November 29, 2013

"They're Watching You at Work"

Don Peck writes in The Atlantic:
They're Watching You at Work 
What happens when Big Data meets human resources? The emerging practice of "people analytics" is already transforming how employers hire, fire, and promote. 
... By the end of World War II, however, American corporations were facing severe talent shortages. Their senior executives were growing old, and a dearth of hiring from the Depression through the war had resulted in a shortfall of able, well-trained managers. Finding people who had the potential to rise quickly through the ranks became an overriding preoccupation of American businesses. They began to devise a formal hiring-and-management system based in part on new studies of human behavior, and in part on military techniques developed during both world wars, when huge mobilization efforts and mass casualties created the need to get the right people into the right roles as efficiently as possible. By the 1950s, it was not unusual for companies to spend days with young applicants for professional jobs, conducting a battery of tests, all with an eye toward corner-office potential. “P&G picks its executive crop right out of college,” BusinessWeek noted in 1950, in the unmistakable patter of an age besotted with technocratic possibility. IQ tests, math tests, vocabulary tests, professional-aptitude tests, vocational-interest questionnaires, Rorschach tests, a host of other personality assessments, and even medical exams (who, after all, would want to hire a man who might die before the company’s investment in him was fully realized?)—all were used regularly by large companies in their quest to make the right hire. 

Hilariously elaborate testing suites were fashionable in the immediate postwar era. Robert Heinlein's 1948 sci-fi juvenile Space Cadet begins with the hero undergoing a couple of days of extremely expensive testing to try to get into the Space Academy (rooms turn upside down, ringers try to provoke test-takers into fistfights, etc.). The actual astronaut applicant testing a decade later was even more convoluted than Heinlein had imagined.
The process didn’t end when somebody started work, either. In his classic 1956 cultural critique, The Organization Man, the business journalist William Whyte reported that about a quarter of the country’s corporations were using similar tests to evaluate managers and junior executives, usually to assess whether they were ready for bigger roles. “Should Jones be promoted or put on the shelf?” he wrote. “Once, the man’s superiors would have had to thresh this out among themselves; now they can check with psychologists to see what the tests say.” 
Remarkably, this regime, so widespread in corporate America at mid-century, had almost disappeared by 1990. “I think an HR person from the late 1970s would be stunned to see how casually companies hire now,” Peter Cappelli told me—the days of testing replaced by a handful of ad hoc interviews, with the questions dreamed up on the fly. Many factors explain the change, he said, and then he ticked off a number of them: Increased job-switching has made it less important and less economical for companies to test so thoroughly. A heightened focus on short-term financial results has led to deep cuts in corporate functions that bear fruit only in the long term. The Civil Rights Act of 1964, which exposed companies to legal liability for discriminatory hiring practices, has made HR departments wary of any broadly applied and clearly scored test that might later be shown to be systematically biased. Instead, companies came to favor the more informal qualitative hiring practices that are still largely in place today. 
But companies abandoned their hard-edged practices for another important reason: many of their methods of evaluation turned out not to be very scientific. 
Some were based on untested psychological theories. Others were originally designed to assess mental illness, and revealed nothing more than where subjects fell on a “normal” distribution of responses—which in some cases had been determined by testing a relatively small, unrepresentative group of people, such as college freshmen. When William Whyte administered a battery of tests to a group of corporate presidents, he found that not one of them scored in the “acceptable” range for hiring. Such assessments, he concluded, measured not potential but simply conformity. Some of them were highly intrusive, too, asking questions about personal habits, for instance, or parental affection. 
Unsurprisingly, subjects didn’t like being so impersonally poked and prodded (sometimes literally). 

Tom Wolfe's The Right Stuff has a very funny chapter about how around 1959 researchers went nuts with joy trying out any test they could think of on the initial astronaut applicants. The doctors were used to testing either sick people or average people, but here were hundreds of above-average test pilots and fighter aces willing to put up with anything to go into outer space. A radioactive enema test? Sure!

The federal government's 1960 Project Talent exam, a post-Sputnik study of 440,000 high school students, contained two dozen subtests and took two days to administer.

One discovery from all these massive exercises in social science was that you didn't actually need all these different kinds of tests. Some tests were just fashionable Freudian quackery. But lots of other tests all came up with reasonable but highly correlated results. Standard IQ-type tests would carry most of the load.

For example, the military expanded its hiring test from the four-part IQ-like AFQT to the ten-part ASVAB, but it continues to use the AFQT subset to eliminate applicants. The other six parts of the ASVAB superset are then used for placement: e.g., if you score well on the vehicle repair knowledge subtest you might find yourself fixing trucks. But even if you ace the auto repair subtest, you have to make the grade on the IQ-like AFQT core to be allowed to enlist.

I spent a couple of hours on the phone nine years ago with the retired head psychometrician of one of the major wings of the armed forces and he told me that the biggest discovery of his decades on the job was that g dominated practically anything else you could test for.

This finding actually took a lot of the fun out of psychometrics. You'd dream up some seemingly brilliant test to find the perfect fighter jock or cook or file clerk, but when you'd get done extracting the general factor of intelligence from the results, you'd find that all the customization for the job you'd done hadn't added much predictive value over that of the heavily g-loaded AFQT scores. It makes sense to test for how much applicants already know about flying planes or fixing engines because the military can save time on training and how much they've already learned likely says something about their motivation to learn more. But testing for specific potential hasn't worked out the way Heinlein expected. Instead, testing for g works, and other tests for potential haven't proven terribly helpful.
For all these reasons and more, the idea that hiring was a science fell out of favor.

