He was getting a massive salarY, bonuses in the millions, and he had persuaded Google to pay him even more money through a side-hustle company of his while remaining an employee. Then he quits and steals their stuff.
Hundreds of millions. As part of breaching his employment agreement by stealing trade secrets, Levandowski had to pay back one of his bonuses, which was $120 million.
I mean, part of paying this type of comp is to retain talent. How much more should Google have paid to retain him? Or was this even preventable?
It's just that Google did not understand the Goodhart law of self driving, which states that you can hit arbitrarily hard milestones and yet get nowhere near real self driving.
at some point we'll solve all arbitrarily hard milestones for AIs and yet find ourselves 'nowhere near having real general intelligence'.
At that point we might start questioning our assumptions about intelligence.
Until we can understand and correct unconcious inferences, how can we ever understand intelligence.
In the days when Sussman was a novice Minsky once came to him as he sat
hacking at the PDP-6. "What are you doing?", asked Minsky. "I am
training a randomly wired neural net to play Tic-Tac-Toe." "Why is the
net wired randomly?", asked Minsky. "I do not want it to have any
preconceptions of how to play." Minsky shut his eyes. "Why do you
close your eyes?", Sussman asked his teacher. "So the room will be
empty." At that moment, Sussman was enlightened.
Even the SOTA reinforcement learning folks know that they are working in limited (albeit progressively expanding) niches.
Then the company wizes up and the bonus is based on profit with a risk cap...and traders maximize profit and minimize some form of risk (while taking on some other unmeasured liability, e.g., liquidity)
If an AI accomplishs this task, I don't care whether it is general intelligence or not.
As with ever increasing CEO compensation, it has been frequently pointed out that this may be less an issue of performance and more a sort of internal cronyism with tightly connected people being excessively compensated. Given the mythology around tech founders/talent it's not surprising.
As long as the companies grew it was fine, but I honestly think these compensations are on their way out as shareholders at some point have to recognise that this isn't reasonable.
> I imagine just by sheer nature of the power law that some upvotes are people trying to justify their lot but that would be the minority of people. I guess just so many who haven't made it at all but hold this fiction dear for their own peace of mind?
What you're doing here is speculating about the motives of an unknown number of people who upvoted a comment. Can you really not think of any other reason they might have done so?
It tends to come out most fervently in strained justifications about such massive and obvious inequalities in compensation, such as this case.
I wish people did it less often.
The problem is with the fact "the world is just" is a position they reason from, and seek to defend, often in blatant contradiction to the facts of the situation.
It seems to me that you're accusing people of a pattern of "mistakenly seeing the world as just". But your only evidence for this is one case of them mistakenly seeing the world as just; and in that case, you haven't even put in the work to show that they're actually mistaken.
(edit - for that matter, how many people even think this state of the world is just? From skimming, I can't see anyone explicitly saying it is. The author of the comment that triggered this subthread explicitly disclaims it.)
Both views are flawed, of course.
That's not the flip side of that view, because the socialist view of an exploited proletariat in an advanced industrial democracy is not one of “helpless victims”, but of a powerful force that has the power to reverse the power structure once they realize it exists and act in solidarity against it.
A quick (and very) simplified summary of the traditional socialist perspective is that in capitalism, the vast majority of the population must work as wage-earners (proletariat) to provide the means to sustain their life.
A much smaller group of people (capitalists or bourgeoisie) own the means of production and do not need to work. The material interests of these two groups are in opposition (class struggle): value is created by work done (labour theory of value) and it is in the interest of capitalist owners to exploit workers as much as possible, i.e., maximise the amount of value they can extract as profit.
As economic value is created by the labour of workers, in an advanced industrial society, they are the class with the potential to consolidate this economic power: if they were to unite (in unions and socialist parties), they could use this economic power to take political power from the capital class. The goal of the socialist is to unite workers across boundaries so that they understand that their material interests coincide with other workers (class consciousness) – what they have in common is more important than what divides them. If workers don’t see that their material interests lie with the vast majority who have to work to live, the class will remain divided (as illustrated by the Ronald Wright quote).
As well as these two primary classes, there are other (smaller) classes in capitalist society, such as
- petit-bourgeoisie (small capitalists who own their means of production, e.g. shop-keeper) who can employ workers but don’t possess sufficient capital to not have to work themselves. Their class interests can lie with both capitalist and worker.
