogue at the time. In the planned strategy camp, retreats where executives buried themselves in a mixture of analytical work and creativity to determine Visions, Missions, SMART goals, KPIs and strategies for how to move the company to new heights were the prescription for how to build a great company. Minzberg’s position was much more simply that in a rapidly changing world, by the time the executives and strategy consultants emerged from their retreat, the data they based their decisions on may already be outdated. Thus, the only way to “do strategy” in a world marked by rapid change and innovation is to train your staff well, set goals and assume that the parts will form a coherent whole.

I’ve on occasion referred to this as “Chaos theory strategy” in that order is expected to arise from chaos, and the actions, choices and thoughts of potentially thousands of people must align in order for the strategy to be coherent. A key factor of emergent strategy is that it can only be identified when one looks at the development of the company over time, historically speaking. This is a much more fluid way to think about human behavior if one takes the vantage point of extreme macro. Our cultures and societies are shaped by billions of individual decisions, chains of reasoning, emotional reactions and actions taken. Continue reading

Gendernomics: The Contrast Effect

This has been a strange couple of weeks, we’ve found out that many Hollywood Male Feminists are creeps (which quite frankly wasn’t a massive surprise) as per the Brimstone Preacher Principle. Rollo posted two very good essays [1,2] on what “creepy” means when women say it. The red pill experienced it’s first brush between analytic and continental philosophy and Gay Lube Oil introduced me to the “Bobs and Vegana” meme [3], so all in all this entire week was a bit creepy for a multitude of reasons. In the discussion of the latter meme, the topic shifted into how something mediocre can appear quite excellent as a result of the contrast effect. The contrast effect is the reason why short men should get even shorter friends and avoid hanging out with NBA players and why unattractive women should bring even more unattractive women with them on “Girl’s night out”. For a demonstration of this effect, take 3 bowls of water, 1 hot, one cold and one lukewarm. Put one hand in the hot bowl, the other in the cold bowl for about a minute and then put both in the bowl of lukewarm water.

There is also a well-known sales technique, whereby a company advertises a cheap product to the consumer in order to bring them in, once the customer arrives at the store, they will talk down the advertised product, and instead suggest a much better product, but one that is also much more costly. Once they sense the customer’s trepidation about spending much more money, they will show the customer a product that is not quite as costly as the “high-end” offering, but which they argue is much superior to the advertised product. Continue reading

Gendernomics: On Value Part 4

This is part 4 of a 5 part essay. Part 1, Part 2, Part 3.

Valuation of Self and Others

The valuation of self is closely tied to self-awareness. One could argue that there are two extreme cases that illustrate the spectrum on which humans exist. The neurotic on one hand has an extremely depressed view of his own value, as a result of being very critical of self, whereas the narcissist has an extremely optimistic view of their own value as a result of poor self-awareness. In both cases, the person is inaccurate in their self-valuation, and suffers consequences due to this factor.

Neurotics minimize their strengths and magnify their weaknesses in their own internal perception of self.  This can lead to two broad spheres of results, on one hand one has the neurotic person who achieves great success as a result of constantly improving self, and seeking better results. On the other hand one has those neurotics that view their weaknesses as too great to overcome and as a result do not work to improve themselves. In the first of these situations, the neurotic can often become a high achiever, whereas in the latter they often fail to achieve at all. The former type of neurotic often has a large gap between their perceived value and their objective value, while the inverse is true of the latter.

Narcissists maximize their strengths and are to varying degrees ignorant of their weaknesses. This can also lead to two broad spheres of results. The narcissist that is also a high achiever and as a result of this has a smaller gap between their self-perceived value and their objective value. On the other hand the narcissist that is a non-achiever, and has a large gap between their self-perceived value and their objective value.

A common observation in the valuation of self is to what one is comparing. A person in isolation can be valued differently, than a person who is valued in contrast to another. This is similar in part to how a company has a stand-alone valuation, and a benchmark valuation, the latter being when the company’s metrics are compared with that of other comparable companies. The latter is also vulnerable to the contrast effect, where a person is viewed as more or as less due to the stature of another person or another group.

When valuing others the factors that affect valuations are much the same, except that one is working from much less information. One can compare this to “insider buys” in a stock market, where someone in an advantageous position within a company, such as a member of the executive team, or the board buys shares in the open market. This is often viewed as a positive signal to the market as it means someone with a greater degree of knowledge of the company views this time as a good time to buy. When we value ourselves, we have access to every single piece of data, when we value others we have much less.