Which mostly shows how fad driven corporate America is. Serious institutions like the military (AFQT) and Procter & Gamble still use IQ-type tests in hiring. Procter & Gamble provides a sample of its venerable Reasoning Test here. P&G paid a lot of money to validate that its Reasoning Test was correlated with on-the-job performance to get the EEOC off its back.

In contrast, the federal government developed a superb test battery in the 1970s for federal civil service hiring, the outgoing Carter Administration junked it in January 1981 because of disparate impact in the Luevano case. The Carter Administration promised that Real Soon Now they would replace PACE with a test that was equally valid at hiring competent government bureaucrats, but upon which blacks and Hispanics didn't score worse. That was 32 years ago.

Similarly, at the moderate-sized marketing research firm where I worked, initially they just gave Dr. Gerry Eskin's Advanced Quantitative Methods in Marketing Research 302 final exam from the U. of Iowa to each MBA who walked in the door looking for a job. It did a pretty good job at hiring good people. Eventually the company grew large enough that the EEOC noticed the hiring exam. Instead of ponying up the money to validate Eskin's exam, though, we just junked it and winged it after that, with less satisfactory results.

The turn against the postwar objective P&G-style testing hasn't made America more fair. Peck notes:
Perhaps the most widespread bias in hiring today cannot even be detected with the eye. In a recent survey of some 500 hiring managers, undertaken by the Corporate Executive Board, a research firm, 74 percent reported that their most recent hire had a personality “similar to mine.” Lauren Rivera, a sociologist at Northwestern, spent parts of the three years from 2006 to 2008 interviewing professionals from elite investment banks, consultancies, and law firms about how they recruited, interviewed, and evaluated candidates, and concluded that among the most important factors driving their hiring recommendations were—wait for it—shared leisure interests. “The best way I could describe it,” one attorney told her, “is like if you were going on a date. You kind of know when there’s a match.” Asked to choose the most-promising candidates from a sheaf of fake résumés Rivera had prepared, a manager at one particularly buttoned-down investment bank told her, “I’d have to pick Blake and Sarah. With his lacrosse and her squash, they’d really get along [with the people] on the trading floor.” Lacking “reliable predictors of future performance,” Rivera writes, “assessors purposefully used their own experiences as models of merit.” Former college athletes “typically prized participation in varsity sports above all other types of involvement.” People who’d majored in engineering gave engineers a leg up, believing they were better prepared.

Funny how that works.

It's not a coincidence that when I read up on the history of psychometrics in the U.S. in the mid-20th Century, an awful lot of breakthroughs took place at land grant colleges rather than at Harvard and Yale. People in places like Iowa City thought better objective testing was going to be better for people in Iowa. And they were largely right. Of course, we now know -- instinctively! -- that these midwestern methodologies were a giant conspiracy by the white male power structure. So today we fight the power by just hiring Harvard and Yale grads.
But now it’s coming back, thanks to new technologies and methods of analysis that are cheaper, faster, and much-wider-ranging than what we had before. For better or worse, a new era of technocratic possibility has begun. 
Consider Knack, a tiny start-up based in Silicon Valley. Knack makes app-based video games, among them Dungeon Scrawl, a quest game requiring the player to navigate a maze and solve puzzles, and Wasabi Waiter, which involves delivering the right sushi to the right customer at an increasingly crowded happy hour. These games aren’t just for play: they’ve been designed by a team of neuroscientists, psychologists, and data scientists to suss out human potential. 
Play one of them for just 20 minutes, says Guy Halfteck, Knack’s founder, and you’ll generate several megabytes of data, exponentially more than what’s collected by the SAT or a personality test.

A lot of what Silicon Valley does these days is wheel re-invention. Nobody remembers the past because so much effort has been invested in distorting memories to validate current power arrangements, so a lot of things that are sold as technological breakthroughs never before possible are really just ways to get around government regulations that were imposed because they seemed like a good idea at the time. 

For example, there are now a lot of Ride Sharing companies that you can hire via your smartphone to come pick you up and drive you somewhere. In other words, they are taxicab companies, but because they are High Tech and all that, they feel entitled to ignore all the expensive rules the government has piled on taxicab firms about how they have to take people in wheelchairs to South-Central. 

Here's a guess: much of what these Silicon Valley startups measure that's actually useful is good old IQ. And it will have the same disparate impact problems as everything else did.
... Because the algorithmic assessment of workers’ potential is so new, not much hard data yet exist demonstrating its effectiveness. 

Actually, the military has been measuring job performance versus test scores for 60 years. Much of the results are available online, typically in Rand Corp. documents.  But, who is interested in that?
There are some data that Evolv simply won’t use, out of a concern that the information might lead to systematic bias against whole classes of people. The distance an employee lives from work, for instance, is never factored into the score given each applicant, although it is reported to some clients. That’s because different neighborhoods and towns can have different racial profiles, which means that scoring distance from work could violate equal-employment-opportunity standards. Marital status? Motherhood? Church membership? “Stuff like that,” Meyerle said, “we just don’t touch”—at least not in the U.S., where the legal environment is strict. Meyerle told me that Evolv has looked into these sorts of factors in its work for clients abroad, and that some of them produce “startling results.” Citing client confidentiality, he wouldn’t say more.