- lumpen proletariat – the underclass of the proletariat who don’t provide economic value, e.g., thieves, beggars, criminals; they lack class consciousness and act in their individual self-interest; they can be used by capitalists against the interests of the proletariat (e.g., strike-breaking, inciting racism to divide workers).
Not really smaller, the lumpenproletariat and petit bourgeoisie are each generally both numerically larger than the haut bourgeoisie. Less important in terms of the basic class conflict, but not smaller.
Appreciate your time. Peace
I used to be an anarchist (libertarian socialist) and was very much inspired by the accomplishments of the CNT and FAI in the Spanish Revolution of 1936 . The book that I remember most from those days was “The ABC of Communist Anarchism”  by Alexander Berkman which explains in plain language the ideas and philosophy of libertarian communism. Being Irish and interested in history, I also read James Connolly’s “Labour in Irish History”  where he argued that class solidarity was more important to the cause of freedom than pure nationalism. I was also strongly influenced by the Orwell classics, “1984”, “Animal Farm” and “Homage to Catalonia”. Most of these books are free of the jargon and overly academic language that many leftist authors are wont to use.
Nowadays, I still consider myself to be a socialist, albeit a sceptical one. I’m always open to learning more about history, economics and human nature. I find myself seeing the conservative perspective on a number of issues and I despise the divisiveness of cancel culture and the modern incarnation of identity politics as being antithetical to the ideals of socialism. Anyhow, I’ve had “The Ragged-Trousered Philanthropists” on my to-read list for some time (now that I’ve publicly said it, I better stop procrastinating and actually do it).
It should be pretty clear to anyone at this point that all you need is a laptop, programming skills, a good idea, and a lot of luck to become a billionaire. You don’t need thousands, let alone millions, of employees labouring for you.
Name a company with a billion dollars in revenue that is, or could be, operated solely by someone with a laptop and programming skills.
Indeed. There's a big difference between 1 person and a team of hundreds.
I definitely would not describe myself as a socialist (I have an academic background in economics) but it's pretty clear that the labor theory of value is not contradicted in the slightest by citing examples of lone rent-seekers.
Write code that makes those computers $0.01-$0.10 more valuable for human being, multiply by large number of humans paying yearly.
Billion dollars, easy
While central to Marx’s writing, the LTV isn't particularly essential to socialism (that labor is essential to the production of value is, the LTV itself is not).
> It should be pretty clear to anyone at this point that all you need is a laptop, programming skills, a good idea, and a lot of luck to become a billionaire.
Or ownership of sufficient quantity of the means of production and a lot less luck. But, though there are reasons to question the LTV, I'm not sure how the high value of of some particular labor that requires only minor capital to realize in any way figures I to such criticism.
But that's silly. We see celebrities generating tremendous amounts of economic value by the "labour" of taking a selfie. To emphasize the labour is like focusing on the discarded cigarette butt instead of the thousands of acres of dry tinder it landed in.
Or ownership of sufficient quantity of the means of production and a lot less luck
People who own factories needed a lot of luck to get there as well. What real difference does it make whether I earn a billion dollars with a factory or a laptop? Or are they roughly equivalent in power and my laptop ought to be collectivized? That doesn't seem right.
Well, and their and various publicists and promoters labor that went into creating the environment for the reception of that selfie, and lots of other people's labor on the things that made the celebrity a celebrity, whether it's the labor that went into building a business that made the family name for someone like Paris Hilton, or the labor that went into making movies or TV shows for celebrities manufactured in Hollywood, or the labor that went into political campaigns for celebrities of political origin.
Heck, even celebrities who have “made it” like Kevin Costner can still produce something like “Waterworld” while complete nobodies like JK Rowling can launch themselves to mega stardom by writing a novel while commuting on the train.
And what of users? The value in social media companies, for example, comes from the number of users, who provide free labor in producing content.
May be mistaken, but historically didn't socialist view proles as a 'lumpen mass', with no real power?
