Ive always truly believed that gullibility was one of humanity’s biggest, most exploitable weaknesses, if not the biggest. You can fake your way into almost anything with confidence and basic acting. I’m reminded of the folk wisdom about simply holding a clipboard and acting like you belong can get you into private areas of 90% of companies. All the fraud people fall for, all the scams, obvious phishing, you’d think we’d start educating people to be more skeptical/cynical but it keeps happening.
When I was much, much younger back in the 90s and obsessed with video games, I faked my way into one of the major industry gatherings which I won’t name, simply by pretending to be a “games journalist” and acting the part. A pack of fun looking business cards, a fake web site, and a cheap silk shirt was all it took. It’s incedible what people believe if you don’t break the air of sincerity. This was a harmless prank, but I can see how tempting it is to use this power for evil, and it’s evidenced by the fact that so much fraud continues to be successful.
How, besides education, do we turn off this trust-by-default gene? It’s really an evolutionary dead end.
Trust-by-default is pretty much the definition of social capital, which is thought to be incredibly important for a functioning society. Basically, it's more efficient to trust people and be exploited once in a while, than to never trust anyone, which would lead to high transaction costs for any social interaction.
Short intro by Robert Putnam, the big cheese in the field: http://robertdputnam.com/bowling-alone/social-capital-primer...
Exactly. The other day I was carrying 2 relatively heavy boxes (furniture; I just moved into a new place) and suddenly a guy comes up to me and asks if he can help me. At first I was kind of flabbergasted, but after a second I was like 'he's just trying to be nice' and gave him one of the boxes. We carried it until we arrived at my apartment complex and had a nice chat along the way. When we arrived we exchanged numbers, since I learned he was new in the city and looking to meet new people and improve his language skills.
If my mum knew about this she'd probably think I'm crazy, being afraid of someone running off with her stuff. But in the end I think "trust-by-default" is a good way of going about life and meeting new people. Also, there's still gut-feeling. Maybe I'm an outlier there but I'm pretty quick in determining if someone is being sincere or just sweet-talking me to get what he/she wants.
I of course don‘t have data to back this up. But, I think, a lot of it comes down to how you approach these sorts of situations. According to my experience, how open you are - and stay - in kind-of-sketchy situations will get you a long way in dealing with people that others might have just written off as „someone trying to scam me“.
That actually reminded me of a really cool poscast episode I listened to this week:
I think that‘s what most people do. I‘m actually waiting for me to be „completely duped“ one time and deliberately exposing myself to this risk. However, my experience so far has lead me to believe: Most people are really nice and the few that aren‘t shouldn‘t really be tainting your interactions with others that you just happen to not know yet.
There's a lot more depth to your insight than you may know. My favorite book of all time is "The Evolution of Cooperation." The book basically takes a biology question, and uses basic game theory and simulations to explore the idea of cooperation between species. The remarkable thing is that given certain evolutionary parameters, the "cooperate/trust first, and just retaliate if you've been cheated on" strategy is incredibly robust.
And honestly, what's the damage of the exploit in these cases? Someone who doesn't belong gets to be vaguely "part of things" for an event; that price, compared to the price of locking someone who does belong out, seems low.
Every place around the world I've been to has been incredibly hospitable -- and the more besieged by war, or poverty, the more hospitable places tend to be. More so than your average street in the USA.
As a foreigner, the types of interactions you have may not be reflective of interactions that require high trust. Such as selling/purchasing land, dealing with police and crimes, paying for large amounts of labor such as in construction or ordering large amounts of supplies.
It's much easier to do business in the US/Europe, you can just put your credit card number in and stuff shows up at your door step, even if it's in the tens of thousands or more in value. Obviously, you can get taken in the modernized countries too, but much less and if you do there are legal avenues.
In poorer countries, you have to be a lot more careful who you deal with and need a lot of references because people have experiences getting burned too often. Any place that openly gives bribes to cops (I know tons, usually they are in poverty) also illustrate low trust. Hospitality doesn't display the deep trust that makes doing business in places like the US/Europe easier.
