Faking Video Game Familiarity

This is both bragging and screwing up cleverness.

Lower value than an alternative use of time is not negative value.

IIRC Reisman wrote something about this re opportunity cost. Something like that. (Not very confident in this memory. Read something relevant somewhere at least.) Basically said that if you make less profit than you could have, that isn’t losing money.

The Reisman argument is from his criticism of opportunity cost in “Capitalism” by George Reisman, Chapter 11, Part A, Section 6:

The doctrine of opportunity cost is not required for ascertaining how one might do better. Its sole contribution is obfuscation, not perception. Consider its implications.

Our store owner, if we are to believe such authors as Samuelson and Nordhaus, has lost $10,000. Nevertheless, he has gone through the year consuming $40,000 and adding $10,000 to his net worth. He has bought a car and taken a vacation, and, at the same time, added $10,000 to his bank account. If he in fact had had a loss of $10,000, this would not have been possible. Consuming $40,000, while losing $10,000, would have meant a decline in his net worth of $50,000. How can this discrepancy of $60,000 between the facts and the implications of the opportunity-cost doctrine be reconciled? How can the $10,000 increase in the store owner’s net worth, which in fact occurs, be reconciled with the $50,000 decrease in his net worth which the opportunity-cost doctrine implies?

The solution to this puzzle is a second step into unreality, a second fiction to balance the first. It is that in addition to incurring the loss he never incurred, the store owner is alleged to receive income he never received! For not only does he have a $10,000 loss, it is claimed, but he also earns $15,000 in interest and $45,000 in wages. His $50,000-profit income is, it is claimed, in reality[!] a $10,000 loss accompanied by $60,000 in interest and wage income! And thus, paradoxically, the very interest and wage incomes which were not earned, and the failure of which to earn supposedly gave rise to the need for counting them as costs, are treated as being earned! They are held to be simultaneously not earned and earned.

What is involved in this juggling must be spelled out more fully. The store owner forgoes $60,000 in interest and wage income by virtue of remaining in his present business. This $60,000 which he does not make is treated as an outlay of his business, despite the fact that no such outlay exists. This nonexistent outlay then causes a nonexistent loss. The nonexistent loss, however, contradicts the change in the store owner’s net worth. To reconcile this contradiction, the store owner is then credited with a nonexistent interest and wage income equal to his nonexistent payment of interest and wages. He allegedly now earns the interest and wage income he doesn’t earn and which, in not being earned, created the whole alleged problem in the first place. He supposedly pays the interest and wages he doesn’t pay, to himself, so he now receives from himself the interest and wages he doesn’t receive.

An analogy to this procedure would be the following. One gains ten pounds, but might have gained twenty pounds. This is then taken to mean that one has lost ten pounds. When one’s alleged loss of weight cannot be reconciled with the fact that one is now ten pounds too large for one’s clothes, one’s oversize is explained on the grounds that one’s clothes have shrunk the equivalent of twenty pounds. Or: one marries a pretty woman, but might have married a very beautiful woman. This is then taken to mean that one has married an ugly woman. When the woman’s alleged ugliness cannot be reconciled with the fact that she is pretty, her prettiness is then explained on the grounds that she has had plastic surgery.

That thread sure turned into a Stripe ad halfway through (with no upfront warning), posted on patio11’s personal Twitter, using data and a graph from Stripe (presumably with authorization), with no clarity about what is going on.

I told him https://twitter.com/curi42/status/1465758037533081600

patio11 didn’t reply to me. seems shady since i’ve never seen him address the issue elsewhere (it’s not a FAQ that he’s tired of answering, nor something that wouldn’t be worth addressing even once)

Based on what the lawyer says around 31min, it seems like what patio11 is doing for Stripe is illegal. He has said stuff like “opinions my own” which means a consumer would expect it to not be an ad. Doing “any advertising message” that way is apparently illegal.

What is patio11’s defense? My first guess is he would claims the tweets, newsletter and blog posts are not Stripe ads. But he literally does things like explain a new Stripe feature and why it’s good and then say stuff like “if that sounds interesting, come work for us” and link to Stripe’s careers page (advertising to prospective employees, not just consumers, is important advertising – recruiting/hiring is an ongoing major challenge in many industries and is especially important in tech/software).

My second guess is he would admit doing advertising for Stripe but say he disclosed that he works for Stripe so it’s OK. But if you post stuff on your personal social media, and claim its just your own opinion, that then counteracts/denies the disclosure.