No, the lumpenproletariat, in Marxist theory is an underclass beneath and contrasted with the proletariat consisting largely of the unemployable (not due to economic system or structure, or physical capacity, but personal character and inclination), career criminals (of more than mala in se than malum prohibiting sense), and the others who neither make nor are inclined to make a positive contribution to society, and which unlike the proletariat is not viewed as a fertile ground for developing class consciousness and is viewed as a dangerous class at best useless to revolutionary organization of the proletariat, and also having a great potential, largely for pay, to individually be recruited as agents by the bourgeoisie against the proletariat.
If there are no real barriers in upward social mobility, it will quickly be apperant that earning a little capital and putting it to work is the best way to spend your life. Over time it will compound and produce even more.
Of course, often the best capital to accumulate is skills and education.
If the is no real upward social mobility, people will feel indifferent to the idea of producing more value, right now.
The truth is that any system has winners calling the shots and losers at their mercy. What matters is figuring out which system (or blend of systems) produces the best outcomes for its worst off constituents.
Basically, he was one of the key founders of the project that made Google Maps what it is today (a crown jewel of Google with one of the best cartography datasets), vs what it was originally (better UI to third-party, licensed cartography data).
I remember about 12 years ago somebody from the GIS industry, scoffing at the notion that Google might even try to go do some mapping of their own. For him, maps was something Navteq and TeleAtlas knew how to do, and a search engine was deeply misguided if it thought it could venture into that space. That was honestly the prevailing wisdom at the time — it was going to be hard for web-based Google to even deal with the ugly real-world-ness of mapping.
Fast forward to today. Google Maps basically showed the GIS crowd how their work oughta have been done all this time. They invented street cars, street view, and actually made it work; and they used the data to produce accurate maps of the world.
So to your question, what led this guy to an astounding level of monetary reward was that he was part of a team that made a big, calculated bet with Maps and executed very, very well on it. That gave Page ample reason to compensate them well, and it gave him trust that they could handle more projects where they would show up incumbents (such as the traditional car manufacturers, whose inroads into self-driving tech had been very timid for decades).
And it's not clear that they are close to self driving cars, but they certainly contributed to upping the game of that whole industry.
So there's your recipe :) I'd bet that folks who came up with the key tech behind the iPhone are in similar positions at Apple, given how they turned the whole mobile phone business on its head (remember Nokia?).
EDIT: I don't mean the above to indicate that the reward was deserved in any way. Likely, a lot of what happened here is luck plus outstanding team work rather than individual lead performance. But to the question being asked, this is the kind of circumstance and outcome that seems to have supported, in one man's view at least (Page), that level of compensation. If you look at folks at Google who made/make big $, the story is often similar - they led products that were fledgling challengers into industry leaders within a few years (Chrome, Android...).
They also had, maybe, 10 users outside of our own network a year. Everyone else we’re using the traditional pre-google-maps map websites, in my country krak.dk.
I think what google did better was marketing. Then they mapped every WiFi network on the planet to make real life location tracking faster than using GPS.
What google did was make it into a mass product and they had the resources to apply it to a planet level. That is more than marketing. There are a whole lot of steps between tech demo/proof of concept to product. The most important of which is to actually have the foresight of what the product can be and a plan to get there.
But it wasn't useful to anyone who wasn't in the GIS/remote sensingspace. Firstly, the ArcGIS product was primarily client/server and secondly you had to understand what you wanted to see before you used it - it was (and is) literally as easy to get infra red satellite imagery as actual photos.
That's not just marketing - it made it usable for whole new markets.
With a corporate sponsor willing to sink billions of dollars into a project with potentially no upside?
I wouldn’t frame it as having potentially no upside. In public talks after Google found success as a public company, Larry Page has never hidden his desire to leverage Google’s strengths to improve the transportation industry, so the desire to invest in a venture that has nothing to do with Google’s vision of “organizing the world’s information” was always there. It turns out that transportation and search have a lot in common but it wasn’t immediately obvious back in 2009 how transportation could benefit from investments by an Internet search engine.
I remember attending a Google sponsored event where Google Street View—along with crowd-sourced data added by human users—was marketed as data that would lay the foundation for a self-driving car project. They would later screen a video of the panda-like prototype from the Google Self-Driving Car project, and how the SDC could use Street View data to safely drive people around town, to which there was a lot of applause by the audience.
google/apple were taking it to the next level (phone locaiton telemetry for traffic conditions)
and then tesla with not only location telemetry from their cars, but uploading images from customer cars.
