They looked at scientists (citations), artists (painting prices), and film directors (imdb ratings). The question is whether the works that they're looking at are actually independent.
For scientists, it's rather unlikely that, having discovered a rich vein of research, a scientist would put out a single perfect paper and then never revisit the topic. Instead, I'd expect several papers exploring aspects of the research, which would get cited where those aspects are applicable; that pattern would produce several highly cited papers which look like a 'hot streak' but are actually just one piece of work.
For film directors, the Peter Jackson example the article gives is similar: the three Lord of the Rings movies are a 'hot streak' consisting of the director repeatedly putting together the same actors playing the same characters in the same story.
For artists, they're using the art market, in which prices are determined by
the opinions of critics, gallerists, and other experts herding towards a consensus about importance and quality, as a proxy for quality. A conclusion that "the stuff artist X was doing during this period was important" would naturally produce a cluster of works escalating in price.
My expectation would be that after such effects are accounted for Einstein's anno mirablis that produced four transformative and unrelated papers would once again appear to be extremely atypical.
The research says these hot streaks exist, you've given some examples of explanations for their existence, the two aren't contradictory. I don't think that article is making out that they're not caused by your proposed explanations.
Wiener comes close but is not as famous as he did the groundwork for others.
Probably more groundbreaking research you haven't heard about.
I have had two successes that kicked off hot-streaks and they each came after several years of thrashing around, learning the space and material with which to work. I am in the middle (hopefully) of a new thrashing phase, lots of core competency being built up, (waxonwaxoff) some minor successes, and a whole lot of dissatisfaction.
The more I look around the more I feel every one has at least the following phases in their career- Fall, Struggle, Rise, Plateau. The thing is the order is not guaranteed. But the phases come in parcels of decades.
The best is the order I mentioned. Sometimes the order is brutal. You go like Rise, Plateau, Struggle, Fall. The best years happen in early life- Like 20's. You go through it assuming this is how its going to be all life, don't invest or save up. And then reach 40's and realize you have another 40 to go and regardless of how hard you work, You have to suffer through the remainder.
In some people's case the big success comes in the last decade of their working career.
Either way the most important to note is, that luck goes around. No one remains lucky forever. One must be worried if start tossing a coin, and head comes up straight 100 times.
That describes my career perfectly.
(this started in the mid 90s)
Fail - first pass of my first major development project out of college. I was the only developer at my company. I knew how to program - I done complicated side projects in assembly and C for years before and during college.
Rise - Asked a former professor for help, came out with version 2.0 of the project. Between two raises, a basically guaranteed 20^ bonus, and changing jobs, I was making $40K more in 4 years.
Plateau - next 8 years, took my eye off the ball, stayed at the one job too long and between bonuses being cut, and 3% raises, only made $7K more in year 9 than I made in year 2.
Plateau #2 - I changed jobs, learned a lot and muddled my way through the recession for 3 years.
Rise - over the next 5 years, changed jobs 4 times and made $55K more at the end.
For context, because of the mistake made by staying at a job too long up until 2008 and focuses on always getting jobs where I’m barely qualified to learn and build my resume, I’ve been under the median salary for my market for my years of experience since then. So I’m definitely not trying to brag. I’m also not in Silicon Valley. I am in a major metropolitan city.
When I see colleagues at work who were born in a difficult place and now they have the same job as me, I feel bad because they've never been happier but I'm having the worst time of my life.
At the same time, I find that people who come from a difficult place tend to have their own distinct type of mental scars.
Got 4000 stars on GitHub and suddendly a publisher offered me a book deal.
Had some interviews and people told me, they already knew me from the news, where I got to via the 4k GitHub stars.
A React core dev starred it on GitHub.
I got about 4k stars for this and some news coverage (front-end/JS/React news)
Some publisher asked me if I want to turn it into a book, so he can sell it for/with me.
Later I had a few interviews where I was asked to show my GitHub account. When the interviewers saw the 4k repo they told me they read about it a few days ago in the news and now they were impressed because they talking to the creator of it in person.
Works that might have ignored or simply missed earlier now get more attention.
And works that might have failed due to lack of resources now have a better shot.
I would be quite surprised if patterns like Einstein’s annus mirabelus are actually the norm, with four largely unrelated breakthroughs in the same year.
Between 2011-2015: LevelDB, Google Brain, another important internal project that I don't think is public, and TensorFlow.
Between 2004-2011: Spanner, some work on Google Translate, and consultation for the replacements for GFS, Proto1, and MapReduce.
Certainly seems like clusters to me.
In my own life, I can witness similar events in collegues and myself. It may also be that others take a "hot streak" train of thought, style, premise, and once it becomes common place, that hot streak or cluster ceases to be relevant.
They are really different papers, each of which most physicists would be extremely blessed to have just one in their lifetimes.
What was the root idea that all of his papers were the "logical" the conclusion of?
What single idea are you referring to?
It seems the researchers concentrated on creative careers. Wonder if it is applicable to more corporate standardized careers and how would they would measure it. The title implies careers in general, but I don’t find what the article says to support the careers in general.
Would also warn against using this as self fulling prophecy.
I can't think of a reliable, detailed, readily available source of info like that. Maybe LinkedIn for profiles that explicitly state education years (HS and B.S. to estimate age) and then somehow filter through and classify job titles?
Several issues not including users who state themselves "Founder", "CEO", for MLM schemes. Maybe you could cut the population down to users who have had software titles.
It would be hard to standardize it across multiple companies in a person's career. Maybe for people that stayed at one company their entire lives. Govt/military likely have higher rates of people working
and retiring withinn their system for 20+ years. And their job titles should be standardized as well.
Brings another question, is it possible to find out which two companies in the world have the most overlap between employees? To clarify, two companies which a majority of knowledge workers jump between.
If that is the case, is this just not another angle at "never quit,you never know things will pop up"?