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Culture War Roundup for the week of October 30, 2023

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Off topic:

A reminder to everyone, we have a Telegram group with nearly 100 members. Join us: https://t.me/quokkas_den

Would be nicer if Telegram were not so utterly non-anonymous.

What's non-anonymous about it? One setting change to hide your phone number, then you're exactly as anonymous as any other platform, including this one.

Well, Telegram is rumoured to cooperate with authorities in most countries (and is a juicier/more likely target for the ones in mine), and I don't know how the number hiding works internally and wouldn't be surprised if it turned out to be a "the official client won't render it but it's there in memory"/"no phone number is there but there is a unique user ID that it is trivial to link to the phone number" thing. Also, if I recall correctly, Telegram gives you one globally consistent alias, and the number of real-life contacts I have on it necessitates that this hint at my real name.

I haven't seen anything I regard as solid for Telegram corporate providing significant special access to any authorities. There are a few articles with vague implications, but no actual results that would require such access. Most actual results I've seen seem to be from the authorities confiscating somebody's device and getting into Telegram etc on it, which is a problem, but not a Telegram problem.

A bit conspiratorial, but I have a feeling that the legacy media enjoys writing articles implying such things for Telegram specifically because they don't give any special access to anybody. They want people to believe they do and distrust them, so they use competitors such as Meta, Alphabet, etc which actually do give authorities the keys to the castle, who they don't write scary articles about.

It does do the unique username. I suppose if you already talk to a lot of IRL friends that expect it to be close to your real name it might be weird to need to join a bunch of super-anonymous groups. I guess you could create a new account, but I think it's tricky without a new phone number. I have written a few basic apps against it, as far as I can tell, the phone number truly isn't accessible if it's locked, but there is a unique integer user ID. But I'd stick with my point that's about the same anonymity level as any other platform.

Just don't use the phrase "I am 4bpp" and you are safe unless L from death note is after you.

NYT: Trump Leads in 5 Critical States as Voters Blast Biden, Times/Siena Poll Finds

Across the six battlegrounds — all of which Mr. Biden carried in 2020 — the president trails by an average of 48 to 44 percent.

Add it all together, and Mr. Trump leads by 10 points in Nevada, six in Georgia, five in Arizona, five in Michigan and four in Pennsylvania. Mr. Biden held a 2-point edge in Wisconsin.

This is a bit of a surprise to me, considering PredictIt has Biden up 42 vs Trump 37 (the rest are Newsom, DeSantis, etc), and Biden is at 53% on Manifold. ElectionBettingOdds.com has had Trump up for weeks now, though, so make of that as you will.

But the real reason I wanted to share the NYT article is just how delusional I thought the comments are. I'll post the top five, by number of reader recommends (i.e. upvotes).


Stats about the polling:

The polls of 3,662 registered voters were conducted by telephone using live operators Oct. 22-Nov. 3. The margin of sampling error for each state is from 4.4 to 4.8 percentage points. ...by telephone using live operators. Again with the voice call polling. So in other words people answering a phone call from unknown caller. This is anecdotal but I don't know anyone under 50 who answers a call from numbers they don't recognize or don't hang up when it sounds like a telemarketer.

41 Replies 1254 Recommend


What were the demographics of those who gave their views? And these individuals contacted, were they only speaking on land line phones? Very important considerations in determining the validity of such a survey.

21 Replies 634 Recommend


Regarding the folks who voted for Biden last time, yet will be supporting Trump in 2024 that were mentioned in the article, what I can't understand is if they voted for Biden solely because Trump's behavior turned them off, how is it that they are suddenly okay with it now? I'm especially baffled by this given that Trump's worst action was the Jan. 6 insurrection in my opinion, and that occurred after the 2020 Election.

7 Replies 591 Recommend


More than anything, these polls remind me that the Republicans are vastly superior at controlling the narrative and perceptions. Terrible at actually governing, but brilliant at marketing - especially fear-based marketing.

3 Replies 551 Recommend


The actual numbers on the economy don't translate to relief for working families. 6 years ago I could buy lunch from a food cart near work for $6. Now it's $11. Rent has increased by nearly 50 percent in that time, too. My income sure has not.

The people buying lunch are feeling it. So are the food cart owners.

The unfortunate part of this is Trump (or any other Republican running) won't do a thing to curb inflation or reorient the economy in favor of normal people. He's going to give more handouts to rich friends and billionaires.

Worse yet, he's going to head an anti-labor administration whose NLRB made it almost impossible to unionize. Biden still isn't the strong labor backer we need, as we saw with the rail workers strike, but it is at least much easier to organize under a Biden NLRB.

