Sunday, March 11, 2018

Maelstrom

Chantal Westby's Maelstrom
Recently there has been a controversy over a tweet from one of IOHK's employees named Darryl McAdams. The tweet commented on her desire for IOHK to recruit more female and transsexual employees. This opinion has raised broader questions about IOHK's hiring practices and overall philosophy on diversity, inclusion and other social topics. 

First, to state very directly, IOHK does not maintain or endorse quotas, bias or an archetypal vision of an ideal contractor or employee. We are- and forever will be- a merit based organization. I have a fiduciary obligation as the leader of my company to always hire the most qualified person for the job regardless of where they come from.  

Second, as the CEO of IOHK, I have never wanted to lead an organization that takes it upon itself to promote a particular political cause such as social justice. It isn't our place or even within our power in a global free market to somehow cure the evils of racism, inequity or other sins perceived or actual.

Third, IOHK- and frankly all adherents to a free society- need to reserve the right to be offensive to others. Rational thought, change and challenges to existing power structures requires the ability to irritate and invoke wrath. I feel that I must elaborate on this point in more detail. 

It wasn't too long ago when concepts such as evolution, a heliocentric view of the universe, free speech and democracy were considered preposterous, revolutionary ideas that were inherently dangerous. Those who held these beliefs were and some are still persecuted within certain circles.

The reality is that all of humanity has a common journey. We are chained by biological shells programmed by a process we have little control over. The genetics we inherited have tremendous influence over our intelligence, appearance, preferences and overall ability to succeed in life. 

Some win the genetic lottery being given profound gifts. Others are cursed to suffer the indignity of physical and mental disorders disorders so severe that they can never enjoy the world as most of us do. 

While fortune toils away, another byproduct of evolution is our cognitive powers. Properly harnessed, they have allowed us to transcend parts of our biological cages to collectively become more than we were meant to be. 

In under 10,000 years, mankind has enjoyed an ascendancy that now moves to the stars and mastery over life. Soon we will be making modifications to our genetic code, adding new senses and merging our minds with computers. Nature's paintbrush is slipping into our hands. 

Another byproduct of the powers of our cognition is that some have become unhappy with the hardware and cultural programming that nature and their respective societies have endowed them with. Some have developed exotic sexual tastes (see furries). Some have embraced lifestyles that are foreign at best to utterly alien and even repulsive at worst. As an extreme example, one could look to the flesh eating Aghori monks in Varanasi.   

As a matter of pragmatism, there is what we are comfortable with and what technological advancements and globalism will force us to accept as we travel this century. For example, millions of people are living digital fantasy lives in MMORPGs like World of Warcraft, more comfortable with their avatars and their virtual connections than their own flesh and blood lives. Hollywood is even kind enough to give us Ready Player One as a visual case study.  

Characters such as Joi in Blade Runner 2049 or Her's Samantha appeal to legions of fans. To this end, capitalism has been summoned to attempt to build a crude simulacrum (see Azuma Hikari [1][2]). Should we be so naive to believe that this trend is just a fad on par with the pet rock? 

When is this Love?

The reality is that we are using our cognition to change ourselves and redefine relationships. And like prior centuries having to decide whether to embrace other cultures, ideas and religions, we are facing the equivalent of our time, but now armed with computers and profoundly advanced technology.

Thus it's reasonable to assume that mankind is going to explore depths that we haven't seen as a species before. Exploration of this nature cannot be familiar or painless. It's going to break conventional society and force a fundamentally re-evaluation of concepts like relationships, gender and even physical presence. 

Did Snowden attended the conference? What if the robot had a female face?
    
I am the builder of digital infrastructure. The protocols that could eventually yield control over our identity, financial lives, voting rights and property. These protocols cannot belong to a particular culture or group. They also cannot discriminate against the weak and misunderstood. Roads cannot be biased against the creatures who walk them.

Therefore, I've attempted to construct a company that welcomes a diverse group of opinions, beliefs and geographies. We never censor our employees nor ask them to remain silent on the issues that are most important to them. 