The psychological system 1 and system 2 factors outlined by Daniel Kahneman, where one can often make rapid valuations based on available visual characteristics, that have a greater margin of error than the same valuation conducted through system 2. A ready observation of pedestalization for instance, is that such valuations have been conducted in a system 1 fashion, with little attention being paid to identify the underlying axioms and premises of such a valuation.

The characteristic of system 1 is that it trades speed for accuracy, much in the same manner that shooting from the hip does for firearms. When conducting such a valuation or superficial analysis, one must always be mindful that the probability of error increases at every level of the judgment. Not only do we have access to limited data, we will tend to value what little data we have very highly, but we lack enough to identify a pattern within the observations, our sample size is very small, and we are prone to make rapid decisions. Thus, it follows that our snap-valuations of others will be heavily biased by these factors. When the context factor is added, for instance by the person being put in a position of power, in an environment with a high volume of social proof, or other situation our valuations will increase, if the converse contexts take place, our judgment of their value will be less. Continue reading

Gendernomics: On Value Part 3

This is part 3 of a multi-part post. Part 1Part 2

Internal and External Value Multipliers

I’ve written about value multipliers previously, in “Game as a Value Multiplier“, where I define a multiplier as:

“A multiplier is a very simple concept, it’s an added variable that either serves to increase or decrease a given value. “

One of the things I think I neglected to adequately cover in that essay is the fact that a multiplier can be both positive and negative, and how it is regarded may be context dependent.

It’s quite common to make the distinction between internal factors in a company that contribute to its performance, and external factors that affect its performance. The idea of “core competencies” is perhaps the clearest formulation of how a company’s unique configuration of competencies, qualities and traits can become a source of competitive advantage. Examples would be 3M’s focus on innovation and new products, WalMart’s focus on high volume logistics, or Apples focus on high quality design work.

When applying the core competencies principle to a person the internal multipliers would be those things that alter the behavior of a given variable or set of variables based on a person’s internal characteristics. Men who write “How to vet a wife” articles often draw on such variables as a woman’s history of self control, loyalty or self-discipline, not due to these factors in and of themselves, but because the combination of these variables build a barrier towards external negative multipliers.

A woman who has a combination of love for family, traditional values and self-discipline as a core competency is according to these men a better prospect for marriage because they act as barriers for promiscuity, divorce and impulsive behavior, all of which are encouraged externally in our present social order.

External multipliers are those a person has little control over and which exist outside of that person. For instance, most are familiar with the example of going out with a wing who is shorter than you, so that you look taller by comparison. Likewise a woman may be a 10 in a small town, but a 6 in Los Angeles or Miami where beautiful women tend to congregate.

In my day job I’ve frequently utilized examples such as industry legal issues, or multi-national legal issues as an example of external negative multipliers, as these have a negative effect on the revenues of each company within an industry, yet are unrelated to the aspects of performance that a company has control over. Continue reading

Gendernomics: On Value Part 2

This essay is part 2 of a 5 part series. You can find part 1 here

Contextual Value

In various forms of business, one will often experience conflicting valuations in some form or another. In finance, it’s quite clear from the outline in an upcoming section of this post that there can be many different valuations for a company. Likewise, within marketing one can have differing valuations for a new product or a market depending on the underlying premises one utilizes when conducting an analysis. A fairly common method to establish the potential market size for a brick-and-mortar business is to determine how many people live in the area where the business will operate, then how many of those are potential customers and how frequently they will need the services offered by the company. In this simple mathematical problem, the definitions of “operating area”, “potential customers” and “frequency of service”, will greatly affect the valuation of the project.

The idea of  contextual value is that things outside of an item influence the value placed upon that item by rational actors. The most simple example is how an item for which there is high demand tends to be viewed as more valuable than an item for which there is little if any demand. Some prefer to look at demand as an indicator of value, meaning that high value products will also have a correspondingly high demand, however this is a conflation of a products’ capability for satisfying a need, with the product’s popularity. While one can easily argue that there are correlations between product quality and product popularity, the correlation between the variables are varied.

It is entirely possible to have a low quality product, for which there is high demand, or a high quality product for which there is low demand. Within the dating sphere this often takes the form of “social proof”, which as a variable influences the value of the product either up or down. However, social proof is transitory, as it is composed of variables that communicate and signal high value within a social group. Thus, many of the factors that lead to high social proof, are in and of themselves a part of the product, they are in fact the joint subjective perceptions of the product communicated externally. Continue reading