He just got too brazen with those trade secrets. Which is exactly how people get high rewards, until it breaks.
You could post factually justify their place, but that’s easy in hindsight.
If you think your statement is true - could you please provide a research into which skills would be needed to exploit the right place at the right time that actually proves that’s not some mystical abberation of self-help books?
Nobody is doubting Levandowki is an extremely talented engineer, but literally every person that achieves that level of success also took a considerable amount of luck to get there. Right place, right time, right skills is everything.
There is no "right time, right place" factor for Lebron, unless we're simply considering the fact that he lucky enough to be born at a time on Earth when professional basketball is a thing that exists.
Would his career have worked out if Carmelo was drafted
to Cleveland and Lebron went to the Nuggets? What about
if Lebron needed to do a year in college now? How would
that have impacted his trajectory?
Generally though, I do agree with you.
Lebron's championships, as opposed to his individual performance, are definitely somewhat the products of circumstance. He heroically dragged some mediocre supporting casts to the Finals and fell short a few times, which simultaneously proved both his own brilliance and the inability of even the arguably-greatest player of all time to do it all on his own.
A lot of supremely talented athletes have failed to find success in professional sports due to simply never finding a good fit for themselves where they were able to shine.
Similarly, there have been some oddballs who have found great success thanks to being in circumstances in which they were able niche for themselves. James Harden is a modern NBA player who comes to mind. The Rockets play a somewhat bizzarro style that caters to Harden's bizzarro skirting-the-rules game.
The underappreciated part of luck (by the lucky) is not the good luck people have the benefit of, it's the bad luck they avoid.
I really think you are underestimating how special LeBron is, how obvious it has been since he was in middle school, and how much it says about his physical gifts that he has played such heavy minutes for so long. We still talk about high school prospects being the next LeBron James because he was obviously a once in a generation talent (Zion being the only prospect since LeBron that has equalled his hype). Also LeBron has not really had good luck in his life. He had talent that transcended his terrible situation.
On a human level, it is worth appreciating such things. Finding new ways to express and experience gratitude is one of the most profoundly powerful things a person can do. A true key to happiness. (I hope this doesn't sound sarcastic: I really believe this)
I think we just generally leave that sort of thing out of "what makes Lebron, Lebron?" type discussions because it's a constant for all athletes. A catastrophic injury would disrupt any player's trajectory. That's not interesting or useful to discuss from an analytic standpoint.
What we're really looking for is, "why is Lebron different from others who've avoided catastrophic events?" or to be more on-topic, "why was Levandowski able to rise to superstardom when other engineers weren't?"
Certainly, yes, some of this can be chalked up to Levandowski's avoidance of catastrophic events. He wasn't eaten by bears! His parents didn't blind him with acid! He wasn't struck by meteors! But, this is also true for a lot of other engineers, so this doesn't tell us anything useful. Everybody already knows that being killed by a bear is detrimental to one's career prospects.
To return to (and hyper-focus on) Lebron for a second...
there are a number of equal/better players (physically and mentally)
who get bumped, land wrong, tear an ACL, and their trajectory changes forever
1. Every year, millions of people play basketball and do not suffer catastrophic incidents and yet also do not display the sort of generational talents displayed by Lebron.
2. Given the extremely large sums of fame and money involved in collegiate/professional basketball, anybody manifesting his level of talent is unlikely to go undiscovered. There is a lot of incentive for everybody involved to identify and develop such talent. This would be less true for many other pursuits. I suspect there are many "undiscovered Bobby Fischers and Gary Kasparovs" out there in the chess world and many "undiscovered Lewis Hamiltons" in the racing world; I suspect this is not the case for "undiscovered Lebrons."
3. Basketball is also different from other pursuits in that freakish physical height is a great advantage. If you are tall, in most of the world, people will tell you to play basketball. A height of 6'8.5" (Lebron's height) is something like 99.99th percentile and playing basketball is one of the few lucrative things one can do with that height, unlike a 99.99th percentile intelligence or even 99.99th percentile strength.