That's the only way working people are going to fix our economic situation: a president won't do it. We have to organize and demand a fair share of what we do.

14 Replies 510 Recommend


OK let me just share the next three because they're short:


These poll results defy common sense.

7 Replies 467 Recommend


never mind just the under 50. I'm over 70 and don't answer unknown callers. All this proves is the type of personality that answers unknown calls is more likely to vote for Trump.

In Reply to Darrell J 431 Recommend


How is this even possible? What a horrible headline to wake up to on a Sunday morning.

6 Replies 404 Recommend


I don't think the reader bias will surprise anyone, but what surprised me was just how emotionally skewed it seemed to be. It's like a mass mourning, with people trying to shoot the messenger (i.e. poll methodology) rather than accepting the message. The only comment that made sense to me, highlighting the perniciousness of inflation, still had to incorporate pot shots at Trump or the GOP. Anything for that upvote, I guess.

At any rate, I don't think this means all that much when we're a year out. No one knows where the economy will go in this time, or if Haley magically nabs the GOP nom, or if the Dems pull a 5D move and get Biden to withdraw after Trump gets the GOP nomination and have Newsom step in.

Low hanging fruit to pull zealots from comments sections, it’s not like Facebook comments on Fox News articles would be any better.

Skeptical Trump will win. Far from impossible, but I’d give Trump-Biden 30-70 odds. The “‘member Charlottesville/Jan6/Roe reversal” messaging has barely even begun, lots of liberals are performatively critical of Biden now because of inflation/Palestine/not being as progressive as they want etc etc. But I see little reason to believe they won’t come out against the great satan when the time comes. These people are going to be bombarded with 6+ months of messaging saying that women will be executed for having abortions under Trump, that all migrants will be deported, that gay marriage will be reversed, that Medicare will be stopped, that POC will be (more) oppressed blah blah blah.

The problem with Trump was never him directly (at least when it came to conservatives), but that he riled up the libs to the point that voter apathy on the left/center (which the right needs) was minimized. He’s going to spend the next year riling up the Libs with ever-intensifying rhetoric. Progressives can say they don’t really care and don’t really like Biden now, but will they be saying the same a year from now? It shifted fast with Bernie too.

The betting sites do not seem to be factoring in current polling/general vibes i get. I’d say if we had a snap election in 2 weeks Trump would win big.

I’ve been extremely confused by betting markets. Either they think something will break for the Dems to get a coin flip (which Trump is less than a coin flip) or it seems like they are pricing in wide spread fraud. But I 100% agree with you noting the betting markets I’ve checked them lately and they don’t feel like they moved nearly enough.

Mean reversion probably will happen but Trump feels like a 90-95% win probability if we held elections now.

I mean, if Trump gets removed from the ballot, he can't win, and there are actual court proceedings going on about that. I wouldn't really term that "election fraud" so much as an "unfree election", but pricing that in is sound*.

*For someone who lives in the 'States and intends to continue living in the 'States, it's necessary to discount the "no Republican on ballot" situation steeply due to the "don't bet on situations where you won't be able to spend your winnings" issue, but there'd probably be enough time after market resolution to flee and cash out into a foreign currency, and foreign bettors don't have that problem.

I don't think there is any confusion to be had. Polling is exactly about whether somebody would win in two weeks. Betting is if somebody is going to win in 2024.

I am not sure why this simple fact is somehow mysterious. There is a difference betting if some sports team wins head-to-head next Sunday or late 2024. There will be some underlying similarities, but a lot of things can change between now and then.

The betting markets aren’t perfect but they seem to indicate Biden is still favored head to head. It’s possible but feels wrong to me.

It’s like if the Steelers played the Cowboys. The Steelers went up 21-0 but espn probability calculator of victory was 54% Cowboys before the game and still 54% Cowboys after the Steelers went up 21-0. You can make a story why it’s correct but from a Bayesian calculation it feels like the score changing is important news.

Mean reversion probably will happen but Trump feels like a 90-95% win probability if we held elections now.

Seems like you answered your own question? But the betting sites aren't betting on who would win if the election was today and the correlation between polls and election results decreases the farther out the election is.

(Also it always bears pointing out that PredictIt charges 10% of your profits which seriously hampers the accuracy of its predictions).

or it seems like they are pricing in wide spread fraud.

It doesn't need to be fraud for there to be a significant disjunct between the population being polled and the population whose votes actually get tabulated. Particularly with the relaxation of rules around drop-off ballots, early voting, and ballot harvesting in many states, activists have much more leeway to shape the electorate by activating particular groups of low-propensity voters than they did prior to the 2020 cycle.

