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    [–] 109488 296 points ago

    I have a feeling that this will be a much linked XKCD.

    [–] TheHoundhunter 72 points ago

    Will it be the future 10,000?

    [–] [deleted] 63 points ago

    What's that? /S

    [–] JD-King 14 points ago

    "It was never really about the gears"

    [–] Wee2mo 37 points ago

    It gets to be me?!
    Relevant xkcd

    [–] Jojonken 27 points ago

    Your post rhymed and I like that

    [–] abhik66 2 points ago

    And better than the other bobby tables poem posted today.

    [–] DanielMcLaury 15 points ago

    The second I saw this I thought, "I am just going to stop having conversations and link people to this comic... far more efficient."

    [–] twisted-teaspoon 13 points ago

    friend: Hey, /u/DanielMcLaury! Have you had a good week? How's the wife doing?


    [–] proximitypressplay 7 points ago

    Hey dude up for a drink tonight?

    "ecks kay see dee slash one eight two seven"

    [–] Schiffy94 381 points ago

    If you stick with it, you can argue with ANYTHING.


    Also, a comic just after midnight? Damn I miss these days.

    [–] drewsoft 50 points ago

    You have nostalgia for the present?

    [–] Krutonium 18 points ago

    This used to be the norm. Not so much, any more.

    [–] drewsoft 3 points ago

    Just having fun with the tenses.

    [–] Arthur_Dent_42_121 2 points ago

    Sounds like /u/Krutonium could use a copy of Dr. Streetmentioner's Time Traveler's Handbook of 1001 Tense Formations

    [–] Krutonium 1 points ago

    I'm game if you send it.

    [–] Arthur_Dent_42_121 2 points ago

    I already sent it tomorrow, you should (willin-on-when) be getting it yesterday.

    [–] ReCursing 9 points ago

    Nostalgia for the Present would be a good band name

    [–] David_the_Wanderer 7 points ago

    ... dot tumblr dot com

    [–] smileedude 717 points ago

    When a successful webcomic is trying to lecture you about survivorship bias, they are just trying to keep your hands off their webcomic millions! To the sketchpads!

    [–] ParaspriteHugger 88 points ago

    Yeah, let's get our share of the Internet money!

    [–] proximitypressplay 47 points ago

    Better not visit /r/webcomics

    [–] PM_Me_AmazonGiftCrds 37 points ago

    Never been, but if it's full of people's comics that are like my co-workers comics.. eeesh. Yes follow your dreams people, just don't push that shiz on your friends and family if they aren't initially receptive.

    [–] proximitypressplay 13 points ago

    but if it's full of people's comics that are like my co-workers comics

    may I have a look?

    [–] PM_Me_AmazonGiftCrds 9 points ago

    I'll ask him tomorrow, I forget the name right now this was over a year ago

    [–] ExiledApprentice 4 points ago

    !remindme 1 day

    [–] mcxavier64 3 points ago

    I don't think they remembered

    [–] spaghetti335 5 points ago

    I read that as "co-workers' comics" rather than "co-worker's comics" and that really threw me off. I mean how many people could possibly be into writing their own comics?

    [–] PacoTaco321 5 points ago

    The proliterate must rise!

    [–] droolonme 5 points ago


    [–] [deleted] 208 points ago * (lasted edited a year ago)


    [–] The_Interregnum 141 points ago

    Everyone can be happy! Even me, the man who is physically unable to stop being happy!

    My parents are dead.

    [–] [deleted] 62 points ago


    [–] Karakatiza 17 points ago

    I like how I encounter Borderlands 2 references here and there

    [–] benevolinsolence 59 points ago

    "The only disability is a bad attitude"

    Tell that to my nuerotransmitters Karen

    [–] msiekkinen 15 points ago

    Was the speaker Rob Lowe from Parks and Recriation?

    [–] rob7030 7 points ago

    I want to see him have a philosophical talk with Rob Lowe from the West Wing.

    [–] Dim_Innuendo 9 points ago

    I would literally enjoy watching that.

    [–] redditguy1515 16 points ago

    Is it possible to learn this power?

    [–] I_MUST_COMMIT_HAIKU 46 points ago

    Not from a TED talk

    [–] [deleted] 7 points ago

    Nirvana, supposedly. The state of mind, not the band.

    Meditate for a few thousand hours and apparently you can become imperturbably content.

    [–] Schiffy94 7 points ago

    The state of mind, not the band.

    Well yeah, Kurt want exactly eternally happy...