There are plenty of "Most insane athletes we've ever seen" coming up from High School that never turn into anything, or don't turn into the greatest players of all time. You can't just say "Lebron was more talented and worked harder" when things like car accidents, illness and coaching can all ruin a player's career.
> but you aren't really respecting how much LeBron was an outlier as a prospect
This is rewriting history. The thing about signing someone straight from high school is it's tough to know how good they are, given they've mostly spent their whole career stomping normal people. Also I'm not implying Lebron was bad, or even anything less than a top pick. I'm just pointing out that there are quite regularly draft candidates that are touted the same way, that do not end up as a Lebron James.
> There simply are not plenty of prospects with his size, control, explosiveness, durability and fine motor control
Most of which he developed in the league? Which is as much a testament to him as it is his coaching, no? Which is a variable that could've prevented him from ascending as high as he did?
> 16 years after LeBron was drafted, we finally saw someone who is as much of an outlier as LeBron in Zion.
This is flatout not true (and frankly pretty offensive to Lebron). Zion is overweight and duck-footed, the combination of which has already shown issues even in his first season. His team knows it, which is why they're keeping him at 20 minutes a game.
If you can't play a player because of their fragility, you can't really call them great.
I'm just pointing out that there are quite
regularly draft candidates that are touted
the same way, that do not end up as a Lebron
Lebron had thousands of people and scouts at his games as a high school freshman and sophomore, and was was on the cover of Sports Illustrated before his junior year of high school.
He is such a freakish outlier.
"Simply one of the best high school players in the last decade. Whatever you have heard about him is true. He’s so gifted it’s scary. As a scorer, his range extends to 3-point land. He’s a terrific passer and is quite unselfish. Simply put: his talents are on another level. We can list schools with him until we are blue in the face, but in the end this is the best high school-to-NBA prospect since it became chic to make the jump. LeBron James is a special basketball player, good enough to don the cover of Sports Illustrated as a junior in high school."
" He has met and surpassed the hype every step of the way. The game just comes so easily to him, he’s the epitome of a hoops prodigy. He has changed the face of highschool athletics with Nationally televised games being carried by ESPN. He has lived up to the hype and then some every step of the way. Carmelo Anthony has a better jumpshot than LeBron, and a NCAA title under his belt. But LeBron has far superior upside.[...] No one has ever had to overcome this kind of hype as a highschool player."
Here's an article from SI in his junior year - https://vault.si.com/vault/2002/02/18/ahead-of-his-class-ohi...
"OHIO HIGH SCHOOL JUNIOR LEBRON JAMES IS SO GOOD THAT HE'S ALREADY BEING MENTIONED AS THE HEIR TO AIR JORDAN"
"There are only four or five players in the NBA that I wouldn't trade to get LeBron right now," says former Phoenix Suns coach Danny Ainge."
(Also, I think that article illustrates that LeBron didn't have much luck in his life other than his talent)
Most people have to cope with mediocre physical gifts that no amount of training will fix.
Or maybe I have a hand-eye coordination that means I'd be a gold medalist at Shooting, or some other sport I've never had the inclination or opportunity to train in
If a battery or metals (or self-driving) engineer comes up with a material break through and starts a company they could easily eclipse Levandowski's earnings.
Citation needed. I don't see many self-driving cars around, did you mean "world's most self-promoting engineer in self-driving cars"?
It doesn't mean that he's not the best, does it?
As far as I've heard Waymo was considered to be #1 when it comes to self-driving cars, thus it's probably someone of Waymoers
So if he was actually doing a lot of work there (basing on experience and how important for Google he was) then I think it's fair to consider him as a pretendent to be industry leader
 - Basing on Googling "most advanced autonomous cars"
Of course, commitment can increase your odds grealy, but it doesn't magically make them 100%.
1. Bill Gates had computer access
2. Steve Jobs met Woz
My career took off when I had a particularly bad metal break where I exhibited both to a frightening degree. When I got over those I just retired with all the money I'd made.
Make no mistake, success is a mental illness.
“Would I ever leave this company? Look, I'm all about loyalty. In fact, I feel like part of what I'm being paid for here is my loyalty. But if there were somewhere else that valued loyalty more highly, I'm going wherever they value loyalty the most.”
In Intelligence, people have been caught selling state secrets for 10-20k a pop. The kind of secrets that can land you decades in jail. It makes no sense from a monetary standpoint.