As a company, IOHK tries to embrace neutrality. It frankly isn't IOHK's place to choose sides in these debates. It's just our place to ensure they don't consume our business operations and fiduciary obligations.

Part of this creed is also accepting that people associated with my company could say things (myself especially included) that will, at times, deeply offend others. For example, I have repeatedly- at times harshly- expressed my dismay over police brutality within the United States. I have no doubt that this position is hurtful to police officers and their families. 

And this brings me to my final point, I've become gravely concerned over the attempts to de-platform opinions. Those with ideas, beliefs or even objective data contrary to particular agendas are often maligned, ostracized, banned from speaking and even physically threatened or attacked at times. 

These tactics are nothing new. They have been employed by radical movements as a means of silencing critics and rational thought in order to inflict a fanatical philosophy upon society as a whole. In my mind, there is no difference between the communist commissars and the student protesters shouting down the latest conservative speaking at a college campus. Both are trying to prevent us from hearing an opposing argument.

Part of the reason why I so admire blockchain technology is that it protects us against the revision of history, the censorship of inconvenient truths and the power of centralized actors to sculpt our view of reality. Citing fake news or social justice, I can imagine a time when Facebook or YouTube become weaponized tools of a regime to a deploy well crafted propaganda in order to preserve power and social order. 

I would be an utter hypocrite to say such things ought to be stopped, but then ask my employees to censor their opinions. I just ask for respect, dignity and reason. But I cannot ask them to avoid offending others. 

Politically I'm a libertarian; I loath taxes, regulation and socialism, but I will not mock those who collaborate with me for having a difference of opinion. Along the same token, while I at times cannot fully understand particular preferences or lifestyle choices, all I ask for is they are conducted with respect, dignity and empathy for others.

Leading an organization, I can fully appreciate why some CEOs have chosen the easy road of attempting to hide behind empty platitudes and vacuous diversity theater. It's simply better for business and one's partnerships to try to be as least offensive as possible. But that's not reality; it's a Dilbert cartoon. 

The reality of life is that as a condition of our culture, upbringing, religions (or lack thereof) and geography we are going to act in ways that create strife. While the curse of cognition is that we must endure the pain this strife brings, it's gift is that in embracing the maelstrom, we often find a creative destruction of old ideas refreshed with far superior ones.

By avoiding this process, we are losing part of what has made humanity so collectively strong and also draining authenticity from the workplace. IOHK collaborates with some of the brightest minds- Darryl McAdam's included. They simply don't have to be here if they don't want to be. If given a choice, would you rather work somewhere that accepts you or forces you to live in a gilded cage like an amusement park character? 

I didn't sign up to build Disneyland; I signed up to change the world. So that's what we are going to do as we march towards an esoteric, ever more authentic and I hope better future. Forgive us for breaking a few vases along the way.  

[{Axiom}]   


 

  

 

    
   



       

28 comments:

  1. You probably need to make a more public statement and prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that IOHK is not run by a bunch of stupid SJWs, because that's the reputation you're going to have in about 12 hours and the stains will never wash away. As someone holding a large quantity of ADA this is a very disturbing thought, I hope the price doesn't tank overnight.

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    1. As a large holder of ADA myself, I feel exactly the opposite way. In my mind Charles is saying he and his company are not about social justice, in fact they rebel against those notions (that preaching / spreading attitudes and romantic feelings is a bad way to make something really meaningful or world changing), and are working to produce the best product that will allow the most freedom.

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    3. Your personal issues are exactly that, personal. You think you've been damaged, unfairly treated. And now blinded by revenge, anger, your psychosis adjudicates us all, guilty as fantasized.

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    5. "Charles is saying he and his company are not about social justice, in fact they rebel against those notions"

      Meanwhile his staff are saying they don't want to hire males for coding jobs because they are privileged. THAT is what is making it into the news, and THAT is what everyone is going to think about ADA - hiring based on gender and victim cards instead of merit. Charle's post is great, now go and explain that to these guys: http://boards.4chan.org/biz/thread/8262303#p8262638

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    6. I just read Darryl's tweet. Can't believe the reaction to it. relax folks!