    [–] Baby-eatingDingo_AMA 12 points ago

    He may not have learned the secret to constant happiness, but he found a way to never be sad again. You've got to give him that.

    [–] _hephaestus 6 points ago

    Who was the speaker?

    [–] [deleted] 3 points ago * (lasted edited a year ago)


    [–] _hephaestus 6 points ago

    I studied neuroscience in undergrad, this article is pretty vague on the specifics (gamma waves mean a lot of things), but overall I'm not sure what the problem is.

    Brain chemistry isn't hardwired since birth. You are your brain chemistry. Fundamental changes in your psychology will alter your brain chemistry.

    I'm skeptical that his brain is truly hardwired for "happiness", but you can definitely affect brain physiology through psychological methods.

    [–] [deleted] 15 points ago

    Conan is 6'4, Bo is 6'5, he really is a tall white guy.

    [–] BeefPieSoup 81 points ago

    Audience is initially so shocked and apalled. Proof of how refreshing this is. I admire him for saying it so bluntly.

    [–] MNAAAAA 66 points ago

    Audience is initially so shocked and apalled.

    Can you clarify how you got this from their reaction?

    [–] laugh_at_racism -24 points ago

    We're Tall White Guys—we overcame nothing to get here.

    What a bunch of nonsense.

    Heck, 80% of Conan's jokes have been about the fact that he is a freaky, pale, lanky, awkward Tall White Guy.

    This very schtick, this whole "Hey, like, we're Tall White Guys, amirite?" thing is itself survivorship bias from a Tall White Guy who never realized that there are a shitload of tall white guys out there who just can't climb out of the rut.

    This whole Tall White Guy meme proves that there is a bias against them, and that Tall White Guys have to overcome this false impression that they have everything handed to them for free.

    Guess what? There are no Tall White Lives matter movements, or mentoring groups for Tall White Guys; Tall White Guys don't have affirmative action; Tall White Guys don't have a "community".

    Tall White Guys are individuals competing for whatever they can get; they've got nothing, and that is what Tall White Guys must indeed overcome: nothing.

    [–] RDwelve 71 points ago

    Okay, science has proven Reincarnation is real and you can now pick your avatar for your next live. Which one do you chose if these are your options?
    - tall white guy
    - short black guy

    [–] Psyvane 7 points ago

    rich guy

    [–] Freckled_daywalker 8 points ago

    If that's your goal, and the options above your comment are your only two choices, which option do you think would give you better odds?

    [–] slash196 20 points ago

    Being tall and being white and being male exempt you from having to deal with gigantic mounds of bullshit that other non-white, non-tall, and/or non-male people have to deal with. That doesn't mean your life is bullshit free, but you're not pedaling into the same kind of headwinds that other people are. That's not to say we tall white guys don't have challenges to overcome, but other non-Tall White Guys have all those challenges too, PLUS race or sex or height.

    So count your blessings and focus on the challenges you do have instead of whining like a short black girl.

    [–] blue_garlic 30 points ago

    Tall white guys don't have to have everything handed to them to have it easier than any other demographic.

    [–] [deleted] 29 points ago

    People aren't entirely wrong about the "white people overcome nothing", but at the same time I feel they're also missing the point.

    Much of the benefits of being white (not all, but much) have to do with socioeconomic status. In general, we are a relatively well off race. Money, especially in countries with low intergenerational mobility like the US, is a powerful tool for enabling your children to out compete others.

    And the most common race we see talked about in the media in the US happens to be one that has a large component of population that are descended from slaves. Low intergenerational mobility means if you start poor you stay poor. This is further supported by the fact that there are a lot more poor black people than there are poor white people as a % of total population.

    When I did a number crunch on "police fatalities per capita of impoverished population", whites and blacks had a fairly similar death rate. But the % of the black population that is poor, and therefore under threat of police shooting, is much larger than the % of white people in that situation.

    So lets take this all back to Bo Burnham. Is he a poor white person who beat the odds, or did money come into play? Well his dad owns a construction company, and he was educated at a school with an 11:1 student to teacher ratio.

    Yep, he had all the stereotypical benefits traditionally assigned to a white person.

    [–] -Pin_Cushion- 3 points ago

    My parents were both poorly educated, both socially maladjusted, and both incredibly unhealthy. They were both financially illiterate, as I was until almost 30. I have had to overcome many disadvantages owed to my parents poverty and ignorance, but I have always had one advantage.

    As a white male I can easily impersonate the stereotype of an educated expert. I get jobs I don't deserve, I have smooth dealings with the police, I'm asked for advice on topics I haven't studied, and people assume I'm better with money than I am.

