[FoRK] what the hell, facebook

Stephen Williams sdw at lig.net
Wed Jun 19 02:50:49 PDT 2013

On 6/19/13 2:06 AM, Noon Silk wrote:
> On Wed, Jun 19, 2013 at 6:57 PM, Stephen Williams <sdw at lig.net> wrote:
>> [...]
>> Or, I'm just obviously and hopelessly arrogant.  You know what I always
>> say at this point: Don't confuse arrogance with chronic correctness.  Of
>> course, you only get to that point by trying many incorrect paths, at which
>> point you then are an authority on how not to do things.  Probably more
>> valuable than immediate success. Just a recapitulation of Edison's 5%
>> inspiration maxim.  But, you know, all those long nights knocking my head
>> against the keyboard to solve often dumb problems that I created have just
>> made me arrogant.  Is it arrogant to have confidence that, given enough
>> time, I can plow through most problems to success, having done it a few
>> times?  I don't think that word means what you think it means.  Am I going
>> to keep razzing Google about these two questionable calls (one of them
>> illegal) until they some-day give me an offer I can't refuse?  Probably;
>> I'm unrequited.  They're big boys and girls, they can take it.
> [...]
> IMO, this is immediately identifiable as arrogance in that it doesn't allow
> for the position that the person assuming you are arrogant knows this,
> instead the tone assumes you are the only one too know and is condescending
> in its presentation.

But this isn't what I presented to whoever thought I was arrogant. His apparent insistence that I was too arrogant to hire makes 
his understanding of the above point less likely, assuming that I don't lack self-awareness of some other type of projected 
arrogance, always a distinct possibility.  My recursively arrogant statement is Colbertesque (Colberisque?), authored in the one 
case where a client ever stated that a team I was on, and happened to be leading, was arrogant.  We were brought in because the 
methods they were pursuing were not working or scaling, so that was understandable but still surprising.

I don't think that people around me feel that I'm condescending or arrogant in the vast majority of cases, except perhaps when 
someone is being condescending and arrogant to me, at which point I may, if needed, directly show their error in the most 
expedient fashion.  I am always aware of my past and much of my present ignorance and when and how I learned things (which is 
mostly in non-traditional and not authoritative or tested ways), so generally I helpfully teach others constantly.  There are 
few times I don't exhaustively bore people with precise detail of what I think the limits of my knowledge and experience are.  I 
have misspoken a few times, once during a key interview, and always remember that.  I have friends who always introduce me with 
a cringe-worthy summary that I have to correct.  I have at least one LinkedIn endorsement that is so over the top that I 
repeatedly debate hiding it.

I'm often overly understanding of others to a fault, assuming many possible reasons that something wasn't handled or whatever.  
A problem when managing.  I get impatient if people aren't interested in learning; otherwise, I assume I haven't found the right 
way to teach something yet or lead them to learn it themselves.

It is fine to be self-deprecating, but if you are always self-deprecating, that's just being passive / aggressive or otherwise 
lying to others or yourself.
Generally, if you want to be efficient about things, you should state what you believe, stand by your conclusions until they've 
been knocked down, adopt the best new conclusion, and continue on.  Admit mistakes right away, give credit to the source(s) of 
new ideas as best you can, and try to get to the best result.

Consider what people are good at, interested in, and experienced for.  Treat yourself like you treat other people in evaluating 
capability and performance, to the extent you can.

Where's the line of arrogance in there?

> Which is not to say that I have a major problem with people who are
> arrogant, or am not arrogant myself, at times.

Perhaps I don't have a good working definition.

> It's noticable, though, because I work with at least two very smart people,
> one who is arrogant, and one who isn't, and the one who isn't is much nicer
> to be around (indeed, I'd like to be more like that guy.)

I've worked with one or two offensively arrogant people.  Maybe they were the only people more arrogant than I was?

> -- (somewhat arrogantly,)
> Noon Silk

(more arrogantly than thou?)

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