I think that the prediction markets might be pricing in things like 3rd parties, which a Trump vs Biden poll doesn't account for.

Again with the voice call polling. So in other words people answering a phone call from unknown caller. This is anecdotal but I don't know anyone under 50 who answers a call from numbers they don't recognize or don't hang up when it sounds like a telemarketer.

Reddit used to say this about Bernie polls all the time

Have we considered that democrats are just down bad because voters blame them for screwing the pooch badly, even if the pooch screwing was mostly bipartisan?

I’ve seen polling results from the nov 7 elections- granted that none of them are in places that would be competitive in ‘24, unless it’s like a city council race or something equally meaningless- indicating that republicans are winning the generic ballot by a lot a lot. Trumps personal unpopularity just takes him from ‘winning Wisconsin by double digits, flipping New Mexico Virginia and Colorado, and having a decent shot at Minnesota’ to ‘ahead in every swing state but Wisconsin’.

I suppose the only mystery is why Wisconsin was the odd man out- it certainly seems like the reddest out of the rust belt swing states.

Wisconsin is one of the hardest states to poll in the country and definitely the hardest state to poll of the rust belt states because of their demographics and decentralized population. It's pretty hard to get a representative sample.

Trumps personal unpopularity just takes him from ‘winning Wisconsin by double digits, flipping New Mexico Virginia and Colorado, and having a decent shot at Minnesota’ to ‘ahead in every swing state but Wisconsin’.

No. Trump's popularity is what wins Wisconsin when he campaigns there or is on the ballot because he motivates voter turnout. When he's not or when [insert establishment GOP here] is running, they lose because they don't motivate voters to show up. Ron Johnson is an excellent example of this. Wisconsin is a Trump/MAGA state, not a GOP state. Mitt Romney lost Wisconsin by 7+ 2012 and McCant lost by 13+ points in 2008. The demos in Wisconsin didn't change much; the reason Trump won Wisconsin and won again 2020 absent illegal elections changes and obvious fraud is because the new working class/MAGA message resonates and motivate the voters there. This is the same story from the 2022 election when you compare the house seats to the state-wide offices.

which is why a dude like Dan Kelly was obliterated in the Supreme Court race 6 months ago despite the "generic ballot" looking great for the GOP at the time

This bogus claim that absent Trump the GOP would be killing it in the rustbelt states is a popular un-falsifiable belief of large portions of this forum and it's garbage and it has little support and a bunch of evidence against it. No, [insert GOP derp here] as presidential candidate wasn't going to win Wisconsin in 2016 or 2020.

Other Republicans poll worse than Trump against Biden. Trump is the only one polling a win.

Haley beats Biden by more than Trump does on current polling.

One, Haley likely loses every single rustbelt state and therefore the election. National election polling isn't the most predictive.

Two, current polling is what matters, not the average of a couple polls from months ago with one from a few weeks ago. In your own link, the one recent poll (within the last few weeks) has Biden beating Haley by 4 and Trump performing better in every single poll from the time of the last Haley Poll to now.

No, Haley doesn't beat Biden more than Trump. Not in polling and not in the state level polls which are the ones which matter.

not in the state level polls which are the ones which matter.

Has Haley even been polled vs Biden in state level polls?

Granted it's all a bit of an academic question at the moment - in practice the GOP nomination is a 1 horse race.

The question has been asked in some polls which then adjust and publish results for top-level questions like Trump v Biden or Trump v Desantis v Haley v etc. You can get that unadjusted data for these other questions in cross-tabs from some polling firms.

Oh hey, turns out NYT/Siena polled Haley v Biden in the same battleground states as they just did for Trump. So we have some recent direct comparisons from a reputable pollster.

GA: Haley +5 (equal with Trump)

AZ: Haley +9 (4 better than Trump)

NV: Haley +9 (2 worse than Trump)

PA: Haley +10 (5 better than Trump)

MI: Haley +10 (10 better than Trump)

WI: Haley +14 (16 better than Trump)

Doesn't seem like she loses every rustbelt state.

are these raw or adjusted? did you look at the poll or just link tweet?

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This is a bit of a surprise to me, considering PredictIt has Biden up 42 vs Trump 37

Prediction markets are of course reflecting not just the current polls (which are disastrous for Biden) but also the realistic prospect that Trump will be in prison at the time of the election.

Is there protocol for that? Is he even eligible at that point? Does he reign from prison? Is he released? Can he release himself? Seems like I should know these things.