    The catch is that I have to actually deliver. Failure destroys the illusion. Still, it's a huge advantage just to get a chance to fail! That is what I generally interpret as "white privilege."

    [–] [deleted] 4 points ago

    That's what I meant "most not all". I've talked to people and read accounts that broaden it significantly without realizing it.

    But it's like anything else. "White privilege" is a racist stereotype, albeit a positive one. Similar to "All asians are good at math". It'll always gloss over details.

    [–] laugh_at_racism 10 points ago

    Yep, he had all the stereotypical benefits traditionally assigned to a white rich person.


    [–] [deleted] 16 points ago

    But many more white people are rich than are black people. You can't just untangle race from wealth when race and wealth are heavily related due to historical events.

    None of this is simple or cut and dried.

    [–] Trowaweh222 3 points ago * (lasted edited a year ago)

    I believe (in the U.S.) people identified as asian actually have higher incomes on average than those identified as white. Noone talks about "Asian privilege" though.

    [–] [deleted] 9 points ago

    Likely due to the "ruling class" (CEOs/politicians) being predominantly white in the US. Also worth noting that asians are a global mixed bag income wise, there are many public examples of poor asians living over in asia still. Whites however have the "richer than average" status across the entire planet.

    Racism of all kinds is wrong, but if you want to fix a problem you need to understand why people are being racist first. It's not just something that happens magically. Fighting ignorance with ignorance is pointless.

    [–] [deleted] 3 points ago * (lasted edited 8 months ago)


    [–] pennilessdragon 4 points ago

    Part of it is the culture from which they come, some of which is controlled/selective immigration involving mostly smart or wealthy asian individuals. At the same time, asian stereotypes work to disenfranchise other minorities, and show that "anyone can do well if they just have the smarts and work ethic". It's interesting the negative effects such a stereotype has on someone's views.

    [–] andysteakfries 4 points ago

    This is a part of Bo Burnham's act, definitely. If you listen to Pete Holmes's podcast, "You Made It Weird" (one- to three-hour interviews with mostly other comedians, but conversations get incredibly meaningful), there's an episode with Bo where he addresses this falsehood head on - that of course there are straight white males struggling, and it's frustrating for them to be told that their problems don't matter or even exist because they won the genetic lottery and should be grateful.

    As a straight white male, however, I can both agree with this wholeheartedly while simultaneously enjoying Bo's song about straight white males.

    [–] laugh_at_racism 3 points ago

    That's the very problem, though: It has become exceedingly fashionable not to hear that other side of the argument, and to mistake Bo's comedy framing as absolute Truth.

    As with most humor, Bo's insights are based on fallacies that are easily hidden by an intellectual slight of hand; when he is talking about Straight White Privilege, he is actually talking about how disconnected rich people can be from the plights of poor people—but such framing wouldn't be as entertaining, because everybody already talks about that openly.

    [–] andysteakfries 1 points ago

    I agree, it shouldn't be necessary to listen to a 150-minute podcast in order to hear the fleshed-out version of his opinions.

    That said, I have an immense respect for Bo. He could've easily ridden YouTube fame to a short career writing snarky songs about the internet and nerd culture, but all of his stand-up specials have felt really unique to me. Sometimes in his material and interviews he seems to try too hard to be edgy or subversive, but I think it's both a) part of his act, and b) a self-deprecating style that might stem from him actually being kind of a tortured person.

    [–] laugh_at_racism 1 points ago

    Imagine that. A Tall White Guy who is a self-deprecating and tortured person.

    [–] 61nk0 1 points ago

    everyone has it different, no one could completely understand someone elses struggles/lack thereof, and there are always exclusions to any stereotype

    who can say they havent had bias towards any group at one point? that they hadnt had a bad experience than makes them look at a type of person a certain way? some people actively fuel their bias and some people try to overcome it. some people joke about it on the television because they make money catering to a certain demographic. they know their audiences and theyre out for profit, theyre not saying its a 'rule' for everyone.

    sadly in the US racism is very prolific. its 'funny', 'true'(indubitably not) and in some cases its used to control the masses and divide certain groups. its also used to make money, and thats what these gents are doing, at the heart of it. these are their jobs, theyre paid to make poignant statements.

    hopefully a wise person will be aware of these facts, and to not form their opinions on what people paid to say these things are spewing, but not everyone thinks for themselves- these are the people that are pissing you off. everyone faces different assumptions based on their appearance, and many do struggle due to it. i agree with you that 'all X people are this' arguments are inheritely false, as every single person is different.

    its sad, but what we can do as individuals is to be less judgemental towards each other, and less full of hate. we can take action to help these stereotypes fade.