As lotsofpulp has already mentioned, your experience will be drastically different if you're just visiting and if you're not a native. I lived in Asia and I'm also native. My family is still there, and I visit from time to time. If you haven't conducted business or dealt with law enforcement, it's hard to have a full picture; especially if you're just passing by.
I'd argue that what you call "trust-by-default" is an aspect of social intelligence that also enables a lot of very productive relationships. It has its downsides, of course, but I think you'd find that by removing that part of our psychology you'd end up with a miserable excuse for a society.
Agreed; Grice's Maxims/The Cooperative Principle suggest that communication would not even be possible without these kinds of generous assumptions. And I don't think it's getting too quacky to extend that premise to society in general. Since it's so expensive to verify true intentions, when it's even possible at all (which, generally at least, in language, it's not), we have to sort of get by hoping that most of the time most people are being mostly honest in order to successfully communicate.
Of course, we all flout these maxims daily, to varying degrees, from white lies to outright perjury. But viewed as a Tragedy of the Commons, there are people who will advance themselves by deliberately and consistently flouting them, to their own calculated advantage.
Trust-by-default is a consequence of the fact that enough people don't exploit norms, don't lie. We're in no need of turning off the gene (assuming it's nature, not nurture, which I'm not so sure about), since if society found itself in a lie-dominant state (as opposed to truth-dominant), we wouldn't be as trusting anymore. (It's self-correcting already, without any need for manual override.)
It'd also argue that it's a lot harder for the majority of people to convincingly act and lie than you think (especially when they don't feel desperate or have grown up in a safe environment that doesn't force them to learn how to behave contrary to their natural instincts).
> you’d think we’d start educating people to be more skeptical/cynical but it keeps happening
I don't know... yes, these things happen all the time, but as an individual, 99.9% of your interactions are going to be mostly honest, and there IS a cost to being skeptical about every interaction (anger other people who you doubt, takes time, can lead you to miss opportunities, etc)
Are you so sure that the extra protection you get from being skeptical is worth all those little costs that add up?
Slightly OT, but House Of Games by David Mamet is a fantastic film that revolves around people playing confidence tricks on each other, and the film manages to play some pretty good confidence tricks on the viewer too. https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0093223/
I spent most of my 20s doing all kinds of things, from installing security cameras, to running cable, to on-site IT work - a lot of it in and around law enforcement (jails, police stations) - and I was often amazed at the kind of access you could get in some places just by showing up with some crimpers and a box of cat5 and telling the person up front that you're here for [whatever].
Like you said, in many situations if you just act like you know what you're doing no one will question you.
That Balenciaga is an absurd shoe. It's the running shoe equivalent of a Gaudi hotel facade. It looks like it belongs on the cover of Yellow Submarine. The lines are crazy. The curves of the sole section near the front of the shoe are in a complicated dialogue with the curves near the back.
Check those tangents, man. If you've ever used something like illustrator, imagine where the spline controls would be. Then try the same with the Nike. They're different.
I wouldn't pay $800 for those shoes because for me, $800 is a lot of money. If I were megarich and I needed sneakers maybe I'd pick the Balenciaga out of an appreciation for how they're pushing the edges of sneaker space. I'd be more likely to buy nice leather shoes because they'd suit me better.
The reason you can't tell the difference between that and a generic sneaker for middle-aged men is that you're used to the higher fashion brands using a separate set of cultural symbols as their baseline instead of looking at the design itself. We've gone past that. Rich people aren't wearing wingtips to show how rich they are anymore.
In fact, "formal" clothing and couture has long been a way to show you're on the way up, not that you're there. Old money doesn't try to keep up with fashion.
Rich people want to wear sneakers, t-shirts, jeans, hoodies, and all the other normal sportswear that everybody else now wears but they want it to be interesting instead of generic. That's a valid role for a fashion designer. Not addressing that market would be idiotic.