That's what my marketing models professor at UCLA B-school said in 1982: on the hiring and insurance sides of the business, it's easy to come up with highly effective models of who you want and who you don't want if you are allowed to use race. But you aren't allowed to, so that's where the challenge is.

A long time ago, Americans thought that one of America's advantages was that we were pretty good at building and maintaining giant organizations like Procter & Gamble that just keep going decade after decade. Motley Fools says:
Of all the Dow Jones Industrial Average components, Procter & Gamble (NYSE: PG) might stand out as being one of the most boring ...

But now we know that Americans are actually terrible at institutional maintenance and the only thing we are good at is creating tiny Silicon Valley start-ups with whimsical names. Thus, these little job applicant testing companies are the only hope big firms have of ever hiring anybody any good because it's impossible to come up with an effective system like P&G has. (Sarcasm alert.)

61 comments:

Anonymous said...

Lacking “reliable predictors of future performance,” Rivera writes, “assessors purposefully used their own experiences as models of merit.”

For investment banking and management consulting recruiting at colleges, the first round of interviews are called the "culture" or "fit" interviews i.e. they're designed to see how well you'd fit in with the people at the company, how like-minded you are, etc.

Steve Sailer said...

For Wall Street, a lot of it is how money hungry you are. They don't want people who aren't extremely avid for money around as examples.

Anonymous said...

By the 1950s, it was not unusual for companies to spend days with young applicants for professional jobs, conducting a battery of tests, all with an eye toward corner-office potential. “P&G picks its executive crop right out of college,” BusinessWeek noted in 1950

Like, who would want to emulate P&G. They are only #28 on the Fortune 500.

Anonymous said...


any data on what the others such as the Brits, Dutch do --are IQ tests illegal over there too?

what about our role model Serious Nation (Israel)--how do they hire?

Anonymous said...

For investment banking and management consulting recruiting at colleges, the first round of interviews are called the "culture" or "fit" interviews i.e. they're designed to see how well you'd fit in with the people at the company, how like-minded you are, etc.

Not sure if this is commonly known, but virtually ALL hires at the top IB's and consulting firms had an inside track. They knew someone who vouched for them, usually a first or second year analyst they knew in college or prep school. This gets them an interview.

This benefits the company in several ways. It helps weed out the riff raff and challenges young analysts/consultants to make smart decisions on whom they vouch for.

Needless to say, if someone you vouch for doesn't pan out through the interview process, you look like an idiot.

agnostic said...

I'm starting to think the whole "disparate impact" thing is a smokescreen / rationalization to do away with merit-based hiring, in an era of greater status striving.

For example, my impression is that other countries without many NAMs share our disdain for objective testing, etc.

During the Great Compression of roughly 1920 to 1970, ruthlessly jockeying for status was taboo. That belonged to the Gilded Age with its robber barons, courtesans, and other professional strivers. Now you were supposed to be more content with what you had, and not step on someone else's skull just to so you could own a second car.

Perhaps the rise of meritocratic testing was a way the elites found of dampening the internecine status-striving that newly blew the country up in the wake of World War I. "Quit your complaining -- the test says you belong in this range, and that's where you go. Don't bother trying to act like a courtier."

Objective tests have a natural ceiling, where no extra amount of resume-padding, networking, and butt-kissing will alter your destiny. It contains elite status jockeying.

Once that started to unravel during the late '60s for elites, and a bit later for everyone else, then meritocratic testing had to go. Why? Not because we want hiring to be open-ended, allowing an infinite degree of resume-padding, but... uh, because it's racist against blacks!

The comments in the article support that -- about how companies don't want to invest in testing out potential hires, when they're so footloose about where they work, the scientific testing wouldn't pay off. They've always got their eyes peeled for the next job, always on the move to find an angle on reaching one rung higher on the status ladder. Not content with a decent job at a good company.

Here's a reminder of what the Great Compression business culture was like at the executive level, from Fortune magazine in 1955:

http://features.blogs.fortune.cnn.com/2012/05/06/classic-top-500-executives/

You get a good feel for mid-century cocooning and isolation, but you also can't help but notice how self-effacing and reining-it-in the elites were compared to the robber barons or our neo-robber barons today.

Anonymous said...

http://www.amren.com/news/2013/11/chinese-women-flock-to-the-u-s-to-give-birth/

My head hurts.

Anonymous said...

Whenever I go out in the world, I take a deep breath, clench my cheeks and try to empty my mind of ugly thoughts. I just assume I'm being filmed at all times now.

I've got nothing to hide, so I've got nothing to worry about.

A Working Class American said...

72 on the GCT for the Navy in 1975...thass top one percent, boys!

as Gordo Cooper would say, "read it and weep!"

Got me into the navy nuclear reactor operator program...I crushed it, natch.....

Anonymous said...

IQ tests for recruitment purposes are definitely NOT illegal in the UK.
In fact, fairly tough tests are routinely used to sift applicants in comparatively low-level jobs such as working for the national phone company, BT at entry level technical jobs.

What is curious about the UK though is that, apparently, senior cabinet ministers in the government need not have any academic qualifications whatsoever. Case in point is one Alan Johnson, a former Home Secretary in the Blair/Brown administration. He did not have a single school leaving exam to his name, no CSE no 'O' level, no school cert. Yet he held, basically, the highest admin. position in the land. The irony is that no Briton could ever dream of getting the lowliest filing clerk postion in the UK cvil service unless he or more likely she had a whole clutch of 'O' level certificates. This seems rather unfair.

freudwasrightaboutafewthings said...

