Andreessen on The Psychology of Human Misjudgment

Great insights from two legendary entrepreneurs – that’s what Marc Andreessen is offering up in a series of posts on Charlie Munger’s The Psychology of Human Misjudgment.  Munger is Warren Buffet’s long-time partner and vice-Chairman at Berkshire Hathaway.   Andreessen writes:

Mr. Munger’s magnum opus speech, included in the book, is The Psychology of Human Misjudgment
— an exposition of 25 key forms of human behavior that lead to
misjudgment and error, derived from Mr. Munger’s 60 years of business
experience. Think of it as a practitioner’s summary of human psychology
and behavioral economics as observed in the real world.

Here’s a taste of Munger:

…almost everyone
thinks he fully recognizes how important incentives and disincentives
are in changing cognition and behavior. But this is not often so. For
instance, I think I’ve been in the top five percent of my age cohort
almost all my adult life in understanding the power of incentives, and
yet I’ve always underestimated that power. Never a year passes but I
get some surprise that pushes a little further my appreciation of
incentive superpower.

…We [should] heed the general lesson implicit in the injunction of Ben Franklin in Poor Richard’s Almanack:
"If you would persuade, appeal to interest and not to reason." This
maxim is a wise guide to a great and simple precaution in life: Never,
ever, think about something else when you should be thinking about the
power of incentives…

Andreessen is going through the speech and offering comment from his own experiences.  Here’s Andreessen with an important example:

…the result of shifting from stock options to restricted stock should be obvious: current employees will be incented to preserve value instead of creating
value. And new hires will by definition be people who are conservative
and change-averse, as the people who want to swing for the fences and
get rewarded for creating something new will go somewhere else, where
they will receive stock options — in typically greater volume than
anyone will ever grant restricted stock — and have greater upside.

Read the whole thing, it’s the first post in a series I’m very much looking forward to reading.


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