The reason it's easy to fake your way to the top of fashion week is actually that 90% of everything is shit, in every field and at every level, so there's no way to look at a given person's stuff and say definitively "nope, I can clearly tell you aren't successful by the way your clothing designs look". You might kick Michael Kors out by accident.
in regulated/safety-critical industries such as automotive, aerospace & defense, medical, etc. where people's lives are at stake, 99% of end-user facing products are fantastic and you generally get what you pay for, with some minimum level of quality and manufacturer warranty
in high fashion, the politics are so vicious because the stakes are so low. and it has stirred emotions here because nobody likes to feel left out, and that's basically the point of high fashion, to appoint a select group of people as "cool" because they "get it" and can afford hot labels
I wouldn't say that this extends all through the art world - good design is key to a lot of functional and utility aspects of engineering or creating anything new. but nobody is going to be playing pick up basketball in their $800 balenciaga, or expecting any level of functionality/comfort from them besides fitting on their feet
> in regulated/safety-critical industries such as automotive, aerospace & defense, medical, etc...
I don't know that I agree. I'm not familiar with with aerospace software, but I see a lot of the user-facing bits of both automotive and medical devices/software. While the bits that are safety-critical may be rock solid (I've yet to see it fail in person), the UI design, maintenance, and UX in general leaves a lot to be desired.
For example, in my car, if the audio system is being driven from the bluetooth connection, you can't load the navigation screen. It will just spin forever. Switch to AM or FM radio, switch back to navigation, everything loads fine. How is that fantastic?
As another example, one of my doctors' office recently switched to using this big heavy cart thing for taking vitals measurements. The device is expensive, so they don't have nearly as many as they might have patients at one time, so I had to wait until one was free. The UI was slow and clunky (at best). To beat it all, the last time I was there all of the machines were shut down at the same time for scheduled updates (which was required to be done at a certain time, while the office was open), so it was back to the thermometer and blood pressure cuffs for me.
UIs in highly reliable machinery feels old because they're in development for so long (plus the manufacturers are typically blind to software UX).
Hopefully old car makers are currently considering easily updatable software (what an invention), so that we can have it in 3 years.
I think InitialLastName's point was (and it's my recent experience as well), that why the UI, in vehicles at least, may often be "modern" now to a relatively reasonable degree, the whole experience is often just shoddily put together. With obvious bugs that shouldn't have made it into a firmware version in the first place, and behind very strange user interaction concepts to begin with.
I concur. Last night I spent 30min trying to change the setting of my house heater. It's a Bosch heater, and one of the better quality brands. My! It bemuses how they could have gotten the UX so bad. It has only a handful of simple functions -- it reminded me of PG once mentioned he got an error message from trying to adjust settings on an oven. I have had similar experiences with my car. Did these designers even bother to use their own products.
> in regulated/safety-critical industries such as automotive, aerospace & defense, medical, etc. where people's lives are at stake, 99% of end-user facing products are fantastic and you generally get what you pay for, with some minimum level of quality and manufacturer warranty
As someone who used to work on the United States' most widely-used electronic health record, let me tell you that a lot of our end users would not be so rosy in their assessment.
>In fact, "formal" clothing and couture has long been a way to show you're on the way up, not that you're there. Old money doesn't try to keep up with fashion.
It's my job to deal with lots and lots of tremendously wealthy people (mostly billionaires). They usually wear formal or semi-formal clothes, or occasionally polos, etc. They do not wear Balenciaga, any of them, ever when I see them, in business environments or casual ones. On average they are older, but even the younger ones I know don't. In NYC the people I see in Balenciaga, Rick Owens, etc., work in fashion, or are European tourists.
I've heard it said that high fashion brands are meant to be bought by upper middle class people who want to emulate celebrities and the wealthy. Actual celebrities get given this stuff for free so your fashion conscious upper managers and lawyers see them wearing brand X and buy the same thing to emulate them.