Gotta remember not to drink your own Kool-Aid ;)
Never underestimate the power of the ego trip...
Once decision makers are Mormon, of course they're going to hire more and more Mormons. They don't even have to be doing it corruptly, thats just how networks of humans work.
It's totally frowned upon by psychiatrists and psychologists, who are experts in the field, because it's actually impossible and can do a lot of damage.
This has nothing to do with Levandowski not being a full blown greedy asshole and now a criminal too. But the problem is really that doing that can potentially hurt people with mental issues.
It raises an interesting question though. Every time narcissism / NPD comes up, the general advice seems to be that you should stay they hell away from these people. There seems to be plenty of evidence that they can wreak havoc on the lives of people around them, particularly anyone in an intimate relationship with them.
So it's arguably a good idea to learn how to "diagnose" these people, at least for self-preservation.
As a counterargument: I am extremely annoyed by the people who publicly criticize the personal traits of others without even considering that they might be affected by a mental disorder.
For example we can choose to have sympathy and empathy for Kanye West during his public struggles. (Or not. I'm not telling anybody what to do. I don't have strong feelings about the guy myself.)
We can recognize that yes, clearly, the man is struggling with something. We can also simultaneously refrain from hamfistedly trying to figure out what, specifically, he's struggling with.
For me, the clear differentiator is that "that guy is struggling" is a "diagnosis" I think just about anybody would be qualified to make. We have all struggled. And people generally don't go on Twitter posting sprees of alternating jumbled, grandiose, and vaguely worrisome thoughts when they're doing well. Nor do they make tearful public appearances, etc. And his wife confirms he's struggling. So assuming he's not putting on an elaborate ruse - I think your average layperson is qualified to say he's struggling.
Being more specific than that would require a level of training and direct contact with him that, obviously, a layperson doesn't have. And mental diagnoses are rather uh, fuzzy even when handed out by qualified professionals under ideal circumstances.
It's like the difference between me saying, "my car won't start" (a thing I'm qualified to say!) and "the fuel injector controller is faulty; Honda screwed up the design and Nissan's version of the same thing is much more robust." (a thing I just made up, and am not remotely qualified to say)
Interestingly enough, Lior Ron (Otto co-founder) was appointed CEO of the church.
1 - https://990s.foundationcenter.org/990pf_pdf_archive/814/8147...
It's a little unnerving, extremely nuanced, complicated, and fascinating. I've come to see it more as a description for a mode of being that's actually very important to understand to some extent and to figure into how you understand the world. A label like NPD does it no justice, like any other label for the way a human might behave. I highly recommend giving the idea a chance and thinking about how it might fit into your life.
I think it's important not to sensationalize it. In fact, it's probably far more typical and mundane in most instances. I've come to believe it's widespread but generally only acknowledged or recognized in extreme cases. A typical case of the topology only revealing the mountains from among the rolling hills.
It’s been recognized as a “real thing” for decades.
A disorder is not an excuse for one's behavior.
A disorder just means, hey, there's something here that's out of the normal. A recognition of something that people struggle with.
Does Levandowski have some kind of disorder? I really have no opinion; I haven't followed this case and refrain from amateur diagnoses in general.
But it is not normal to steal hundreds of millions of dollars (or hundreds of millions of dollars worth of things) and if a person has a longstanding pattern of shitty behavior then yeah, there's something going on there that's worth figuring out.
People who know when to quit will usually not have made that much money in the first place because it's a different personality type almost.
We even know governments run drug cartels to fund black-ops, and sell stolen weapons to this weeks chosen side.
I don’t have a problem with what Levandowski did. It’s just that stealing from one mega corp to give to a another bunch of overly wealthy and getting caught is sloppy.
And makes for a pretty boring documentary or film adaptation.
Imagine you deeply believe that getting self-driving cars to market ASAP is vital to saving countless lives. And imagine you strongly believe you know how to make that happen. If you aren't being able to do that in your current environment, you might feel compelled to change even if you're getting huge piles of money, and you might be willing to cut corners along the way. How much would you give up, if you were convinced it would save thousands of lives each day?