Eugene Debs' 1920 run on the Socialist ticket was from prison because he was still serving a 10-year sentence he received for sedition based on 1918 speeches advocating resistance of the WWI draft. Notably, in addition to the prison term he was also sentence to a lifetime disenfranchisement, so in addition to running from jail he couldn't even vote for himself. However, he only got 3% of the vote and didn't win any states, so there was never any cause to examine the matter further.

He can pardon himself for federal crimes, which are the ones he will likely be convicted of first. The Georgia case will be a lot messier, but also it's unlikely to conclude before the election (unless Willis can get another dozen people to take plea deals).

I think it's pretty unlikely that he wins from prison though. Even if he apparently has the nomination sewn up by that point, there's still the prospect of the GOP pulling some kind of shenanigans at the convention to give the nomination to someone else. And if they really do go ahead and try to win with their candidate in prison, they probably lose.

You think the Dems will go that far versus just being an election stunt? Regardless of whether he was guilty or not it looks like a huge issue for Democracy if they put him in jail before the election.

I still work on a model that they want bad press. Winning an election thru the criminal justice system seems wrong and a threat to half the country trusting the system. I’m not sure we can come back from that which makes me think the power brokers would back off from going quite that far.

After the election there’s no reason to prosecute Trump.

Regardless of whether he was guilty or not it looks like a huge issue for Democracy if they put him in jail before the election.

If he is truly guilty (and obviously that is a big if) then not jailing him is also a huge issue for democracy. It will unambiguously show that the powerful do not have to follow the same rules as everyone else, that ex-Presidents are not held to the same standards as the common man. Which has probably always been true, but that is one reason politicians often step down at the whiff of scandal. So the curtain is not entirely pulled back.

ex-Presidents are not held to the same standards as the common man

Of course they aren't, this is priced in, it's standard wisdom. We try not to prosecute the previous president so as not to become a banana republic.

Well legal or illegal is really just breaking the rules of the current ruling class. Elections decide who is the current ruling class. Elections get to decide who wields power.

From that perspective I do think elections are > some court case. If he wins tbe election he literally because innocent because he’s now the one who decides if something is legal or illegal. That’s Democracy.

That might be kind of how democracy works in practice, but its not how the illusion of democracy is said to work so it gains support from the people.

No-one is above the law is the myth here.And its an important one for stabilities sake.

That is very much not democracy as envisioned in the constitution of the United States of America. There is a separation of powers and being elected president doesn't make you emperor. The legislature and courts determine the law. Power is deliberately separated and modeled after the Roman Republic, not the Empire.

Well lawfare exist, and with enough prosecutorial power you can find some regulation that’s broken to throw a guy in jail especially anyone whose had to make a lot of decisions. So in practice it just becomes an ability to put political opponents in jail.

Obama had Rezko. Clinton had perjury. Hillary had document management issues. Biden well has his whole crime family. Bush probably broke some war crimes if I look into it. They could all be imprisoned with control of the justice system.

Lol, no he doesn't. The legislature decides if something is illegal or illegal.

With limits. They cannot criminalize valid exercises of executive or judicial powers.

Prosecutorial discretion don't real?

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You think the Dems will go that far versus just being an election stunt? Regardless of whether he was guilty or not it looks like a huge issue for Democracy if they put him in jail before the election.

Short answer: Yes.

Long answer: Who do you think is going to be the decision maker who stops this ball rolling? Do you think Jack Smith is going to suddenly drop the charges? Do you think Tanya Chutkin is going to just dismiss the case out of hand? And if so on what legal basis? Do you think the DC-based jury, pulling from a jurisdiction that voted 92-5 against Trump, is going to give Trump a pass after all the Jan 6 trials got convictions?

None of that is happening. The best case scenario for Trump is he somehow gets one diehard MAGA person on the panel to hang the jury.

"Are we really going to do this?" is a serious decision. But you don't make that decision when the trial is already underway, you make it before you bring charges. In large part that's what the Jan 6 Committee was about - not so much convincing the public that Trump was a crook, but pressuring the DoJ to pull the trigger on prosecuting him and putting him in prison.

All the choices have been made. We're now just watching them play out. It's not a stunt, they are coming to bury him.

Who would stop them? Biden/Blinken/top members of the Democrats. Tell them to pause or shut things down.

Why?

The system would be ungovernable if Trump is in jail and we have him as the GOP candidate. If he loses say with 48% of the vote then GOP has cause to break the entire system. The entire system works because of voluntary compliance. If you end that then nothing works and prosecuting Trump gives you justification. Secession becomes quite justifiable if they remove half the countries ability to participate in Democracy. It would be 1860 again. Would be equally as bad if Trump wins from prison (highly likely). Or you could see Desantis refuse extradition which he would be justified in doing.