I remember watching an interview on Golf Channel long ago, someone asked Bubba Watson about his $100k watch, and he said he would never ever spend that much money on a watch. It seemed like the wrong thing for a person who was sponsored to say, but it gave a glimpse into the way that some pro athletes feel about the things they wear.
Ugh, this is all stressing me out. I have an interview with a tech company in NY that interfaces with the fashion industry and I've worked from home for the past 3 years. My wardrobe consists of 3 pairs of jeans, 2 dad sweaters, 15 tshirts from various coffee shops and festivals, and 1 pair of target knock off slip on boat shoes.
I'm not much different, though I have probably 4-5 pairs of pants and 2 pairs of shoes, but that is mostly because I had to buy some for a "job" (It was language practice in a working environment, part of the joy of being an immigrant).
All pants are black: All shirts are black or darkish grey. I'm also female, and find fashion rules confusing.
Do you interact with them only in a business setting, or in social settings as well? And are they mostly older men? I am wondering if they also dress in formal attire in social situations, and if age/gender has something to do with it.
Both business and social settings, split pretty well between men and women though, probably 60/40. As I mentioned, they are typically a little older, which could definitely impact what they wear. But then again, I don't see their kids wearing expensive fashion brands either.
True story: I spotted Jack Dorsey 2 weeks rocking Balenciaga kicks and streetwear in Soho NYC. My point is fashion is just fashion and what you wear is relative to what you consider to be your "in group".
I only found out about Balenciaga recently, and since then I’ve seen two people wearing their gear: a young guy wearing their shoes, and a young girl wearing one of their sweaters. My theory is that they’re status symbols for kids with rich parents.
Sneaker heads buy Nike, or at a push Adidas. Sneakerhead.com has no results for Bakenciaga. It’s been a long time since the publication of Where'd You Get Those? 10th Anniversary Edition: New York City's Sneaker Culture: 1960-1987, but sneaker heads are about limited runs and artificial scarcity, not expensive shoes anyone with money can get.
Sorry... what? In fashionable places these are some of the most common high-end shoes I see people wearing. They're not very hard to buy or artificially scarce, just expensive, so they're not really a target for sneakerheads in the traditional sense of the word. They mostly care about specific colorways or variants that come in small quantities, or shoes that have just been released with constrained supply.
Looks like it would make a decent snowshoe though. Not a great one, but with such a large surface area for the sole it would be sufficient for walking around. I'd still rather spend the $800 on several pairs of real snowshoes and/or some x-country skiis.
It is great there is little objective difference between $800 and $55 pairs of shoes. It means the middle class can afford high-quality items and do not need to care if someone is willing to pay for the brand.
I also don't really agree. I think it'd be hard to find a high quality pair of leather shoes for $55 that you couldn't pick out of a lineup. But then you might need to know the difference to spot it. Kind of like when you learn what kerning is you see bad kerning everywhere. Cheap shoes (especially leather dressier shoes) are easy to spot by the sole and stitching. I've known a few people in service industry who've said a persons shoe is often a signal of wealth they can leverage.
I’d say that’s not quite what’s going on here. You can’t tell when someone else is wearing an $800 or $55 pair of shoes, but in my experience the $55 shoes tend to bite my heels and fall apart within the year. If you don’t care about the brand and have a middle-class income, I might spend $55 on shoes for a growing kid but $200 on shoes for myself that I know will last for years.
Not saying you can’t get good shoes for $55, just sharing my experience. Someone will come in with the Terry Pratchett quote about boots here any moment, or you can look up the quote for yourself.
Yeah this is 100% not the case when it comes to athletic wear. You are far more likely to get a comfortable well fitting shoe made by Nike, Addidas, etc than you are from one of the high end fashion designers. And it's pretty obvious why. At the end of the day your $300 Jordan's need to look good but they also have to be something you can be active in. Ball players you know actually play ball in them. Your $1000 Balenciagas just need to be expensive. The quality of the shoes is directly related to what you do in them. If you are buying trainers to run in, you probably want to replace them yearly if not every 6 months. If you're buying them to walk around in and because they look nice, yeah they'll last a lot longer. People treat their shoes based on the price they paid. You're not doing gardening in your $1000 sneakers but you might in the $50 pair of nikes you picked up at Nordstroms Rack.
