Sep 5, 2013

Older, dummer, hungrier

I’ve been thinking about “age” recently. Age, they tell us, is a relative concept. Well, they’re wrong. As far as I can tell, age is only relative until you hit 35 and join a PhD program full of 20-somethings. Then you go from being relatively old to just plain old. Your fellow students call you “mamma bear,” find it miraculous that you can identify any music pre-1998 and exclaim at the fact that you’re a whole 12 years older than them, wondering if that’s weird for you. Yes, dear, that is weird for me, now be a darling and grab me my knitting while I go find my slippers.

Jesus, Mary, Joseph and other irrelevant biblical characters. What am I doing here?

Mostly, what I’m doing is dutifully copying down incomprehensible mathematical formulas that look something like this:

This is part of the definition for Pareto preference, the easiest thing we’ve done so far. A week ago I didn’t even know how to spell Pareto. Now… Well, now I know how to spell Pareto. The rest, I’m still figuring out. Why my life will be better when I do remains a mystery.

I have learned a few useful tidbits, however. For example, I can tell you that to increase your chances of selecting the best candidate for a job under the totally absurd condition that, after each interview, you can either hire them or reject them forever, you should screen and reject 37% of the candidates and hire whoever is best after that. In this case your chances of actually finding the best candidate are 37%. Yeah, not really useful, actually. I don't think that would have helped me much with my hiring problems at CoolCo Sub.


There is a point to my being here, I know there is. Not to feel as decrepit as Mathusalem or to practice writing squiggly lines and upside-down As, but to do some in-depth research about things that interest me and then (one hopes) to impart my knowledge to adulating crowds.

But that comes later. When? Dunno. Later. After the Pareto stuff and constrained optimization problems and probability solutions to other bizarre hiring practices.

Which is why one just has to put a big smile on one's face and think of cookies.


Anonymous said...

I first learned about your hiring algorithm in the context of dating - how many people should you date before picking "the one". The constraints made more sense there.

Anonymous said...

This post make me laugh res.
Cookies - "do you have to ask?". Well I guess Cookie Monster learnt to wait.
Time and cookies - "what is this quintessence of dust?" COOKIE!!