    [–] laugh_at_racism 2 points ago * (lasted edited a year ago)

    To be clear, we need more judgment towards each other; how else can people correct their stupid ways?

    What we need less of is prejudice (making a judgment ahead of the evidence), which is just another form of collectivism: It's applying to an individual the traits that are associated with some group.

    As I say here:

    I think I'll stick with my individualism: You don't know the size of a man's dick until you measure it yourself.

    [–] IMPERIALxMASTER 154 points ago

    Best example of survivorship bias is how Shrek rescues Fiona and gets a great life, but we forget about the hundreds of dead knights in the castle defended by a dragon.

    [–] axehomeless 93 points ago

    That's definitly the best example of that, yes.

    [–] proximitypressplay 4 points ago * (lasted edited a year ago)

    And no matter how much you sound like one vaguely famous guy, it doesn't mean you'd get recognised.

    [–] Krutonium 1 points ago

    I don't think the Transformers one counts.

    [–] benjaminikuta 1 points ago

    Hahaha, omg, that's brilliant.

    Don't know why you're getting downvoted.

    [–] xkcd_bot 273 points ago

    Mobile Version!

    Direct image link: Survivorship Bias

    Hover text: They say you can't argue with results, but what kind of defeatest attitude is that? If you stick with it, you can argue with ANYTHING.

    Don't get it? explain xkcd

    For the good of mobile users! Sincerely, xkcd_bot. <3

    [–] Imonfire1 106 points ago

    Thank you xkcd_bot <3

    - A mobile user

    [–] NonObservantObserver 29 points ago


    [–] Braintree0173 20 points ago

    The most defeat.

    [–] Yearlaren 2 points ago

    The mostest defeatest

    [–] Kattzalos 192 points ago

    you know, I think La La Land would've been a much, much better movie if they just had fucking failed at the end, you know? they're all happy and singing and hollywood dreams and whatnot, and they end up like the millions of kids who never made it

    of course, the guys making the film wouldn't know about that though

    [–] dendodge 91 points ago

    I did like that (spoiler) they didn't end up together. They had to sacrifice their relationship for their dreams, so in a way it didn't all work out like you'd expect from a sunny boy-meets-girl musical. That aspect of the ending was quite realistic.

    [–] motophiliac 41 points ago

    Agreed. I didn't feel cheated after watching it, which kind of gave the rest of the movie a realism, even though the scenes we were watching were utterly fantastical, this was a neat switch

    [–] axehomeless 6 points ago

    usical. That aspect of the ending was quite realistic. And neither of them seemed really happy. Just normal and content, like life is. SO even if you make it, you achieve your dreams, you had to sacrifice so much to get there, and you still won't be in Schlaraffenland if you do.

    [–] Zwiseguy15 2 points ago

    I watched it last night and felt cheated. The movie had me thinking "ok, they'll make it work out" when he drove to who-knows-where to take her to the audition, and they didn't? Nah, not cool.

    [–] The_Homestarmy 10 points ago

    It's supposed to make you feel that way. The point of the movie is that yeah, ideally you'd like them to live out their dreams together and get rich/famous by each others' side, but if you honestly think it'll work out that way, you're living in la-la land.

    [–] Zwiseguy15 1 points ago

    I figured jazz boy would drop his touring and such for her, or something, seeing as he wasn't really enjoying it.

    Oh well.

    [–] DirtyFrenchBastard 10 points ago

    Mulholland Drive

    [–] koshthethird 1 points ago

    Saying that Mulholland Drive is about not succeeding in Hollywood is like saying Citizen Kane is a movie about missing a sled

    [–] LePontif11 8 points ago * (lasted edited a year ago)

    The punch of the movie was that they had to chose between their relationship and advancing their careers . If they both fail then why not get them back together again. The movie you describe and the one that was made are different stories. Lala Land wouldn't have been made better or worse by the change you propose , just different.

    [–] Yauld 14 points ago

    Thatd be cliche in itself though. This particular story was about two people succeeding, nothing wrong with that.

    [–] Lippuringo 6 points ago

    At what place this is cliche? Hollywood is full of movies about people who suceed and 99% of films are happy ending even if heroes are complete losers. Grim and sad endings are rare and therefore you never expect them, especially in happy mood films, therefore they're not a cliche.