Good shoes are expensive, but expensive shoes are not necessarily good.
Thanks to industrial processes, good shoes also have a maximum manufacturing cost. There are only so many features you can pack in to one footwrap designed to be worn on the surface of Earth. Springs, torsion bars, carbon fiber, pneumatic chambers, pockets, separated toes, non-Newtonian fluid insoles, flame resistance, arc reactor exhaust ports, or whatever. All of those things still cost less than the trademark logo.
You can avoid buying some bad shoes by filtering out those with low prices. You can avoid buying shoes with a bad price/quality ratio by filtering out those with high prices. You still need to carefully examine any that are left, because with shoes, quality influences price, but price has many complex factors and you cannot easily determine what fraction is due to the quality.
It was my mistake to interpret "shoes" as "athletic shoes" even though the example in the first post looked like running shoes. You do not need to spend more than 150 on running shoes. Boots are a different story.
Dress shoes and hiking boots are often in that range. A good $200 pair of dress shoes or hiking boots should last many years, even with constant use, as long as you take care of them. You definitely don’t have to spend $300 but if you’re willing to spend $150 you have a lot of options available.
For sneakers I’m not convinced that spending $200 is worth it. For hiking boots I’m pretty skeptical of anything I see that’s under $200, or maybe $150 on sale.
Sure but boots are a very different animal. I wouldn't call my hiking boots "shoes". I more had the shoe from the original comment in mind (https://www.balenciaga.com/us/triple-s-shoes_cod11271302nb.h...) which looked more like a walking shoe (sneaker) than a running shoe (that heel is massive). But it's definitely not a dress shoe.
When I ran a lot (avg. 20km/workday, more in the weekends), I’d wear down any shoe in a couple of weeks tried all sorts of running shoes in different price ranges but in the end I settled with buying cheap ~$50 shoes since I knew that I had to buy a new pair next month again.
If you live in a walkable city and you walk, there's no $800 shoe that would last you proportionately longer than $55 shoe. If you Uber everywhere or drive everywhere then it is quite possible that an $800 shoe would last 4-5 years.
Goodyear welted shoes can be resoled multiple times plus you can also glue a plastic sole over the leather one. The cost is 15$ and when you're wearing it out you simply replace it. Dainite soles are quite more long lasting than leather ones too. Goodyear > Blake > Cement.
Not only the construction matters but also the leather used in the upper. I can differentiate a 200$ shoe from a 500$ one at a glance, a good pair of shoes can be brought back to life even if they have been seriously abused. There are more durable leathers too like cordovan.
In clothing there are many garments where there isn't much of a correlation between price and quality but leather shoes and jackets isn't one.
It is too bad that the reply to this message got [dead]'ed because it contained the typical mistake that people make when talking about "fixing" something - the gist was that for $15 it is possible to replace the sole of a $55 shoe.
Here's the thing:
$55-$200 shoe can be had at TJMaxx or Marshalls for $25. Quality sole replacement is claimed to be $15. That's not really correct - it is closer to $40 in sole + labor + you need another pair of shoes while your shoe is being replaced but lets say that it is $20.
So even if there's no wear on the top of the shoe replacement of a sole would cost $20. Objectively, soles in a city would last ~6-10 months based on daily wear. This means that what we are evaluating is:
Shoe 1: $0 NRC + $25 every 6 months
Shoe 2: $800 NRC + $20 every 6 months
Man it will take a long time to break even on shoe 2
10-15$ is what it costs to glue a rubber sole over the leather one, I believe it's calle a topy in English. It's mainly used so you don't fall in slippery floors but can also be added for durability. A quality sole replacement for a goodyear welted shoe costs around 100$.
You're not buying an 800$ shoe for durability but for aesthetics and comfort. There isn't much difference in durability between a 200$ shoe and an 800$ one. There is a great deal of difference between a 55$ and a 200$ shoe.