And patio11 has not disclosed his specific role at Stripe, nor whether he owns equity in Stripe (I think he does, but I read him a lot and don’t recall him ever saying so) or has any payment incentives for recruiting employees or for any other results. It seems like he works in marketing or something in that ballpark and spreading the kinds of messages he does on his personal social media seems like it’s actually directly related to what he’s paid to do. It seems like e.g. Stripe would be less likely to fire him, or deny him a raise or promotion, while it’s getting this ongoing benefit from his allegedly-personal actions. He’s not just a coder who likes to talk about Stripe stuff in his free time. His social media communications about Stripe seem semi-organized and intentional (he brings up new Stripe stuff on a regular basis, in his newsletter he mentions Stripe a little bit but not too much that it’d seem like an ad but he keeps finding a way to promote them – it actually reminds me of The Fountainhead talking about subtle press campaigns.)


“Yes. But in the meantime, keep the public interested. Get yourself a good press agent and tell him how you want it handled. I’ll give you the name of an excellent one. See to it that there’s something about the mysterious Stoddard Temple in the papers every other week or so. Keep ‘em guessing. Keep ’em waiting. They’ll be good and ready when the time comes.”


“I mean I’ve noticed it [The Gallant Gallstone] all over the Banner in the last few weeks. Very nicely done, too, if it took me that long to discover that it wasn’t accidental.”
“What do you mean?”
“What do you think I mean? Why should that particular title appear continuously, in the most inappropriate places? One day it’s in a police story about the execution of some murderer who ‘died bravely like the Gallant Gallstone.’ Two days later it’s on page sixteen, in a state yam from Albany. ‘Senator Hazleton thinks he’s an independent entity, but it might turn out that he’s only a Gallant Gallstone.’ Then it’s in the obituaries. Yesterday it was on the women’s page. Today, it’s in the comics. Snooxy calls his rich landlord a Gallant Gallstone.”

patio11 has been doing something along these lines (in addition to direct advertisements to e.g. work at Stripe) while claiming it’s just his personal opinions.

if you know someone else who does the same kind of thing as patio11 – especially if they are not a founder – i’d be interested. his actions seem like an outlier to me, not something normal.

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This is a subtle, manipulative way to get more people to apply to Stripe.

One of the main meanings of asking “Mr. Market” what salary you’re worth now is applying for jobs. Where might you apply if you are the kind of person who reads a patio11 tweet? Stripe would be high on the list.

He’s also implying that Stripe is offering high salaries since it’d certainly be one of the places where he knows something about salaries. He presumably wouldn’t be tweeting this if Stripe was a counter-example.

Also, after receiving some private replies about tech salaries over the last two years, I concluded that patio11 was exaggerating.

Why might patio11 exaggerate? Due to the large conflict of interest. He wants to get people to apply to Stripe. He also wants to hype up tech, Silicon valley, web startups, etc., as a highly successful and high-paying industry. He’s bet his career on that stuff and wants people to respect it, fund it, join the industry as employees, start more web startups that might use Stripe for payments, etc.

A bluecheck defended patio11 (and, by replying to me with a bad defense, actually made it easier and socially less aggressive for me to push harder – he gave me a convenient opportunity to speak about it again):

How can patio11 write:

At Stripe, we’re responsible for protecting our users and the financial ecosystem from these sort of threats. We have done a few things.

And anyone thinks it’s his personal opinion?

So we baked interventions into Stripe Checkout. This raises the cost to attackers of scaled card testing attacks, attempting to break hackers’ economic model.

He’s telling us why to do business with Stripe, and he’s directly speaking for/as Stripe, not himself.

This is such a blatant ad. On his personal Twitter, which he denies is used for business purposes. (He’s done this kind of thing over a dozen times before. This is just another example.)

It’s like those blogs that accept paid placements of ad articles, don’t label them as ads, and pretend its their own opinion.

As far as I can tell, patio11 thinks he gave a disclaimer – opinions my own! my personal stuff! don’t blame Stripe for any errors! – and then stopped thinking about it because he’d done his duty. He forgot that that disclaimer doesn’t work if it’s a lie. A disclaimer like “don’t blame my employer” is there to protect your employer (and to reduce how much they care if you post anything offensive) but is inappropriate when you post stuff on your employer’s behalf. Stripe should be responsible for the ads its employees post for it, and no one should lie to the public and pretend they aren’t ads.

What are the chances patio11 would write the same tweets after he quit Stripe? Zero. So they are not his own personal opinions as he claims.