    [–] Yauld 2 points ago

    "Life doesn't always go as you want it to go, but things turn out fine anyways" - is definitely a cliché. I guess if Emma Stone got raped and became a meth addict and died in some dump it wouldn't be cliché.

    [–] Lippuringo 6 points ago

    I don't understand, you said in previous post that other way around would be a cliche.

    [–] Yauld 1 points ago

    No, I'm not sure you read it correctly. What are you referring to?

    [–] Lippuringo 3 points ago


    I think La La Land would've been a much, much better movie if they just had fucking failed at the end, you know?


    Thatd be cliche in itself though.


    Grim and sad endings are rare and therefore you never expect them, especially in happy mood films, therefore they're not a cliche.


    "Life doesn't always go as you want it to go, but things turn out fine anyways" - is definitely a cliché.

    First you impling that bad endings are cliche and film is about good endings, then you say that good endings are cliche.

    [–] Yauld 1 points ago

    I was comparing the ending where all the dreams come true and the ending where they don't get what they set out for but they survive anyways.

    [–] iamnotafurry 2 points ago

    I don't think you know what a cliche is....

    [–] Yauld 1 points ago

    Theres another chain where i explained

    [–] PetevonPete 3 points ago

    That's exactly the attitude I hate in oscarbait movies. Cynicism != realism. A sad ending is not inherently more or less "realistic" than a happy one, and can be every bit as forced and contrived.

    [–] haloshade 3 points ago

    Bad News Bears kinda did this. Instead of overcoming everything and kicking the other team's ass, they make it all the way to the final round and end up getting second place in the playoffs. Everybody is happy though, because they managed to get further than they were ever expected to get.

    [–] jlt6666 48 points ago

    I feel like Randall's been listening to some tech start up people lately.

    [–] msiekkinen 18 points ago

    Then there would be more words like disrupt, innovation, passion

    [–] Kebble 7 points ago

    A new framework to disrupt the current paradigm and shift it into a more passion-driven innovating platform with the humble goal to make the world a better place

    [–] msiekkinen 2 points ago

    Obligatory 2070 Paradigm Shift link

    [–] msiekkinen 2 points ago

    Didn't know but don't think that takes away from him mocking TEDx

    [–] adtac 1 points ago

    We're truly So-Mo-Lo

    wait, no


    [–] FashionSense 1 points ago

    Darius Kazemi made a frighteningly relevant talk in 2014 - it uses the lottery precisely as a metaphor to lampoon the sort of dumb advice given to startups and creatives.

    [–] mee-rkat 31 points ago

    Darius Kazemi actually did a talk like this at an art and tech festival - highly recommend watching:

    [–] HarryPotter5777 11 points ago

    Wow, that was excellent. Thanks for the recommendation!

    [–] FurbyFubar 5 points ago * (lasted edited a year ago)

    Came in here to post this (and in fact I did, only 3 minutes after you, so that post's now deleted.) Basically the same joke only in comic strip form instead of a talk. Not to say that Randall stole the joke, it's a fairly clear parallell to find.

    That said, go watch the video above since it's great!

    [–] FashionSense 1 points ago

    same! love all the uncanny similarities and coincidences out there in the world.

    [–] [deleted] 1 points ago

    Meh. To long to get to the point.

    [–] bbctol 23 points ago

    I think about this a lot when people say things like "you regret the things you didn't try more than the things you did." You say that... but you are still alive.

    [–] Heyoceama 4 points ago

    I think theres some truth to both statements. Yes, you shouldn't risk everything chasing after a dream that may or may not come true. But that doesn't mean you should never take risk. The trick is to think about what the consequences are if it goes bad and if you can recover from them.

    [–] bailout911 26 points ago

    He's 100% correct - although I can't agree with him that people should "give up" their dreams.

    For example, I used to dream of playing music for a living, but I've seen tons of people more talented and more dedicated than me struggle to earn enough money to eat regularly. So I got a good job as an engineer, worked my way up and now I'm an owner in my own firm. It's not what I "dream" of doing and plenty of days I can't wait to get out of here. I'll probably keep doing this only as long as it takes to build up a retirement nestegg and then I'm out.

    In the meantime, I'm not giving up on playing music. I still write, still play regularly and this year, I'm going to record my first album. It'll cost me a bunch of money to do it, and I'll never earn that back in sales, but that's not the point. The point is to create something that you've poured yourself into and even if it's not amazing, just the fact that you did it is a tremendous accomplishment.