I’d think the adults in the room like Blinken get this. And it’s a stunt. Because the alternative can’t happen.

I’d think the adults in the room like Blinken get this. And it’s a stunt. Because the alternative can’t happen.

Where do you put the odds on it happening without their say so?

Lol, Biden is not going to save Trump. You're delusional.

That seems very Danerys Targaryen of wanting to rule over the ashes. It’s not saving “Trump” it’s maintaining some part of America and Democracy.

You don’t think jailing a likely Presidential winner during an election is a constitutional crisis and an attempt to disenfranchise a significant part of the electorate?

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He can most likely release himself. I believe it has to do with The Federal government having supremacy on these matters. It would be a constitutional issue and open up a can of worms to keep him in prison. If that occurred then any rogue state could just imprison political enemies (basically what is happening here).

A felon sometimes can’t vote but they can hold office.

Seems plausible result. If people are fed-up with That Lot then it's natural they want to vote The Other Crowd in next time. Happens everywhere, and as somebody once said, "it's the economy, stupid". People who are feeling the pinch in their own pay packets don't much care if "But Bezos made another eighty million this month, so the economy is going gangbusters!" and they do blame whoever is currently in power for that.

Since Trump right now looks like the most likely Republican potential nominee, then yeah it's going to be Trump versus Biden Round II and the 'mushy middle' voters are going to switch from Team Blue to Team Red.

All that being said, there is a good point about telephone polling and how effective it is, now that everyone including Grandma has moved to smartphones and hardly ever answer their landline phones, particularly if the phone rings and you're not expecting a call. Now you simply assume it's a scammer or a cold calling sales person (but I repeat myself) since if it's family, friends, or even work, they'll ring you on your mobile. Thus you ignore the call.

They have ways around this. It's not like this type of problem isn't well known since they got the FDR election wrong with the phone book bias.

Interesting data point against the recently debated idea that Americans actually do think that the economy is doing well when it comes to themselves.

Anyway, I still don't know why I'm supposed to care so much which one of these two candidates wins. Biden would do some things to hurt democracy, would support Ukraine a bit more, would support Israel a bit less, and would yell at Russia more. Trump would do some things to hurt democracy, would support Ukraine a bit less, would support Israel a bit more, and would yell at China more. The economy would muddle along without either one being able to do much more than just cheerlead when it's good and shift blame when it's bad. Biden would make certain kinds of mouth noises about immigration through the southern border, Trump would make a different kind of noises. At the end of the day probably not much would change because the president has limited power over the issue and Americans like cheap burritos and construction work, and companies like to hire the people who make it possible.

Neither candidate is someone I could imagine ever voting for. Both parties deeply, fundamentally disgust me in different ways. Biden would make one group of annoying people online scream that the world is ending, Trump would make a different group of annoying people online scream that the world is ending. As before, the Internet outrage would overrepresent the kind of person who spends a lot of time online writing about politics and would fail to capture the fact that in the "real world", most Americans don't really care that much about politics.

The only way I can think of that either candidate could truly screw things up as president is by getting into a major war with Russia and/or China. And, while Trump's legacy in office is more peaceful than Biden's, the combination of Biden's restraint from actually directly intervening in Iran, Israel, or Ukraine and Trump's volatile chest-pounding, boomercon love of Israel / hate of Iran, and anti-China rhetoric leaves me not entirely convinced that Trump would actually be less likely to go to war. I do think Trump is probably a bit less likely to go to war, but it's not enough to make me want to go vote for him.

If Trump is somehow actually significantly leading in polls with the election a month away, despite the usual rioting and screaming about fascism from Dem-aligned news outlets that we'll probably see next year, we will be in for an interesting outcome though if Biden wins anyway. I doubt that it would be enough to make the True Trump Patriots (tm) actually get up off their couches and do anything with their gun collections other than post pictures of them online, but who knows.

I don't much bother with polls, since there's little to no way you can find out what questions they asked, how they asked them, and who they asked them; what matters is the result on the day when people go out to vote (or mail in their votes).

They can certainly give an indication of which way the wind is blowing, but I think if you pin your hopes on "polls say we're ten points ahead, it's in the bag!" then Hillary Clinton has an unused inaugural address she can give you for nothing.

I feel like attacking polling methodology is a pretty bipartisan pastime and isn’t surprising at all to me that it’s happening in the comments section.

