[extropy-chat] Top 1%

Anders Sandberg asa at nada.kth.se
Tue Mar 6 14:27:50 UTC 2007

Eugen Leitl wrote:
> No offense, but I very much doubt the most brilliant minds
> in the industry are working for Microsoft. *Everybody* is claiming
> to hire the top 1%. And everybody claims they're succeeding, too.

Sure they can! Just select the top 1% of the people applying to you, and
you can honestly say you have hired the top 1%. Who cares that it is not
the *overall* 1%? :-)

Assuming everybody pulls equally strongly, we should expect that the most
brilliant minds are most likely to work in the largest companies. So there
ought to be 76,000/17,787 = 4.27 times more brilliant minds at Microsoft
than Apple. Google ought to have 0.14 times the number of geniuses as
Apple. IBM 4.68 times more than Microsoft. However, I doubt the pulling
equally strongly assumption is true. But given the rarity of extreme
talent and that it may be tricky to reliably attract I still think the
size does matter - the law of large numbers almost always wins.

Whether the top 1% actually help much is another matter.

Anders Sandberg,
Oxford Uehiro Centre for Practical Ethics
Philosophy Faculty of Oxford University

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