Americans are terrible at institutional maintenance? Really? P&G stock is going strong....

In any case I'd be interested to hear from Israeli lurkers, if there still are any, how the famed psychometric testing of the IDF works. My understanding is that all recruits get rigorously tested and end up with a "profile", which determines their future in the services.

But I've also heard that who gets chosen to be in the elite combat units is pretty much entirely up to junior grade lieutenants. He chooses his friends and friends of friends, and so on. That's how they were able to survive integrating homosexuals into the IDF. They don't get picked to be in elite combat units.

But I don't know if that's true or just talk.

dearieme said...

The first time I did admission interviews at Cambridge, I and another chap interviewed a series of youngsters. It turned out that he knew what he wanted after the essentials were met (namely that candidates had to be very bright, and enthusiastic about science).

(i) People from State comprehensive schools, not State grammar schools nor private schools, (ii) people interested in music but not sports, and (iii) people who didn't read the Daily Telegraph.

i.e. they had to be much like him.

Still, one great merit of the Cambridge system is that you can hope that the loopy prejudices of the admissions tutors in one college will be cancelled by those of the tutors in some other college. I understand that the advantages of such diversity aren't part of the life of American universities.

Anonymous said...

In the early 1950s my mother walked into the personnel department of a Wall Street research company. They handed her the Wonderlich test and when she missed only one question they hired her on the spot for a position as a junior executive. Those were the days. No LinkedIn with 500+ connections or inside track necessary.

Jill said...

The hiring of Sergey Aleynikov, a quant, by Goldman Sachs... who would later have him arrested and incarcerated...

"... And then Wall Street called. Goldman Sachs put Serge through a series of telephone interviews, then brought him in for a long day of face-to-face interviews. These he found extremely tense, even a bit weird. “I was not used to seeing people put so much energy into evaluating other people,” he said. One after another, a dozen Goldman employees tried to stump him with brainteasers, computer puzzles, math problems, and even some light physics. It must have become clear to Goldman (as it was to Serge) that he knew more about most of the things he was being asked than did his interviewers. At the end of the first day, Goldman invited him back for a second day. He went home and thought it over: he wasn’t all that sure he wanted to work at Goldman Sachs. “But the next morning I had a competitive feeling,” he says. “I should conclude it and try to pass it because it’s a big challenge.”

... He returned for another round of Goldman’s grilling, which ended in the office of one of the high-frequency traders, another Russian, named Alexander Davidovich. A managing director, he had just two final questions for Serge, both designed to test his ability to solve problems.

The first: Is 3,599 a prime number?

Serge quickly saw there was something strange about 3,599: it was very close to 3,600. He jotted down the following equations: 3599 = (3600 – 1) = (602 – 12) = (60 – 1) (60 + 1) = 59 times 61. Not a prime number.

The problem wasn’t that difficult, but, as he put it, “it was harder to solve the problem when you are anticipated to solve it quickly.” It might have taken him as long as two minutes to finish. The second question the Goldman managing director asked him was more involved—and involving. He described for Serge a room, a rectangular box, and gave him its three dimensions. “He says there is a spider on the floor and gives me its coordinates. There is also a fly on the ceiling, and he gives me its coordinates as well. Then he asked the question: Calculate the shortest distance the spider can take to reach the fly.” The spider can’t fly or swing; it can only walk on surfaces. The shortest path between two points was a straight line, and so, Serge figured, it was a matter of unfolding the box, turning a three-dimensional object into a one-dimensional surface, then using the Pythagorean theorem to calculate the distances. It took him several minutes to work it all out; when he was done, Davidovich offered him a job at Goldman Sachs. His starting salary plus bonus came to $270,000."

http://www.vanityfair.com/business/2013/09/michael-lewis-goldman-sachs-programmer

elvisd said...

P and G is at a 20 year high. Being boring rocks.

Anonymous said...

Meanwhile in the real world, Academic discovers that you can't make a lot of money educating dumb people

Big Nick Digger said...

That's what my marketing models professor at UCLA B-school said in 1982: on the hiring and insurance sides of the business, it's easy to come up with highly effective models of who you want and who you don't want if you are allowed to use race. But you aren't allowed to, so that's where the challenge is.

Yet we have "American" companies run by Indians that are completely untouched by EEOC regulations. They hire Third World programmer/PowerPoint/Excel dudes exclusively and are never even investigated by the EEOC.

Why? How?

They can manufacture job requirements that exclude everyone other than the one or two guys form Bangalore that they want to hire and no one in the EEOC even notices.

What is the legal/racial juju they use?

Any lawyers out there?

Mark said...

I entered the federal government in 1981 and may have been one of the last people to take a civil service exam. I've talked to people who came in after me and none of them ever took one. In recent years they have kind of replaced it by requiring college degrees for more and more jobs. A lot of management jobs where I work that used to be filled by someone with years of experience are now filled with 25 year olds with no experience but they've got that degree. The old timers are still the ones everyone goes to when they have a question, though, because the 25 years olds don't know as much about the actual work we are doing. I just heard they are even asking for college degrees for some low level GS-5 jobs that really don't require more than simple math and reading skills. The degree is just being used now as a substitute IQ test except that it's a very expensive four year long IQ test.