We had multiple threads on here with challenges to official inflation data so unsure why polling wouldn’t be challenged.

All pollsters have significant errors in their models, but taken in aggregate they're the best predictor of who will win an election, particularly once the candidates are well-known. Certainly better than economic models (although economic factors are important, that signal is captured by polls), yard sign counts, donations, or people's gut instincts.

This is a suicide posts about an entrepreneur who failed and is going thru certain twitter communities.

https://twitter.com/smb_attorney/status/1720486539325587858?s=46&t=aQ6ajj220jubjU7-o3SuWQ

https://twitter.com/moseskagan/status/1720231141826015303?s=46&t=aQ6ajj220jubjU7-o3SuWQ

https://twitter.com/moseskagan/status/1720232058109469137?s=46&t=aQ6ajj220jubjU7-o3SuWQ

A few thoughts.

  1. Yes business owners do kill themselves when their business fails. Capitalism does have brutal aspects.

  2. I laugh when the one guy posts go talk to a therapists here’s the suicide prevention helpline. When your business is failing your issues are not lefty mental health. Your dealing with a real issue of not being able to provide for your family and seeing all your dreams disappear. It’s one of the most emasculating things that can happen to someone especially someone who is use to being able to handle stuff

  3. He shouldn’t have killed himself. I’d assume he could have found some consulting or being an employee for a bit gig.

  4. Society has very little tolerance for failed men. After the fact everyone will say he showed some signs and should have helped out. When you are failing you have the stench of failure and people honestly try to run away from you.

  5. I know someone whose dad killed themselves so when there business failed. I always thought the lefts argument that rioting and looting isn’t damaging was false. Being able to provide for your family is life and it’s something men take very personality.

  6. Females somehow survive with nothing. Not sure how but realistically society is far kinder to widowed mothers.

"I laugh when the one guy posts go talk to a therapists here’s the suicide prevention helpline. When your business is failing your issues are not lefty mental health. Your dealing with a real issue of not being able to provide for your family and seeing all your dreams disappear. It’s one of the most emasculating things that can happen to someone especially someone who is use to being able to handle stuff"

I don't understand this point even slightly. Do you genuinely think the other people calling a suicide helpline are not dealing with real issues but just 'lefty mental health'? It's the businessman who has real issues, the others are just faking it?

To rephrase the point slightly, I tend to categorize mental health issues as either mental illness or as mental injury. With mental illness you have some kind of internal, ongoing problem that needs to be fixed so you can get better. With mental injury, something clear and external happened and you just kind of need to stop poking at it and let it heal.

For example, I was in a bad car accident. I wasn't hurt, but other people were, and it gave me what I presume was PTSD. I would drop a can of tomatoes, I would have that same feeling of suddenly losing control like I did right before the impact, and I would break down in a mess.

My wife wanted me to get therapy, and I started the process of getting it organized, but in the end I didn't go. Not because I didn't have issues, but because it seemed incredibly obvious to me what the issues were. There's no broken relationship with my mother or whatever to work through, just a recent bad event. I figured I would get over it with time and couldn't see how talking about it with a stranger would help.

And, well, I did. I never had any "breakthrough" or trained my mind to think in a different way or whatever. I just got a bit of distance from the event and it stopped being so fresh in my mind. I gained the ability to think about it without feeling like I was in the middle of it.

Having a business fail, or a marriage break down, or a loved one die, are all very upsetting events. There's nothing unhealthy about being upset by them. Just as it's normal to feel pain when you break your leg - you aren't malfunctioning, you're just injured.

Wow, this is a really interesting framing, and it seems so obvious I don't know how it didn't occur to me before.

To extend the metaphor further, some physical injuries are so grave that you can't just rub some dirt on them and expect them to heal by themselves. A person severely injured in a car accident may require physical therapy to enable them to walk again. By the same token, it seems reasonable to conclude that certain psychological experiences may be so traumatic that one can't reasonably expect a person's mind to heal of its own accord without outside assistance.

I've often thought about something similar in the context of depression diagnoses. We use the same word, "depression", to describe both the emotional state of feeling depressed and the mental illness more properly disambiguated as "major depressive disorder". Feeling depressed may be an entirely expected and healthy response to certain mental injuries (hence why it was so controversial when the DSM removed the "bereavement clause" from the diagnostic criteria for major depressive order - I don't care how stoic or Buddhist you are, if you don't feel depressed after your young child dies there's something deeply wrong with you). It's only when it's a chronic sensation with little obvious relationship to any mental injury that we consider it a mental illness as opposed to simply a transient and normal human emotion.

