Monday, August 24, 2015

problems of the super rich

Chatting with Azer.  He just had lunch with "Bob", a friend who is an executive at Google.

Azer: "Bob told me that people who have too much money are really messed-up.  He said everyone he's met who has over $200 million dollars is screwed up."

Me: "Why $200M?  That's a strange number to choose.  Wouldn't you say $100M if you were just picking a large number?"

Azer: "Maybe he has more than $100M but less than $200M, so this way he's still below the screwed-up threshold."

Me: "I wonder if next time you see him, he'll say, 'Actually Azer, you can have $200M without being screwed-up, but once you get over $205M, you become really messed up.'"


Rat Fink said...

Perhaps the situation is analagous to the game mechanics for Mail Order Monsters; with each successive victory, you gradually accumulate enough credits to purchase enhanced weaponry or novel mutations. At the highest levels of play, your monster bears very little resemblance to the simple, unadorned morph you once started with. Likewise, executives worth 10-50m can only spare enough disposable income for relatively minor upgrades: UV- and IR-enhanced eye globes with targeting reticle and laser rangefinder, extensible digits with modular plug-ins (lighter, stylus, dry-erase marker, platinum snorting tubule), parabolic listening enhacements with active filtering, voice-activated breast implants (clap once to, uh, well...) etc. At the 50-150m range, the enhancements become a bit more pronounced and harder to conceal: a serrated bionic claw, reflex-enhanced chicken foot, prehensile tail, venemous quills, the ability to unhinge your lower jaw (to swallow an entire frozen cheesecake, for instance) and so on. Only in that rarefied atmosphere above 200m do things become *exceptionally* strange. At this god-like level of income, the discerning executive can afford to pay obscure specialists to modify her own brain and unfortunately, this is where people get into serious trouble. The topology of the mind is not particularly well-understood, even today, and there are lots of miniscule, distantly evolved bundles of biological wiring that have a disproportionate impact on the functioning of the entire system. Snip the blue wire instead of the red one, and you lose the ability to recall the past. Snip them both, and you are no longer able to form coherent plans about the future; consequently, you end up trapped, unable to create the very thoughts needed to revert your recent changes... As with Philip K. Dick's Mood Organ, all the usual warnings apply. A testament to the dangers of self-modifying code? Sigh. Someday, we'll be needing W^X for the brain. And a pretty damn comprehensive suite of unit tests...

And this is why people with more than 200m are messed up. The End.

Anonymous said...

What kind of problems do 'messed up' millionaires have that non millionaires have not had? Substance abuse? Homicidal or suicidal tendencies? Violent thoughts, sexual deviancy, loss of touch w reality, boredom, loss of meaning, what?

Anonymous said...

I thought it would be more obvious (esp. wrt the recent comments from Notch). Sudden, obscene amounts of wealth totally short-circuit the usual work-and-reward mechanisms that help to motivate you (since childhood). You are suddenly endowed with the ability to acquire any material thing on earth--all without physical effort, prior consultation, or long-term planning. So, if you are inclined to be an impulsive narcissist, you can easily destroy yourself (and others) inside a rather short span. If you are the type of person that takes a more non-material, philosophical approach to matters, you still have a problem: the very existance of so much wealth potentially poisons every single relationship you have ever had, or may ever have in the future. It can drive a permanent wedge into your ability to trust the motivations of others and experience genuine, beneficial relationships with semi-normal people. You're totally boned. I think this is why you may see so many morbidly wealthy folks that prefer the company of their pets to other people; sadly, only the affections of non-human animals are consistently genuine.

Swedish Faggot said...

I can't believe I've been reading your blog for 10 years. I remember frothing with jealousy when I found out you graduated from Cal Tech at such a young age and you did all that cool shit and Microsoft and then you went on to be a billionaire Googler on top of that. I played your game.. what's it called? It was a 3D game from Google. And you could make little worlds and stuff. I remember when your Smugmug was open to the public, but then creepers were creeping on your bikini pics so you had to lock it down lol. I remember when you were dating some beefcake Russian guy but racist Chinese guys gave you so much shit about it that you stopped posting about your love life after awhile. And you are still here being all successful and thoughtful and shit. I'd be off on an island watching Netflix and being a lazy fat fuck, but you are still out there accomplishing your very different dreams.

Niniane said...

Haha, thanks "Swedish Faggot". There was no need to be jealous. I have a lot of inner demons and worries, and I'm sure you'd not be jealous if you knew them. But I've read that jealousy can point us toward our heart's desire, so maybe your 10-years-ago jealousy was illuminating of what you really want.

It was interesting to see you sum up the past 10 years of my blog, in a TL;DR.

I'm glad you used Google Lively. It was very dear to me.

I am indeed in the grip of my dream of Evertoon. In a way, it feels like a continuation of my obsession with Lively, the same dream that has captured me the whole past decade. I want Evertoon's product to exist and be good and be used by lots of people, and I want to be the one who created it. To me, that's a bit different than just wanting to be "successful". The path of typical "success" actually seems easier because there are so many different approaches, whereas creating a new product is hard and lonely and full of worry.

I hope both of us achieve our respective dreams.