Filters, Funnels

Gotta restrict the inflow somehow.

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And now, our feature presentation…


Photo by Serge Bystro.


Thinkin’ bout selection effects. In particular, adverse selection. The concept has been on my mind since February, brought top-of-mind by this Twitter exchange:

Sonya 🌐 Mann@sonyaellenmann

Toying around with an idea: Public "office hours" that anyone can drop in on. Whoever showed up could pitch me on a story, have a casual conversation, whatever. It'd probably be located at a coffee shop in SOMA. Thoughts?

February 7, 2018
Kyle Russell 🚀@kylebrussell

I've tried to do something similar to meet with founders on weekends near my apartment. Potential problem is adverse selection: only people without important/interesting things taking you up on it

February 7, 2018
See also: Siderea’s “asshole filter,” summed up by Reddit user Kinrany as “issuing a rule and not enforcing it can lead to encouraging people to break the rule and offending people who don’t want to break the rule.”

Some industries have adverse selection effects. Journalism, for instance (writes the myopic journalist, obsessed with her dysfunctional industry). There’s a half-joke among reporters that you don’t go into media if you’re able to do anything else. And it’s true — if you have any common sense, along with the ability to put up with sycophantic corporate nonsense, then you’ll go make more money in PR or marketing.

It’s similar to the saying, “Those who can’t do, teach.” Those who can’t do, chronicle.

But of course there’s an “on the other hand.” The terribleness of journalism, as much as it repels competent professionals, also filters for people who are really passionate about reporting. (Plus those of us, myself included, who have a bizarre craving for attention from strangers.)


Photo by neeel.


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