Good post I like this model. Seems to catch a lot of what I wanted to say.

I feel like you are describing a time when you weren't suicidal and had the composure to see that time would be an adequate healer. That's great. But in a case where you are suicidal, almost by definition, you are not coping with what has happened and time may not be enough to heal you. You may die first.

In your last para you are implying that there's nothing unhealthy about being suicidal after losing your business. It's a very short step from there to saying there's nothing unhealthy about going through with it and killing yourself after losing your business. If that's what you think, then 'nuff respect, but I consider not living in that kind of shame/honour culture to be a good thing and one worth building protections against, such as we're able to do.

My point is that if you're miserable because miserable things are happening to you, you're not malfunctioning. A shrink can't fix your brain because your brain isn't broken.

That doesn't mean you should kill yourself. I don't believe anyone should kill themselves except in truly extreme circumstances. I used to work in the funeral industry and dealt with a lot of suicides, and the only one that made me think "yeah ok fair enough" was the convicted paedophile child care worker who did himself in while awaiting sentencing.

And in your last paragraph, you are implying that it's unhealthy to feel upset by a loved one dying. It's a very short step from there to saying there's something unhealthy about ever feeling upset or sad about anything. If that's what you think, then I respect that, but I consider not living in a culture that pathologises all negative feeling and affect to be a good thing and one worth building protections against.

I think it depends. I think one thing therapy and therapeutic culture get wrong is just how much place you should give to your feelings. You should have emotional responses. They just shouldn’t be the basis for deciding what to do, and they shouldn’t rule you. Most of therapeutic exercises and the culture they create is so feeling centric that people never really develop any mental toughness to deal with normal feelings. Being sad or upset for a few days at a trauma is not a problem, tbh, a lack of emotional response is probably more pathological. But it’s also not healthy to be so paralyzed by your feelings that you can’t function. At some point you need to get over it.

Thinking that someone who is suicidal due to a business failure should seek mental health assistance in hopes they don't. ---> "A culture that pathologises all negative feeling"

Wow!

I do think it's "pathological" to want to kill yourself in many circumstances, that doesn't mean I think the same about feeling sad or upset about life events.

I also don't think that having a pathology is something to be judged, rather something that it might be useful to get help with.

I'm maybe a little confused by your reply though.

On one hand; Suicide is painless.
It brings on many changes
and you can take or leave it as you please.

On the other; the Lord Lays before us blessings and curses, life and death. To live is a choice and I would encourage anyone reading this to choose life. But I am not a member of the twitterati.

Something about those Tweets viscerally disgusts me and I can't quite put my finger on it. Maybe it's performativity of it all, the "Oh man I should have done something," the weird parasociality of both the OP acting like he was a person in the dude's life and the replies comforting the OP who they don't know. Something about the verbiage just feels so fake and weird and off-putting to me.

He shouldn’t have killed himself. I’d assume he could have found some consulting or being an employee for a bit gig.

The vast majority of suicides are killing themselves to avoid circumstances that are, by some standard, not that bad. There is no circumstance which leads to a large percentage of people who experience it killing themselves, to my knowledge, perhaps some dreadful diseases meet that standard. I had a friend who killed herself in college, at an Ivy, because there was a plagiarism thing about to break and she might get expelled. Most people who don't go to college at all don't kill themselves, let alone who don't go to an Ivy (she could probably have easily gone to a state school afterward). I had a scoutmaster that killed himself after his divorce, most people don't kill themselves after a divorce, and to be honest I knew his wife and if she left me I'd say she was doing me a favor. A friend of a friend killed himself a few weeks back, no reason at all, he was unemployed and desperate for years before he pulled the trigger, but nothing had changed in his life that week.

What I'm getting at is the causative element is always the suicide themselves, leaving aside certain cases where a suicide is instrumentally useful (ie if Hunter Biden had any decency). They had a knack for suicide, genetic or cultural or whatever, that was triggered by a circumstance. His business failure didn't lead him to kill himself, he was prone to killing himself already and his business failure was the trigger that lead to it. So it does no good to say "Oh

Females somehow survive with nothing. Not sure how but realistically society is far kinder to widowed mothers.

In word, not consistently in deed. We have verbal sympathy for widowed mothers, and we tend to be nice enough to them in person and for the first few months after the death of their husband, but after a year or so she'll be on her own and it will not be easy for her. Women "survive with nothing" in the sense that they suffer silently, the world doesn't just hand things to them.