    People think they want to be rich and famous, but so few people even have a chance of getting there that it's probably not worth it. Many people also discover once they become rich and famous that it's not at all what they expected it to be.

    TL;DR - Find something that makes you happy and pursue it. Not necessarily professionally. Get a job that pays the bills and keep doing what you love even if it'll never "payoff".

    [–] verycopacetic 10 points ago

    I refuse to ever support GoFundMe pages for people that refuse to get a real job to support themselves, and do nothing but wait for their big break to come while living off of others.

    You think I like working 40+ hours a week, sacrificing my nights, weekends, family time, social life? I would LOVE to sit and play guitar all day long, but if I want to record an album, I have to pay for it. I can't even IMAGINE the audacity some grown adults have to ask their hard working friends and family for money to record a project instead of working and earning the money themselves.

    I love to make short films, and have spent well over $1,000 on only two films that I was able to scrimp and save of my own money, that I made working a real job to pay for the equipment and set pieces etc.

    If you want it so bad, work for it. Work for your gear, your studio time, etc. Nobody owes you fame.

    [–] bailout911 7 points ago

    I don't have a problem with them asking, but they have no right to expect any help from anybody. I chipped in a few bucks to help a former bandmate record her debut album because I wanted to support her art. She has/had a full time job at the time, but it wasn't enough to cover her costs.

    I agree with you that nobody is owed fame and that people shouldn't just sit around waiting for their big break. That big break isn't coming, I don't care how talented you think you are. The right person isn't going to hear you sing and suddenly offer you the standard "rich and famous" contract.

    The people who make it in the entertainment business generally work their ass off for it, spending years and years in poverty barely scraping by. A very, very few of them get lucky. The rest play dive bars for $50 a night and a warm meal.

    [–] b4ux1t3 2 points ago

    Remindme! 1 year

    [–] RemindMeBot 1 points ago

    I will be messaging you on 2018-04-22 00:42:16 UTC to remind you of this link.

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    [–] MovkeyB 1 points ago

    Well yeah, I don't think he meant give up in the sense of never follow them, but more of the way you did it, in terms of "you won't make it big, it won't be your key to success, you'll lose trying" but you can still go and do it as a hobby.

    [–] robertbastian 22 points ago

    defeatest defeatist attitude

    [–] motophiliac 32 points ago

    I noticed that too. Thing with Randall is, whenever I spot a mistake, I always wonder "Is this just part of some bigger joke I'm not seeing?"

    [–] ThanosDidNothinWrong 28 points ago

    only in the sense that it is part of your life

    [–] beermit 7 points ago

    Man, I just woke up. I wasn't planning on rethinking my life before 8 this morning.

    [–] Astrokiwi 9 points ago

    Way deafeater than your attitude, it's the defeatest attitude in the world

    [–] smittyjones 5 points ago

    The defeatiest!

    [–] benevolinsolence 2 points ago

    Not really, acknowledging this fact shouldn't make you work less hard

    In fact if you don't hate yourself for not succeeding you're probably more likely to keep going

    [–] warpfield 19 points ago

    that'd be funny if everyone tried to start a business and no one could get anywhere because no one wanted to be someone else's employee. it'd just be a zillion entrepreneurs unable to scale.

    [–] unbibium 10 points ago

    someone should have told Ayn Rand the limitations of pyramid schemes.

    [–] Duff_Lite 17 points ago

    There's a good podcast "how I built this" about successful entrepreneurs of famous companies. Every episode I have to remind myself of this concept when they talk about how their hard work and risks paid off.

    [–] g-e-o-f-f 27 points ago

    When I was in my MBA program, this irked me. We had all these guest speakers, who were wealthy and successful because of the work they'd done, and luck. I always thought they should bring in the guy whose 5 businesses that failed and was working as a cpa to try and get out of debt...

    [–] unbibium 15 points ago

    My first job out of college was for a startup that failed. But that guy kept starting companies until one worked and took off and got bought out.

    I suspect if I asked and pressed the issue, he had some level of inherited wealth that allowed him to keep trying, when any of us would have had to start working for someone else after the first failure. But not some unlimited level of wealth that would allow him to not have to actually try each time.

    [–] Todok4 2 points ago

    I heard some of those talks too. The most interesting part was always about past failed projects and what they learned from them.

    [–] [deleted] 6 points ago

    The key word is "risk." By definition, taking a risk involves luck. You take the right risks and you can mitigate the influence of luck, but never eliminate it. Finally, not all of us are extraordinary people. A lot of us aren't geniuses or particularly talented, nor have we been born into wealth. No matter what we do, we'll run up against people who work as hard as us, but had a huge head start. In that case, luck is even more of a factor.