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  2. can you visite algeria in the future....

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  4. I think what I would do in this scenario, is to let the lady lead the effort in bringing more female candidates to the table. I would be OK with efforts in my organization, aiming to bring a diverse set of candidates, so long as there is no special treatment at the interview process.

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    1. ... suffering no duress, you'd violate your core principles. Pathetic - Are you still as contemptible if your left hand can't account for your right?

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    2. Sure, just let me know which organization you work for so I can stay the hell away from it. Hiring based on race, gender, or sexual preference instead of merit is STUPID.

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  5. Well written article and thought through arguments. Keep up this honest, selfless view and you are bound to succeed!

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    1. ** "philosophical debate" ? Wrong. Logical Reasoning.

      ** I doubt you could be less aware of the deep hole in which you are standing, shoveled under your nose by your own reductive reasoning.

      **Are you implying Charles is responsible in any way for the, "injustice" ? **Has he in any way damaged Ms. McAdams ?
      **What requisite qualifications are you assuming Charles possesses permitting his lawful treatment of another to improve mental and emotional health. Or is it your position he is responsible for underwriting this treatment?




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    2. Ms. McAdams is a cultural marxist, a postmodernist. They HATE the free market and the free market hates them. If someone like that was in charge of hiring people who work on ADA I would dump the lot immediately.

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  10. I love you, Charles. You are a great teacher with a powerful vision. I believe in you, and I believe in Cardano. That said, are you maybe off-mission here? As CEO, trying to create a global-scale technology, consider how your passionate arguments for a specific viewpoint might divide your customer base. You absolutely have a right to your perspective, but you are at the head of a project that goes so far beyond you. Stay on-mission. Keep it cool. Keep doing good work.

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  11. That was an epic read and awesome response to the situation. He's certainly not writing this to make the masses feel comfortable and safe. Discussing the complexities of reality is something I have never seen from a CEO.

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  12. I have a feeling there will be more diverse hiring of people with positive attitudes at IOHK...not the radical type who just live to shove their personal choices in others' faces.

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  13. The following succinctly conveys IOHK's official position on the matter:

    "First, to state very directly, IOHK does not maintain or endorse quotas, bias or an archetypal vision of an ideal contractor or employee. We are- and forever will be- a merit based organization. I have a fiduciary obligation as the leader of my company to always hire the most qualified person for the job regardless of where they come from."

    ...for IOHK investors, the above position is a product of, and perfectly congruent with core principles underpinning their IOHK investment. And, it lacked nothing.

    Anything more on the subject isn't addressed to, or required by them. To whom is the rest addressed, and for what intended purpose? I can attest the unintended effect of an unintentional fodder-foment has never, as in not one instance, been as merciful as watering a dead tree.

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  14. Charles, you posit that you're an ardent supporter of free speech and open discourse, yet so many comments are removed. Are they being removed by you?

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    1. ...delete your question and find out...

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    2. I trust you're right... just strange to see so many deleted posts.. there's no chance to have a conversation when people nuke their content

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  16. We all serve and believe in someone or some-thing. Heck, even Steve Jobs who was no fan of God said it himself before he went to meet his maker - "you WILL believe something." This means, you will accept something as truth on face value, without ever knowing the "why" behind it and will let that run your life & choices....

    My utmost, sincere, heartfelt, friendly advice to you is that you look up to some of the people you've been looking up to, such as Ron Paul, and maybe look to the same "things" or person Ron has looked up to for -moral- guidance.

    You will not - I repeat - will not be able to separate morality from anything you touch or do. The only question is - are you a fence sitter trying to please everyone and failing miserably/condemning Cardano to ultimate failure or are you an immovable rock like Peter that God used to build His church upon?

    Fun choices you have ahead of you. I'll be paying attention.

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