Welcome to the home of Noah Brier. I'm the co-founder of Variance and general internet tinkerer. Most of my writing these days is happening over at Why is this interesting?, a daily email full of interesting stuff. This site has been around since 2004. Feel free to get in touch. Good places to get started are my Framework of the Day posts or my favorite books and podcasts. Get in touch.

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Losing Your Edge

There’s a great interview with Brian Eno over at the Telegraph site. While the whole thing is worth a read (he makes a point about limitations that’s awesome), one thing in particular popped out:

“When people reach a certain level of success,” he says in soft tones that retain the flavour of East Anglia, “there are a lot of people encouraging them – nearly always to do more of the same. And when you’re working in the studio as a band, it is cheering when things come up that you recognise: ‘Oh, great! We know how to do this.’ But at the same time little shoots keep appearing of stuff you don’t recognise. They look promising but pretty clumsy, because new ideas always look clumsy at first. And you don’t know what to do with them, how to connect them. And I’m the one cheering for those things. ‘Let’s not do what we’ve done before, let’s do these new things!'”

Especially in relation to this little piece from Tyler Cowen asking, “Do influential people develop more conventional opinions?” His answer comes in six bullet points. Here are two highlights: “3. As people become more influential, their opinion of the status quo rises, because they see it rewarding them and thus meritorious.” and “6. Influential people are asked to write increasingly on general interest topics (“How to Be Nice to Dogs”) and thus they find it harder to be truly unconventional. They cultivate skills of conventionality because that is what they are paid for or allowed to express.” Good stuff.

March 16, 2009