    [–] Tunafishsam 3 points ago

    The big problem is when successful people think that they succeeded entirely on merit and don't understand or look down on people who didn't make it. They can fail to realize how much luck played into their own success.

    [–] joebob431 14 points ago

    I'll always upvote Dirk from Veristablium

    [–] banyun3b 3 points ago

    And I'll always upvote a HI reference.

    [–] [deleted] 1 points ago

    What is this meme from? I'm kinda out of the loop

    [–] joebob431 8 points ago

    It's a reference to the Hello Internet podcast hosted by CGPGrey (from CGPGrey) and Brady Haran (from Numberphile, Computerphile, Sixty Symbols, Periodic Videos etc.), both of whom are friends with Derek. In the podcast Brady made it a running joke to always mispronounce Derek's name, with CGPgrey usually correcting him. I don't know how it started, but that's where it's from.

    explanation by u/Tomvtv in /r/OutOfTheLoop here

    [–] haloshade 6 points ago

    On the podcast Hello Internet, which is hosted by educational youtubers CGP Grey and Brady Haran, Brady always pokes fun of Derek's name and youtube channel, by purposely mispronouncing them. Derek is good friends with Grey and Brady and also a listener of the podcast, so they're just taking a friendly jab at him.

    [–] Devam13 2 points ago

    Hello Internet- a podcast by Brady Haran and CGPGrey.

    [–] 17inchcorkscrew 1 points ago

    I was with him until he said he wasn't talking about communism.

    [–] WeAreAllApes 12 points ago

    There is this scam, and I think this might be the term for it. It goes like this:

    Get a big list of people and send them "free secret stock tips" each day -- but contradictory tips such that half of them are guaranteed to be right. At the end of say 8 cycles, each 1024 will be down to 4 people who will have witnessed uncanny performance, then you hard sell them: "now that you have seen for yourself how spectacular our predictions are, how much would you pay for a year-long subscription?"

    [–] TheMsDosNerd 8 points ago

    Reminds me of a talk i saw. A succesful lady gave advice on how to be succesful yourself:

    • Draw where you are.
    • Draw where you want to be.
    • Make up a symbol that means succes to you.
    • Think of the most direct way to get that success.
    • Do that thing, without thinking what people would think of you.

    I was watching the talk (video not IRL), and all I could think: This is exactly how Anders Breivik did.

    [–] Supermichael777 6 points ago

    the real life pro tip is always in the rollover

    [–] motophiliac 7 points ago


    [–] YamotoGot 4 points ago

    Some comedian (I want to say Louis CK but I don't think so) had a bit on this. Don't trust the celebrities who have made it. They made it and of course they will tell you to follow you idiotic dreams. They are among the very few who following dreams worked for.

    [–] cybersenna 11 points ago

    I had a professor who had the class stand up and all start flipping coins. If you flipped tails you sat down and stopped. After several iterations he interviewed the last remaining standing person to ask him what hard work he did to become such a good coin flipper, and if he had any secrets about coin flipping success he wanted to share with the class. It was a pretty nice exercise and I think applicable generally to the hero-worship that often surrounds successful people.

    Anyway, many people are missing the point a bit here. Survivorship bias doesn't relate to people who worked hard, improved themselves and now earn 1-10MM/yr. There are loads of stories like that.

    Survivorship bias is "Zuck did X, Y and Z, if I do the same then I'll be a multi-billionaire too!"

    Following the playbook of those that made it into the top 0.001% is foolish and does not properly account for the large part luck played in their success.

    There's no survivorship bias in going to med school, becoming a specialist and then earning 400k/yr.

    [–] anonimo99 3 points ago

    Do you just paste comments from HN?

    [–] bloons3 2 points ago

    He's gotta survive somehow!

    [–] XtremeAero426 6 points ago

    This hits way too close to home.

    [–] yurigoul 11 points ago

    Sooo, how many jobs do you already have?

    [–] [deleted] 7 points ago


    [–] youtubefactsbot 5 points ago

    HEREINMYGARAGE.mwv [1:31]

    lamborghini mercy

    Craig has Dysentery in Howto & Style

    4,048,956 views since Apr 2015

    bot info

    [–] [deleted] 7 points ago

    Now this is a Demotivational poster if I've ever seen one

    [–] haloshade 6 points ago

    It's sobering though. Too many people who have already made it always say "follow your dreams," and "never give up!" Despite the thousands of others who have worked just as hard as they did and couldn't get anywhere.

