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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Bureaucracy

Clay Shirkey’s write-up on the collapse of complexity is worth a read in its entirety, but one paragraph in particular jumped out at me:

Bureaucracies temporarily reverse the Second Law of Thermodynamics. In a bureaucracy, it’s easier to make a process more complex than to make it simpler, and easier to create a new burden than kill an old one.

This wasn’t because it was magically insightful, but rather because it reminded me of the most memorable thing I heard at SXSW (which I haven’t talked about much around here). It came during a talk called Gaming the System with 4chan hosted by moot and Jason Scott. Both came from Jason Scott, first noting that “before there were trolls there were bureaucrats” and then noting that the thing that people like so much about the game of Wikipedia is that you get to play a character no other game has: The bureaucrat. Fun stuff for a Friday evening.

April 2, 2010