Not sure about this instance but in general, people dont get to some promontory then lose it all doing something illegal/unethical. They often rise up the ranks -- doing illegal/unethical things the entire way up. You just see the time they got caught (the last time) and it seems they could have stopped at step n-1.
If he was rational he wouldn't have got to the 100 million dollar stage.
If you listen to Marxists, employing people to do anything you yourself benefit from is inherently abusive. Property is theft!
Or you could ask my father in law what he thinks about that, having grown up under Mao.
Buffet doesn't have a vault full of 71bn dollar notes. His wealth almost entirely consists of the ownership of Berkshire Hathaway stock. That means that wealth consists of factories, media companies, property, mines, shops, warehouses and hundreds of thousands of people doing productive work.
So by and large, and there are exceptions of course, most billionaires are so because they lead and own huge businesses doing work on which our entire civilisation depends. They gained that control through being effective leaders that know how to build efficient and productive enterprises that employ people like you and me.
So what's the alternative? Appropriating their wealth would also involve removing their ownership and leadership of those businesses, and handing it to who? On what pretext, and to who's benefit?
Personally I have no problem with people being successful like that. What I think can be a problem is what happens to that wealth when those people die. If a person obtains vast wealth through hard work and contributing to society that's fine, but inheriting that kind of wealth is a different question. I think there's a reasonable case to be made for much higher inheritance taxes and regulation of trust funds.
Billion and it's larger cousin, Trillion(etc and so forth), really are hard for the human mind to grasp.
One strategy is to rescale.
So, if I am worth 1 million (I wish!) then someone worth 1 billion could treat things as though they were 1000 times cheaper than me.
If you could get a $1000 per night hotel for $1 per night, that might change how you live.
Further examples left to the reader.
What, just from looking at all the massive and excessive fraud and graft and "disruption", aka, destruction, of the economy that we have just alone witnessed in our lifetime that is any different than what Levandowski thought he could maybe also get away with on an individual level. He just didn't realize he had to diffuse what he was doing and not make himself an individual and identifiable target.
Just alone China has been pillaging and stealing in every conceivable manner over just the last 25 years or so; from all out hacking, to buying up tech companies and IP, to placing engineers in our Universities Inc., to basic industrial espionage, to immigration to place industrial spies in our tech companies, and on and on and on … to little more than the muted chirp of crickets.
What would make Levandowski think that he could not have gotten away with what he was doing when we have witnessed nothing but the very same kinds of law and ethical and moral depravity all across the board from top to bottom, left to right, and front to back for decades now? Tech companies have perverted and sold out our whole society as a function of even deeper graft and corruption for many decades now, I am not at all surprised that Levandowski thought he too could get a piece of action; he just made the mistake of not running in a pack like in DC or on "Wall Street" on in the tech sector. He stood out and strayed from the pack in a noticeable manner so they needed to pick him off to avoid wider recognition of what is really going on as we careen off the rails.
To put a point on it, it is precisely the utterly permissive, corrupt, and rotten state of not only the whole tech industry; but our whole society and failed and inherently illegitimate government that are the cause of someone like him thinking he could get away with what he did. Because let's be frank, it was a solid bed that he would have gotten away with it considering what everyone else has gotten away with for many decades now.
If he felt the way you describe, he should have gone off and started his own thing (he did!) maybe sold it for lots to someone else (he did!) and not steal tech from his former employer (fail!)
We all get fed up with work politics, not having our opinions prevail, etc. We don't all walk out the door with countless hours and millions of dollars of work product.
Obviously the "name" isn't the issue, or maybe it is, it's possible they worked with this person in the past, and it never occurred to them to check the current employer, because it usually doesn't change that much, but once you end up working with customers in an emergent industry (separate experience in analytics, yes the past two decades is emergent), you'll find you have a customer who after a few quarters is on to a new job, but still your customer!
There are so many ways for these wires to get crossed, I'll stick to Hanlon's razor, but modify it to not be about malice, but to be about confusion:
Never attribute to stupidity that which is adequately explained by confusion.
And if there's any chance I get something named after me, since this pattern is cute, let's call Clover's razor, any aphorism that takes on the form "Never attribute to X that which can adequately be explained by Y."
That's a new favorite of mine. I think I'll need to append it to Hanlon's razor any time I use it:
"Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity, and never attribute to stupidity that which is adequately explained by confusion."
