Smart people Stupid things

Smart people do stupid things. Do stupid people come up with smart ideas too. Ideas that can make a billion unicorns out of me-too ideas.

Smart people doing stupid things is a thread on Quora with 600,000 views and 100+ answers. Clearly there is a lot of public examination on smart and stupid stuff. Of course smart people say stupid things sometimes. There is an Internet of Things and there is an Internet of Stupid Things.

Intelligence is a fascinating concept. All humans are supposed to be equal, but clearly some people are intelligent in some things. A few are intelligent in many things compared to the average. How do societies, governments and venture capitalists fund smart people to do smart things.

Business Insider, the Jeff Bezos funded web startup was kind enough to scrape, aggregate, curate, collect a few answers. I am returning the kindness to put the bullet points here. Artists steal. Great artists get inspired.

Stupid Things done by Smart People

  1. Overthinking, overplanning and underdoing
  2. Follow the herd mentality
  3. Risk Averseness
  4. Giving up too soon
  5. Undervaluing social skills, networking and social bonhomie
  6. Not recognizing their own cognitive biases. I scraped some stuff on that shit here. Cognitive bias deals with bad decision making due to biases.Cognitive biases are tendencies to think in certain ways that can lead to systematic deviations from a standard of rationality or good judgment, and are often studied in psychology and behavioral economics.Among the “cold” biases,
    • some involve a decision or judgement being affected by irrelevant information (for example the framing effect where the same problem receives different responses depending on how it is described; or the distinction bias where choices presented together have different outcomes than those presented separately)
    • others give excessive weight to an unimportant but salient feature of the problem (e.g.,anchoring)
  7. Ego. Life is a bitch. Karma is a bitch. Ego is the dumbest bitch. There I said it.
  8. Equating education with intelligence ( a cognitive bias I think) . But the school you went to (Stanford) or dropped out affects people more than it should. Just saying.
  9. Underestimating the competition
  10. Getting wrapped in their own theoretical world and failing to see reality. Sometimes the basic data on the assumptions on the product, produce, process, people or profitability has moved. Reality is a dose that is usually externally administered. Smart people should see reality on their own faster.

What is the stupidest thing I did? Losing my temper. Thats never smart. Did you ever lose yours?

 Intelligence as a demand- supply problem.

Can we measure intelligence as a statistical quantity. IF the world had a few geniuses (Einstein, Fermi) when the population was 1 billion, does it mean the number of geniuses has increased by six times. We could do it for bacteria so why not humans?

How would IQ scores be distributed for different countries and races. Ooh, now we are asking scary uncomfortable questions.


How do we increase the supply of educated geniuses in a country or location or race? Don’t say MOOC or Coursera, please. Intelligence is not that easy. Is it easy comrade?




Author: Ajay Ohri

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: