What are telltale signs that you’re working at a “sinking ship” company?

Small-company edition:

When pressured on the business by employees, CEO always starts with, "I need you to stay focused on…"

You have more than one MBA on the team.

You have a Chief Strategy Officer.

Your CTO just came out of a Phd program.

Your CEO sells instead of listens.

You have a launch party, and no customers attend.

Customers hate the product and vision, so the sales guy is fired.

You are not told the terms of the last funding round (5x liquidation preference?)

You never hear how much cash you have in the bank or see board meeting notes.

You complain about how the customers "just don’t get it" and aren’t "visionary."

Your CEO says revenue is coming in in two weeks, just after he gets a meeting with the buyer, negotiates price, gets it approved, agrees on terms, writes up up contracts, negotiates them, signs them, and invoices the customer on net 30 terms.

You add features because board members want them.

Your CEO calls himself a "visionary" in his bio.

The CEO keeps everything secret because, "that is how Apple does it."

The CEO approves all of the design decisions because, "that is how Apple does it."

You are selling a platform.

Co-founder agrees to bring in experienced execs but thinks they will report to him.

You are selling to schools, hospitals, or non-profits.

You are commercializing a technology.

Your value proposition is that you help workers break down organizational barriers and work cross-functionally.

Your business model assume you will become one of the 7 websites that the average user visits every day.

Your site is going to be ad-supported, and you have 1500 users.

CEO avoids eye contact.

It gets really quiet.

You get free lunch but have no customers.

Your free lunch is taken away.

You get asked, "how much do you really need to live on?"

You get a pay cut. Your co-worker disappears.

Your CEO still doesn’t make eye contact.

You get laid off and become a creditor to the company because they didn’t reimburse your last 5 expense reports.

The company declines to buy your unvested shares back.

The liquidation yields 5 Aeron chairs and an espresso machine, and Ashton Kutcher’s stock is senior to yours.

via What are telltale signs that you’re working at a “sinking ship” company? – Quora.

Americans Have No Idea How Few Gay People There Are

The Williams Institute at UCLA School of Law, a gay and lesbian think tank, released a study in April 2011 estimating based on its research that just 1.7 percent of Americans between 18 and 44 identify as gay or lesbian, while another 1.8 percent — predominantly women — identify as bisexual. Far from underestimating the ranks of gay people because of homophobia, these figures included a substantial number of people who remained deeply closeted, such as a quarter of the bisexuals. A Centers for Disease Control and Prevention survey of women between 22 and 44 that questioned more than 13,500 respondents between 2006 and 2008 found very similar numbers: Only 1 percent of the women identified themselves as gay, while 4 percent identified as bisexual.

Higher numbers can be obtained when asking about lifetime sexual experiences, rather than identity. The Williams Institute found that, overall, an estimated 8.2 percent of the population had engaged in some form same-sex sexual activity. Put another way, 4.7 percent of the population had wandered across the line without coming to think of themselves as either gay or bisexual. Other studies suggest those individuals are, like the bisexuals, mainly women: The same CDC study that found only 1 percent of women identify as lesbian, for example, found that 13 percent of women reported a history of some form of sexual contact with other women.

"Estimates of those who report any lifetime same-sex sexual behavior and any same-sex sexual attraction are substantially higher than estimates of those who identify as lesbian, gay, or bisexual," the Williams Institute’s Gary J. Gates concluded.

Of course, gays aren’t the only minority population that has an outsized place in the public imagination. Americans also “vastly overestimate the percentage of fellow residents who are foreign-born, by more than a factor of two, and the percentage who are in the country illegally, by a factor of six or seven,” according to a 2012 Wall Street Journal report on the social science of estimating minority groups. In 1993, a group of political scientists reported in Public Opinion Quarterly that “The extent to which minority populations are perceived as a kind of threat is … related to perceived proportions, though the direction of causality cannot be determined.” Correcting the misimpressions about the size of a minority group hasn’t been proved to have much impact on beliefs about them in the short-term, but that doesn’t mean that they might never.

One thing’s for sure: it’s hard to imagine the fact that so many think the country is more than a quarter gay or lesbian has no impact on our public policy.

via Politics – Garance Franke-Ruta – Americans Have No Idea How Few Gay People There Are – The Atlantic.

Biases of Non-Economic Thought

One of the first things that stands out is anti-foreign bias. When they contemplate economic interaction with foreigners, the general public gets unreasonably negative…

A second major pattern in the public’s economic illiteracy is make-work bias…In the long-run, blaming technology for unemployment is just silly. As the mechanization of agriculture beautifully illustrates, when machines replace people in one line of work, they switch to another…

a blanket anti-market bias…In the minds of public, prices apparently go up when businesses suddenly start to feel greedier. Economists, in contrast, expect businesses to be greedy year-in, year-out; but depending on market conditions, greed may call for prices to go up, go down, or stay the same…

A final catch-all category of economic illiteracy may be called pessimistic bias. Conventional wisdom has it that conditions are going from bad to worse. Most Americans think that real income has been falling for decades, most new jobs are low-paying, and doubt whether the next generation will have a higher standard of living. Economists think that this conventional wisdom is dead wrong.

via Economic Illiteracy, Arnold Kling | EconLog | Library of Economics and Liberty.

D-Day Could Have Become A German Holiday

… if D-Day had failed, Stalin would have ended up occupying almost all of German, which would have significantly changed the balance of power in the Cold War. Had the Allies invaded France in 1943, rather than invading Sicily, they probably would have made faster progress than they did in 1944. VE Day would have come a year earlier, with the Allies capturing most of Germany.

My unending thanks to all the men and women who fought this day, and the entire war, in 1944. Via The Volokh Conspiracy » D-Day thoughts.

The Longer I Followed The Food Pyramid, The More I Took On Its Shape

Fat Head is a highly entertaining and informative (albeit zero-budget) documentary by a guy named Tom Naughton, who decided to try Spurlock’s experiment for himself. Naughton ate nothing but fast food for 30 days, but with two important caveats:

1. He didn’t eat whatever the clerk suggested, as Spurlock did. In other words, no super-sizing if he didn’t want to.

2. He kept his carbs to under 100 grams a day and his calories to under 2,000, using publicly available nutritional information about all the national fast-food chains.

Why these two important differences? As Naughton puts it, “Because I have a functioning brain.”

via Fat Head: the movie Michael Bloomberg doesn’t want you to see | The Daily Caller.