I thought that was nice of them, as they were under no contractual obligation to decline orders from anyone else or to let me know about them. I guess Levandowski would have a different take on it.
"Recently, we received an unexpected email. One of our suppliers specializing in LiDAR components sent us an attachment (apparently inadvertently) of machine drawings of what was purported to be Uber’s LiDAR circuit board — except its design bore a striking resemblance to Waymo’s unique LiDAR design."
It was also in many articles. The story is that they were reluctant to pursue it until that email, you can find a ton of sources in the wikipedia entry: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anthony_Levandowski
edit: it took two minutes to find the WAYMO LLC v UBER TECHNOLOGIES pdf on google and they reference the email evidence various times.
It's not a conspiracy theory, companies employ public relations to influence how the public views them. In this case Google has a strong interest in making Lewandowski out to be unusually reckless so that other engineers don't view Google as a company that goes after engineers.
Usually civil lawsuits are fines. Should your (ex) employeer be able to put you in prison? Because I can see how that can be misused if a few figured out how to be convincing enough
If we prosecute everyone who took information from the previous job, then there will no sales people left. I don't know any SaaS sales person who doesn't take their sales funnel with them.
Fines for minor matters should be % based somehow.
(I don't know how!)
My $150 parking ticket should be their $15,000 parking ticket.
Signal man distracted on TikTok causes train crash
Fraudster electronically steals retirement savings
Pedophile gets child to do stuff over the internet
Driver repeatedly drives drunk, though never hits anyone
Some people just want to see racism everywhere they look.
That's not true. From basketball players to music icons like Michael Jackson the rich can buy a certain level of justice.
If you think the white rich still have it easier. I think we are focusing on the wrong thing. The 1% or .1% percentages have it better than everybody else regardless of color.
Kinda funny how you made up a statement that they didn't say and then started arguing against it. Congratulations, you fought yourself and won.
"A courtesy not afforded to the largely not-rich, not-white general prison population. "
To simplify this comment, when I say "black" I mean "not white". Easier than to keep typing non-white, etc.
You have a quadrant of four categories:
1. Rich and white
2. Poor and white
3. Rich and black
4. Poor and black
You are interpreting the statement to refer to "people who are not (rich or white)" - which with Boolean logic expands to "people who are not rich and not white)". Looking at the first form, this means category 4 (people who are poor AND are not white). It also means that poor white people get this privilege, and rich non-whites do.
The other person is interpreting it as "not (rich and white)" which means all the categories except 1.
Hence the confusion.
This is not just a matter of two equally valid alternative explanations: a reasonable reading of the original sentence "not poor, not white" (along a minimal amount of thought about the context and subject matter, e.g. prisons clearly are not full of rich blacks) would have easily led to the other person realizing that it was category 4 that the parent was talking about, not 1-3.
Why would anyone believe that there was confusion? It smells like ideology to me.
The justice system in San Francisco bends over backwards to keep criminals of all races, classes, and backgrounds out of prison, and especially so with Covid-19.
The fact that he's still sentenced and will have to serve while other inmates are currently being released due to covid shows that there isn't a major discrepancy in this particular case.
This claim seems to be unsubstantiated and in fact blatantly false... Please take the care to do cursory research on the situation before blindly stoking the race flame. That kind of thing is the very last thing we need in the public discourse right now.
I would guess some of them had public defenders. Although I guess they got it without even having to argue for it. Did Levandowski's lawyer argue for it? According to the article Levendowski's lawyer argued for home confinement (unsuccessfully, obviously).
Sadly, "literally" can mean "figuratively":
"in effect : virtually —used in an exaggerated way to emphasize a statement or description that is not literally true or possible"
(Yes, I know they used the word "literally" in the definition).
They also made a special page to explain this.
In the end though, if anything, it looks to me Levandowsky's prison postponement makes his sentence harsher, not more lenient. He will still have to serve his whole sentence in an actual prison, and until he starts the prison sentence his liberty will be curtailed (for example it's very likely he will not be allowed to leave the country). A good defense team would've gotten for him house arrest during the Covid19 crisis, and his defense team argued for this. They didn't get it.
So, literally or figuratively, how did money buy Levandowsky a get-out-of-jail-free card?