NOTA said...

My guess is that one reason why old knowledge is often forgotten and reinvented is because it tends to be written in academic papers that get rewarded for impressive use of jargon and reference to current theories, rather than for clarity. That plus the massive oveproduction of low-content papers caused by publish-or-perish makes acquiring that old knowledge, as an outsider to the field, pretty time-consuming.

biff said...

Jerry Pournelle thinks one of the best astronaut tests was to sit the applicant with his feet in a jug of icewater, add more ice, clock how long he puts up with you. The Germans before WWII had recruits lift weights with an electric current running through the bar, and instructors watching your facial expressions. Raw motivation testing probably backstops IQ.

Anonymous said...

It would be nice if corporate boards would use better analytics and testing to select executives and their compensation. Instead our corporate governance rules basically allow CEOs to choose the boards that theoretically supervise them, with predictable results. Call it reverse noblesse oblige.

That's why our golden parachute CEOs have order of magnitude pay differences with equivalently competitive companies in Europe and Japan, like the heads of Honda and Toyota who get a little over a million a year. (If the elite believed in free trade, why couldn't we just get cheaper executives from overseas?). And for all the talk of advanced methods to determine value added for teachers, it isn't supposed to be used on CEOs like the head of ExxonMobil who got a big windfall from his board after profits jumped thanks to globally rising oil prices.

It's hard to be enthusiastic about measurement and accountability when there's none at the top. Change the corporate governance rules so that corporate boards have an incentive to police CEO pay like in Europe or Japan (instead of pocketing a few hundered grand to attend 4 meetings a year as yes men) and then we'll talk.

Anonymous said...

Off topic, but the Floyd Norris NYT column was pretty frightening on how big finance, racial activists, Obama, and Congress are again colluding so that zero down mortgages can be included in government subsidized mortgage backed securities.

JeremiahJohnbalaya said...

But now we know that Americans are actually terrible at institutional maintenance and the only thing we are good at is creating tiny Silicon Valley start-ups with whimsical names. Thus, these little job applicant testing companies are the only hope big firms have of ever hiring anybody any good because it's impossible to come up with an effective system like P&G has.

Even if they read the entire article closely, I worry that his level of sarcasm is going to go over the head of most people. I'll have to clarify to anyone to whom I refer this otherwise excellent post.

JeremiahJohnbalaya said...

Americans are terrible at institutional maintenance? Really? P&G stock is going strong...

See? Even a local commenter missed it.

... at least I think Steve was being sarcastic in his concluding paragraph...

Anonymous said...

Is Procter and Gamble the only big old Fortune 500 company that has bothered to push hard for objective hiring tests in the the face of Uncle Sam's strong arming? Are there any others? IBM, DuPont, Dow, GE ???

Anonymous said...

http://www.joelkotkin.com/content/00834-los-angeles-will-city-future-make-it-there?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+JoelKotkin+%28Joel+Kotkin%29

"Innovation in music, fashion and food continue at the grassroots level, with much of the inspiration coming from the city’s increasingly racially diverse mestizo culture."

rob said...

A Working Class American said...

72 on the GCT for the Navy in 1975...thass top one percent, boys!

as Gordo Cooper would say, "read it and weep!"

Got me into the navy nuclear reactor operator program...I crushed it, natch.....


Really, Weapon Penis Female? I didn't know the Navy accepted women into the sub service. Not to mention that one would think that anyone as pretty as Colt Python Femme would have found a field with more public exposure. Why waste such great beauty.

Lying then? Yup. Lying now? Yup

Go somewhere where you haven't poisoned the well already. Shee-it, at least tell us whether you feel cleaner now that you aren't using a stolen foto.

kthnksbye

Anonymous said...

The PG test looks a lot like GMAT.

Anonymous said...

But now we know that Americans are actually terrible at institutional maintenance and the only thing we are good at is creating tiny Silicon Valley start-ups with whimsical names.

And always be sure to remember that Americans are:

terrible at doing anything involving manual labor (so we _have_ to import immigrant hordes)

terrible at doing anything that requires thinking too hard (so we _have_ to import hordes of H1B*&^%$immigrant engineers)

terrible at managing any business (so we _have_ to import hordes of immigrant elites, bonus points if they despise us)

terrible, not too put to fine a point on it, in looking after their own interests (how absolutely convenient!)


terribly entangled in a legal system that makes sure they can do little of substance about it.

Anonymous said...

"Thus, these little job applicant testing companies are the only hope big firms have of ever hiring anybody any good because it's impossible to come up with an effective system like P&G has."

And that's why the way it works these days in silly-con valley is that your startup with a product that actually sort of works gets snapped-up by the biggies.

Of course, the institutional biggy-ness, such as that which causes this whole game to be played in the first place, often means that the key techies of the startup only stay their required one or two years and then bail (if they don't bail immediately). But the biggy doesn't really care, they've got more management blood competing to the bottom. Why, if they need some new technology, they'll just buy some starving startup that has it!

This pipeline can make us, err, I mean the stockholders, rich forever! All we have to do is play the government's game, see? So easy.

This has all been a very expensive proposition for the US, maybe for the world. Flimflam and mirrors.

Anonymous said...