I have 200$ shoes with dainite soles that have been worn three or four hundred times over the last 4 years and are completely new.
We can't evaluate how much a sole lasts objectively because we should:
- Specify the sole that is being used.
- The construction of the shoe.
- How the wearer walks.
- How many kms does he walk.
- Where he walks.
- The weather.
In my experience a dainite sole is perfectly fine after one year of usage. Some of my days have 30-50k steps. I don't wear shoes daily though because it's bad for them and I have 22 pair of shoes.
My reply wasn't stating that an 800$ shoe lasts 14.5 times longer that a 55$ shoe but the notion that a 55$ shoe will last around the same time. A 200$ will last 5 times more easily. An 800$ shoe will look better than a 55$ shoe 30 years later at a cost of a 100$ resole every 5 years. We should take into account the environmental costs of buying new low quality shoes every year instead of having 3 pairs of good value quality shoes (200$) and taking good care of them.
I wouldn't be able to tell you a priori what the price difference is, but the Balenciaga is obviously trying to be more avant garde, whereas the Nike looks much more ordinary, even conservative. It reminds me of the way (in my opinion) cars are more attractive up to a certain price point and then they get less attractive (to me) because really rich people want to show off that their taste is different from the masses.
I used to watch "Nathan for you" which is the somewhat comedic version of the business hacking theme. The difference is that the main protagonist did not always succeed. But when he got lucky and it worked, it was funny as shit.
Then again this is the world of fashion where reality doesn't matter, it's all about perception, brand and connections. His restaurant prank is even better. It would be impossible to keep up these feats for a length of time , but nevertheless it is impressive how he pulls them off.
My hypothesis is that everybody fakes their way into Fashion Week. It's all one giant LARP event that somehow spun out of control, and now nobody knows how it manages to keep going all by itself without any GMs, or how to stop it, if there were somehow an emergency that required it to not take place.
Now go re-read the Verge article or watch the video, presuming that everybody is faking, and see if the hypothesis can be falsified at any point.
The part where he gets the badge? That's just some person with a badge printer, playing the part of the registrar.
That part where he's trying to convince Italians that he's Italian? They're not Italian either. "Oh, of course I'll speak English to you, another completely genuine Italian person, for the sake of your photographer, obviously."
It's sort of surreal, actually. Because then you can expand the hypothesis outside of Fashion Week, and it never stops.
He was just a guest, so yeah, he can fake his way in... He didn't have a 'show' at fashion week.
The awful truth I learned is that everyone pays their way into fashion weeks. Every event is run by a production company, and their customers are the designers, who pay for the show. Pay more, get a better event, a better slot in the line-up.
My wife is a fashion designer ( high-end couture, lilymarotto.com ) and we've done 3 fashion weeks now, twice in NY, once in LA.. You (usually) get great photography, videography, and the cachet of saying you were at fashion week, you build a portfolio and use it to get your stuff in boutiques and attract customers... Best case, you get a really favorable writeup in some magazine, or are contacted by someone interested in working together. Difficult, expensive lottery tickets, in a sense.
It resonates though. I suppose many of us sometimes feel that we aren't the professionals we seem, that we're just faking and role-playing to the best of our ability, and somehow things turn out ok. Then there's a view that this applies to most adults, from janitors to leaders of nations, and the whole world is just one big fake fest...
I'd be inclined to agree. Granted, these people aren't fashion industry insiders...probably afficionados and possibly trying to break into fashion, but it certainly shows how fashion attracts the fake it til you make it persona. Whoever says whatever they say in the most confident and convincing way can be taken as an authority figure.
you re right, but the article says one of the persons was actually italian and he just nodded and "asked them to switch to english so his photographer can understand". which makes it even more brilliant
That was fun. Few years back a couple faked their way to President Obama's dinner at the Whitehouse. I think confidence is supremely important. I can't fake like this. I would get caught just by my looks when I lie.