Stuff you must read today (Sun, 16 Feb 2020) – The Explaining Incompetence Edition

  • Research: Do People Really Get Promoted to Their Level of Incompetence? | Harvard Business Review
    A confirmation of The Peter Principle and how firms can manage around it: creating a structure in which top performers are rewarded with pay rather than promotion; and promoting, to managerial positions, staff who are above-average in individual contributor roles, but savvy in skillsets of leadership.

  • The Basic Laws of Human Stupidity | Carlo M. Cipolla
    An essay by an Italian economic historian that provides an explanation for human behaviour in the world.

  • The Dunning-Kruger Effect Shows Why Some People Think They’re Great Even When Their Work Is Terrible | Forbes
    “…many people are underperforming simply because they don’t know that they could be doing better or what really great performance looks like. It’s not that they’re necessarily being defensive, rather they just lack the knowledge. In fact, he told me that research subjects were willing to criticize their own previous poor skills once they were trained up and could see the difference between their previous poor performance and their new improved performance”.

  • If Humble People Make the Best Leaders, Why Do We Fall for Charismatic Narcissists? | Harvard Business Review
    “…narcissistic individuals radiate ‘an image of a prototypically effective leader.’ Narcissistic leaders know how to draw attention toward themselves. They enjoy the visibility. It takes time for people to see that these early signals of competence are not later realized, and that a leader’s narcissism reduces the exchange of information among team members and often negatively affects group performance”.
     
  • Putt’s Law | davewentzel.com
    “I really admire managers who follow the management-by-walking-around (MBWA) principle. This management philosophy is very simple: The best managers are those who leave their offices and observe. By observing they learn what the challenges are for their teams and how to help them better.
     

    So, what I am looking for in a manager?

    1. He knows he is the least qualified person to make a technical decision.
    2. He is a facilitator. He knows how to help his technologists succeed.
    3. MBWA.”

“Zoe Tay” by The Boredphucks (c. 2002)

While migrating over to a new computer, I discovered I’d transcribed the lyrics to “Zoe Tay” by The Boredphucks (c. 2002) some time back.

I can’t remember why I wanted to write them out in the first place. In any case, I’m posting them here for posterity.

Enjoy, and leave a comment if there are any typos.


Zoe Tay
By The Boredphucks (c. 2002)

Late at night, somewhere on Orchard Road
You can find a girl called Elizabeth
She’s so fine, oh with all those groovy clothes
Lipstick, mascara – she’s OK
Electrifying everyone that passes her way

Canto pop, techno bop, she’s a superstar
Riding on in her sugar daddy’s sports car
Getting everything she wants in her special way
Erotic, neurotic – she’s OK
She’ll suck you dry in every possible way

She speaks Singlish like Zoe Tay
She’s illiterate but that’s OK
‘Cos she’s living life in a TCS serial
She speaks Singlish like Zoe Tay

Late at night somewhere on Orchard Road
You can find a girl called Elizabeth
She’s so fine, oh with all those groovy clothes
Armani, Versace – she’s OK
Firing up the catwalk as she passes your way

She speaks Singlish like Zoe Tay
She’s illiterate but that’s OK
‘Cos she’s living life in a TCS serial
She speaks Singlish like Zoe Tay


ADDENDUM: Sanjeev Veloo, former frontman of The Boredphucks, left a since-deleted comment with corrections to the second verse. Thanks Sanjeev!

What happens to the fines collected by the CCCS?

Competition and Consumer Commission of Singapore

Close to a month ago, I noticed these two stories about the Competition and Consumer Commission of Singapore (CCCS) published in The Straits Times on consecutive days:

From these two stories alone, the CCCS stands to collect some $39 million worth of fines from the firms mentioned.

And that’s after subtracting the whistle-blower’s reward mentioned in the chicken cartel story!

I sent an e-mail message to the two journalists whose bylines were on those stories asking them if it might be possible to do a story on the following:

  • On average, how much does the CCCS collect, in fines, each year?
  • What happens to the fines collected by the CCCS?

I thought it’d be in the public interest to understand how – and how much – monies collected by the CCCS are eventually returned to Singaporean consumers.

Unfortunately, I haven’t seen any follow-up stories on those two questions yet, on any media platform.

I thought I’d share my curiosity with everyone else, in case some other media outlet might be able to provide some answers to my questions.