Question for iSteve Readers:

Are there any other *good* conservative/right blogs than iSteve out there? All the other ones I've seen are just... stupid. And I appreciate having my left-wing ideas challenged. The only others I'd mention are TakiMag (sometimes). How about right-oriented economics blogs?

pat said...

Steve is right about all this of course but maybe he doesn't appreciate society's potential for change.

The destruction of IQ or any test 'g' loaded was part of the great crusade against segregation. Most liberals and all blacks looked upon any practice or policy that separated the races as prima facie evil.

That may change.

As far as I can figure it there is no solution to 'the knockout game' except separation or segregation. Please someone tell me if I'm wrong.

Since the attacks are unprovoked and random, normal defensive measures won't work. Concealed carry won't work although perhaps openly carrying a pistol on your hip might have some deterrent effect. But of course if a significant fraction of the public openly carried guns the casualty rate might get out of control. Whites might shoot blacks for just getting within punching distance.

The only acceptable solution would seem to be some kind of mandatory separation of the races. You could solve this and a host of other racial problems with just a bucket of paint.

Just paint a line on the street that blacks can't cross. Merchants would bid up the real estate prices for store fronts inside such a perimeter. Landlords would want to build new units there and customers and tenants would certainly flock.

You could revive Detroit with that paint bucket.

Whites are already seeking enclaves where blacks can't follow. The 'bucket of paint' solution just recognizes the reality of the 'gated community' idea.

We can't see the future so we can't guess if segregation in another form will return. But it is so simple and cheap it must surly be considered. There is no real practical objection to new segregation, only old fashion attitudes and a lot of out-of-date laws.

Our racial integration policies evolved since the fifties are costing us trillions. They are destroying or cities and destroying our freedom of action. Just give the existing white enclaves legal sanction and some large proportion of our social problems evaporate overnight.

I live in a white neighborhood. Last week I saw on the web that the average house around here was worth $900k. Trust me its not the architecture. In Oakland the solid white enclaves are like gold. If we had legal sanction for excluding blacks we would all be millionaires. Oakland is a wonderful place to live except for the prospect of the blacks coming up the hill.

The same logic holds everywhere. The only argument against it is that blacks might fall into even greater poverty and depravity. But some areas might bloom like Harlem in the thirties. In any case it is clear that racial integration is harmful and very bad for business. It took a century or two for the public to embrace integration. The turnaround may take that long too.

Albertosaurus

Mr. Anon said...

"Anonymous said...

Question for iSteve Readers:

Are there any other *good* conservative/right blogs than iSteve out there? All the other ones I've seen are just... stupid. And I appreciate having my left-wing ideas challenged. The only others I'd mention are TakiMag (sometimes). How about right-oriented economics blogs?"

Dennis Mangan's website is quite good:

http://mangans.blogspot.com/

Zerohedge is also a good one:

http://www.zerohedge.com/

As is John Derbyshire's site:

http://www.johnderbyshire.com/

An excellent site on 2nd amendment issues is this one:

http://gunwatch.blogspot.com/

And a great compendium of police abuse is to be found here:

http://freedominourtime.blogspot.com/

Also, I would recommend Lawrence Auster's site:

http://www.amnation.com/vfr/

Mr. Auster died earlier this year, but the archives of his blog remain online. He was the author of "The Path to National Suicide", one of the early and influential works warning against the dangers of immigration and multiculturalism.

Harry Baldwin said...

Albertosaurus said . . . Since the attacks are unprovoked and random, normal defensive measures won't work.

This is largely true. If someone robs you at knifepoint or gunpoint, he expects you to hand over your wallet. It's an interaction, and because he expects compliance you may have time to draw a weapon and fire. This does not work so well with the Knockout Game. If you pull a weapon on a group of black teens who haven't threatened you, they can report you to the police and you will be in serious trouble. If you shoot a teen before he punches you just because you are sure he is about to, you may have a hard time with your self-defense claim, Remember, the teens accompanying him are now witnesses who will describe the situation in a much different way than you will. You may regard these teens as scum but in the eyes of the law their testimony carries just as much weight as yours does. Your best chance at avoiding prosecution is if you shoot your assailant after he has already hit you. (This is what saved Zimmerman.) But what if you're hit so hard you can no longer function? Or what if your assailant hits you once and then runs away, as is so often the case? There again, if you shoot someone who is running away you are no longer in fear for your life and can't plead self-defense.

I say this as someone who carries a gun and often pepper spray, but who doesn't want to go to jail.

Anonymous said...

"Are there any other *good* conservative/right blogs than iSteve out there?"

Soiled Sinema has a very twisted but interesting take on culture from the Right.

http://www.soiledsinema.com/?zx=b4ac18853b4bdf57

https://www.facebook.com/soiledsinema

Anonymous said...

"Innovation in music, fashion and food continue at the grassroots level, with much of the inspiration coming from the city’s increasingly racially diverse mestizo culture."

Won't be long before everyone dresses like Guillermo.

Cuaron did something remarkable with GRAVITY but doesn't look quite mestizo-like.

Harry Baldwin said...

Beyond the late Lawrence Auster, Steve Sailer, and John Derbywhire, I've found the conservative blogosphere pretty uninspiring. I read Ann Althouse's blog; she's only mildly conservative but occasionally hits a home run.

Anonymous said...

"Are there any other *good* conservative/right blogs than iSteve out there?"


SBPDL or "stuff black people don't like". It offers excellent update on what's wrong with black America.