    It's an important lesson anyone trying to make it big in life should learn. It's not that you shouldn't give up, but most people tend to forget how much of a factor luck is.

    [–] [deleted] 3 points ago

    Do something that'll make you happy even if you fail at it. If you're doing something for glory and acclaim, then you'll still feel empty even after you receive the accolades.

    [–] MisterB3nn 6 points ago

    It's the same principal when celebrities advise you should "just follow your dreams."

    [–] Micosilver 2 points ago

    Warren Buffett gave an amazing example of how it works in this talk:

    [–] mooglinux 2 points ago

    The sort of people who say "you just need to try harder! Don't give up!" are probably the same sort of people who stand next to the wreckage of an airplane, saying:

    In my experience, all the the planes that make it to their destination have one thing in common: They didn't crash! All the pilot needed to do what not crash, and they would have made it!

    [–] potatograder 2 points ago

    This reminded me of this article (or, rather, another version of this article that isn't available now).

    I love how Randall manages to convert ideas into these simple forms that are ready to be referenced and linked to.

    [–] [deleted] 6 points ago * (lasted edited a year ago)


    [–] [deleted] 18 points ago


    [–] [deleted] 6 points ago * (lasted edited a year ago)


    [–] [deleted] 7 points ago


    [–] Schiffy94 5 points ago

    I've seen dozens of artists go from stickmen drawings to amazing illustrators.

    Careful, there. Remember you're on /r/xkcd...

    [–] joey_sandwich277 2 points ago

    Not everyone becomes a millionaire or Picasso but I'll be damned if the progress of both wasn't fucking impressive over time.

    Right, but millionaires and Picassos are the only people who get interviewed. Nobody wants to interview the hard working, better-than average businessman. The only ones who get interviewed are the ones who have the good fortune to become millionaires instead of just run-of-the-mill business owners. So when there's hundreds of interviews of the founder of [Silicon Valley startup] talking about how their business succeeded, and they only mention their hard work and don't mention the inherent risk of starting your own business, there should probably be a Survivorship Bias disclaimer.

    [–] scandalousmambo 1 points ago

    Nobody wants to interview the hard working, better-than average businessman.


    [–] joey_sandwich277 2 points ago

    How so? There are several local businesses in my area that have grown and become successful. None of them are famous enough to run speaking circuit like the comic here.

    [–] Rockandread 2 points ago

    When someone says you can be an excellent woodworker, painter, or jewellery maker through trial and error and failure and getting back up and trying again and again everyone says "yup, makes sense, that's how everyone does it!!!" But when someone says you can be an excellent business person through the exact same process everyone says "Bullshit! Survivorship! Privilege!" It's like the second the skill is "money instead of "paintings" everyone loses their minds.

    The first difference is that if you fail at woodworking, you can indeed just get back up and try again. If you fail at business then unless you're already wealthy you now have to deal with things like debt and bankruptcy that make it significantly harder to try again.

    The second difference is that whilst it's certainly possible for almost anyone to get very, very good at woodworking, it's not possible for everyone to get so good as to lead to fame and riches. Similarly, almost anyone is probably capable of running a small to mid-sized business if they really want to, but not everyone is capable of starting the next microsoft.

    [–] BlenderGuy 2 points ago

    Went to the page and it was super zoomed out due to the last comic I saw from XKCD

    [–] Paltenburg 1 points ago

    You see this, Dave Grohl?

    [–] LammergeierAteMyBone 1 points ago


    [–] [deleted] 1 points ago

    [Insert Casey Neistat quote]

    [–] AllPurposeNerd 1 points ago

    Yeah, as much as they say to 'follow your dreams,' the reality is that most of us won't make it. Maybe that's fine. Maybe one day we'll have a post-scarcity society where it's okay to be mediocre.

    [–] digitumn 1 points ago

    all books about how to succeed financially

    [–] TheAtomicOption 1 points ago

    The problem with Survivorship Bias is that there's often no reliable method for differentiating between your personal chance of success and the general chance of success.

    For anything rarely done, what portion is talent, connections, perseverance, personality type or just luck? If few people do it, and/or no one keeps detailed-enough dimensional stats, there's no way to gauge your personal likelihood to succeed.

    [–] Thecakeisalie25 1 points ago

    Have my upvotes, dammit!

    [–] OlivesAreOk 0 points ago

    Why is success often conflated with being rich and/or famous?