Anonymous said...

http://www.joelkotkin.com/content/00835-revolt-against-urban-gentry?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+JoelKotkin+%28Joel+Kotkin%29

'urban gentry'. I like it.

Anonymous said...

"Couched in progressive rhetoric, the gentry urbanists embrace an essentially neo-feudalist view that society is divided between “the creative class” and the rest of us. Liberal analyst Thomas Frank suggests that Florida’s “creative class” is numerically small, unrepresentative and self—referential; he describes them as “members of the professional-managerial class—each of whom harbors a powerful suspicion that he or she is pretty brilliant as well. The revolt against this mentality surfaced first in New York perhaps because the gaps there are so extreme. Wall Streeters partied under Bloomberg, but not everyone fared so well. The once proudly egalitarian city has become the most unequal place in the country, worse even than the most racially divided, backward regions of the southeast. In New York, the top 1 percent earn roughly twice as much of the local GDP than is earned in the rest of country. The middle class in the city is rapidly becoming vestigial; according to Brookings its share of the city’s population has fallen from 25 percent in 1970s to barely sixteen percent today."

But the 'progressive' masses are partly to blame, even if they got suckered by the elites. The whole homo thing was bound to favor the elites than the masses. I mean what kind of demographics do homos cater to? What are their social aspirations and tastes?

While all these economic problems were brewing in cities--and in small towns with shut factories--, the main political struggle among 'progressives' in the last 10 yrs was 'gay marriage' and other such nonsense.

Ass politics replaced class politics. Progressivism became pro-grab-ass-ism. So, while homo elites won the Ass Struggle, everyone else lost the class struggle.

But I'm sure Kotkin has a solution for NY. What it needs is lots of mestizos who will offer leadership roles in coming up with 'vibrant' new fashions and innovations... such as maybe a virtual reality sombrero and maybe sushi taco?

Whiskey said...

Quite a lot of companies have folded, that were Fortune 500: Eastern Airlines, Pan Am, DEC, Sun Microsystems, to name a few. Kodak and Xerox will soon join them I think. NCR, Borders, Circuit City, also come to mind. If you've been following on Slashdot the stuff with Code.org, where the Gates Foundation and Zuckerberg want seven years of student data in return for cash assistance to schools, you'd figure that Gates and Zuckerberg are not too sure about Microsoft and facebook either.

A lot companies are born, live, and die fairly rapidly in the US compared to Japan and Europe. Neither of which would have allowed Eastern, or Borders, or Kodak, or DEC, or Sun to go belly up.

Pat / Albertosaurus -- No, we are stuck with the religion of elites, who in post-Christian fashion worship the redeemers of original (White) racial sin. Whites will simply have to retreat to cyberspace to avoid the Knockout Game, its not going to stop. Certainly Bill de Blasio is not going to allow imprisonment of "youths" who look like his son. Meanwhile rest assured neither Bill Gates nor Mark Zuckerberg will ever get sucker punched! Doesn't that make you feel all warm inside?

There is no solution except continued White flight, high personal mobility, and cyberspace internet usage. Elites will not have it any other way, and eventually all cities will become Third World Mega City One / Judge Dredd hellholes, with a few ultra rich elites living in luxury. Vulnerable as hell of course, NYC is incredibly fragile to power outages, sewage breakdowns, water interruptions the way the suburbs being more distributed are not.

I wish it wasn't this way, but the elites are the elites. Stubborn and filled with devout religious belief.

Mark Plus said...

Back in 1951, H. Beam Piper published a science fiction story titled "Day of the Moron," about the use of IQ testing to week out men too stupid to work at a nuclear power plant. Turns out the IQ test validated the intuitions of the plant's chief engineer.

Anonymous said...

For any x, (x+1)(x-1) = x squared minus one. So 899 is not a prime either (29 times 31) and neither is 8099 (89 times 91). Just realized that ... Nerd joy!

David said...

"The ass war has replaced the class war." Gold, sir

Anonymous said...

It's remarkable how much damage anti-discrimination laws, and the disparate impact doctrine in particular, have done to society.

It's unfortunate that private individuals and businesses are micromanaged in their personal and commercial decisions. It's utterly insane that those decisions are forced to be made in conformity with patently false assumptions about the world.

What's sad is that it's a political non-issue. When was the last time anybody challenged it? Anything draped in the Civil Rights mantle is sacrosanct and inviolable.

The worst part of being on the dissident right is having important things to say and knowing that nobody important will listen. I don't know how Steve does it for a living.

Anonymous said...

... which means that scoring ...could violate equal-employment-opportunity standards. ... “we just don’t touch”—at least not in the U.S., where the legal environment is strict.

Yup, here's pretty much your problem. What do you do when the legal system has patently and manifestly tried and failed, or at least fallen a good way short? Retreat into fantasy only works so long.

Anonymous said...

Meyerle told me that Evolv has looked into these sorts of factors in its work for clients abroad, and that some of them produce “startling results.”

I.e., these factors are interesting and potentially important, but we're still not allowed to notice or talk about them in the land of the free and the home of the brave.

As Steve said a while back, the PC left is literally pro-ignorance. You want to know what those "startling results" are? And you want to be able to use that knowledge? What are you, some kind of fascist?

Solus said...

The original name for "Psychometric Testing" is "The Knockout Game".

Here are some though patterns,

1. West Logical -> Straight LInes.
2. East Circular.
3. Men: Connected Lines.
4. Women: Maze.

Best pattern is : Star[Like a spoke model]
Or a Cycle Wheel, Or Pentagon/Star.

Business[Gray]
Engineering: Black/White [ A lot of is Gray made Black/White]

World is mostly Gray, We wish it to see in Black/White, Mostly Analog/Not Digital.

Some caveats about the West.

1. Beleive that STEM can do aything, it can do most things, but not all things.
2. Nature must be conquerored.[Coming from a Harsh place I can understand]
3. STEM is easier than Weather, Envirnoment, Biology/Chemistry, Society/Culture. because its mostly Black/White.

Greatest insights one can get is about Nature.

Greatest power is in the "The Power of "The Being"".

Anonymous said...

Is Procter and Gamble the only big old Fortune 500 company that has bothered to push hard for objective hiring tests in the the face of Uncle Sam's strong arming?

Norfolk Southern gave me a battery of tests when they interviewed me for consideration for some management trainee jobs in 2001.

Anonymous said...

uestion for iSteve Readers: Are there any other *good* conservative/right blogs than iSteve out there?


Indeed. And I'd like to broaden the question: is there anything like iSteve in French?

Anonymous said...

SBPDL is a wall-to-wall embarrassment. It's all blind subliterate rage. Boring too.

freudwasrightaboutafewthings said...

Oh sorry, I missed the sarcasm alert.

Strange that Israel is such an obsession with Sailer readers and no one has said anything about IDF selection procedures here.

Does anybody know how they work? Is it really that efficient or do they operate like every other institution does - by connections?

Anonymous said...

You're really being unfair to Uber and other ride sharing services. Their benefit is that ANYONE can be a taxi. It relies on smartphones and other connected devices. you are anywhere, you put in where you want to go, and it matches you with someone in the area that's going there too (or amenable to it.)

It is "reinventing" in one sense because it's doing something similar to taxis. But it is also taking advantage of a new infrastructure, wchihc is ubiquitous connected devices, which makes it easier and faster to get service.

Cities, which are allegedly formed to help the citizens within, are freaking out because suddenly you don't NEED a taxi, which of course the city licenses with a half million dollar badge; some guy just drives up and takes you where you want to go for a few bucks. Which is obviously better, but they are the enemy now because they threaten the tax revenue scheme.

A Working Class American said...

someone wrote:
The worst part of being on the dissident right is having important things to say and knowing that nobody important will listen. I don't know how Steve does it for a living.
======================

Sailer is not really a dissident in any meaningful sense. Yes, he does not accept the mainstream consensus wisdom. But he is firmly in the rightwing paleocon camp, which is the primary outsider political tribe.

Ray VonMartin said...

In 1997 I went through a series of multiple day-long interviews at MicroSoft in Redmond, WA then at a Ft Lauderdale, FL office for a job in the Patent/Trademark/Copyright Protection office. I strongly sensed that all interviewees were seeking likeability, fit, and to a lesser extent, intelligence. I was expecting an attractive job offer as I was very well-qualified and had clicked well with all except for the last one. He interviewed this Gringo in Spanish.

Anonymous said...

I wish it wasn't this way, but the elites are the elites. Stubborn and filled with devout religious belief.

That tikkun olam cult is pretty bad, isn't it?

Anonymous said...

Norfolk Southern gave me a battery of tests...

I don't know anything about NS except their engines look pretty. But we're talking coal, lots of coal here. Often the only way to move that coal to important places on the east coast that need it and will get mighty cold without it. Big moving dangerous heavy trains.

So they're probably proud to be an EEOC employer, but it's also worth everyone's time if their lawyers go through that 17K lines of law to minimize the day-of-the-moron problem. Here's an interesting little blog extract from a rr blog:

"anyone who recently got hired by norfolk southern please answer me this quesion: how the hell did you pass the tests they administer at the testing seminar? ...give you 3 sets of numbers with absolutely no relation... you have to pick the fourth. ...

...

...Norfolk Southern hiring sessions are orchestrated buffers to prevent litigation and allow freedom of hiring practice. ...

...

...And yet, in spite of all the tests and training, I have still seen trainees terminated because they were putting themselves and fellow employees in danger. ...

....

...working on the railroad is a career... once you step on the job it has got to be "Attention To Duty" if you don't follow this,you put yourself and your co-workers in extreme danger..."

Reg Cæsar said...

...cheaper, faster, and much-wider-ranging than what we had before.


I never heard this redundant "what" until I moved to the Upper Midwest. Is that where Don Peck is from? (Hence his nerve in bringing this up.)

I suspect it bled into English from German.

Mr. Anon said...

"freudwasrightaboutafewthings said...

Strange that Israel is such an obsession with Sailer readers and no one has said anything about IDF selection procedures here."

Israel is not an obsession in the Sailersphere. The obsession that some have for Israel, and thier insistance that we be similarly obsessed, is though. Like you for example, bringing it up when it is not particularly germane.

David said...

>redundant "what"<

You can find a persistent "thier" around too. If I had a nickel for every word I've misspelled, I could hire Malcolm Gladwell's editors to fix up my grammer. Grammar. Dammit!

LetraSet said...

By one estimate, more than 98 percent of the world’s information is now stored digitally...

By another estimate, that's a very stupid thing to say. Don Peck is a dull writer too.