Tbqh, I'd pick being a widower with two kids over a widow with two kids any day of the week. I'd find another wife ready to mother two little blonde kids (ones she doesn't have to birth) like I was selling a classic car; a single mother in her 40s is going to have a lot more trouble finding a new partner of her upper class who wants to join her pre-existing family.

perhaps some dreadful diseases meet that standard

Trigeminal neuralgia and cluster headaches, perhaps. Controversially, gender dysphoria. Although you've got to differentiate "attempted suicide" versus "died by suicide" here.

I've read a lot about this topic, but if a literal majority of people diagnosed with gender dysphoria kill themselves, that's news to me. Do you have a source?

No, I do not. As far as I know, something like 40 percent of people with gender dysphoria attempt suicide, but that's just attempts, not deaths by suicide. For mental illnesses other than schizophrenia...borderline personality disorder has a 10 percent death-by-suicide rate, anorexia a 10 percent mortality rate. Trigeminal neuralgia and cluster headaches probably have those beat. There are of course the degenerative diseases like ALS and Huntington's, but that's not exactly what we're talking about. There death by suicide might be a kind of self-euthanasia...certainly not a central example.

There are basically two kinds of cluster headaches: episodic and chronic. The former someone gets ever 3-6 months and they last for a weekish. Sucks but manageable. Can’t imagine the second kind where the relief is infrequent.

Maybe it's performativity of it all, the "Oh man I should have done something,"

People that actually feel that way (as I have once in my life) do not telegraph it to the commons. They're too busy dealing with the personal grief.

I can't imagine trading on someone's death for virtue points, but here we are.

I agree with this. But there is a reason I posted here instead of twitter. Public stuff you have to say the right words versus getting to talk about something.

I agree with most of your thoughts.

Yes business owners do kill themselves when their business fails. Capitalism does have brutal aspects.

He willingly gambled everything for the possibility of attaining what capitalism offers, and, having lost, he faced the possibility of, at worst, suffering a standard of living typical of a citizen of a communist country. So, I think his suicide is actually evidence of the brutality of communism, not capitalism.

well he hangs with other winners of capitalism.

compared to a group of Caesars, being a normal person is bad.

comparison is the thief of joy. i assume this contributed to his psyche. It definitely would to mine!

live your life, dont compare with others. ignorance truly is bliss

I agree. There’s never a perfect case to make a point for discussion. His I failed and now I have to do X doesn’t seem big enough for the point I’m trying to make.

Yes, men need to be successful to be psychologically healthy in a manner that isn't the same for women. Women also prefer to marry up. Therefore, privileging women creates a less happy society.

I laugh when the one guy posts go talk to a therapists here’s the suicide prevention helpline. When your business is failing your issues are not lefty mental health. Your dealing with a real issue of not being able to provide for your family and seeing all your dreams disappear. It’s one of the most emasculating things that can happen to someone especially someone who is use to being able to handle stuff

Half disagree. The "therapists can fix you" culture is deranged for average people as you are right about the the source of his misery. Its better for people to live and be encouraged to live in a manner that is fulfilling than trying to manage failing to live up to that with therapy.

Therapy can not fix the source of his misery, only him rebuilding and providing for his family again can. But talking him out of doing something irrevocable would be helpful.

Yes, men need to be successful to be psychologically healthy in a manner that isn't the same for women.

That’s true for certain men but is that so for a huge numbers of men who seem content to work at a dead end job, and do nothing but play video games and watch porn? I’ve met and unfortunately dated men like that, and they genuinely have no drive and no ambition, no matter how hard I tried to push them.

I’ve seen that perspective on Reddit very often, many men said that if it weren’t for women, they would be content to live in a cardboard box. Achieving a minimal standard of living is pretty easy in a modern western society, so it feels to me like the ambitious, career driven man is in the minority.

For this not to apply to the men you are talking about they must be psychologically healthy. Just cause they are willing to compromise with a different way of living, doesn't mean that they are happy and fulfilled doing so. Are the men you are referring to psychologically healthy?

Both those who were successful and lost it and those who weren't to begin with, neither are psychologically healthy.

Generally, when I am saying more successful than women, I am not referring to the atypical men like the one the OP is about.

I concede that this kind of careerism is rare in general and among men in particular. But both for OP and for men on average, success is related with self worth in a way more fundamental than for women. They are also judged in that manner, as you also have done.

I’ve seen that perspective on Reddit very often

Reddit has two selection effects. First it has more unsuccessful people around due to being the people more likely to spend plenty of time in such discussions.

And obviously it probably had even originally some leftist bias but became very leftist due to the moderators purging dissent.

It is part of leftism to signal opposition to gender roles and also to conform with discrimination in favor of women and against men. Leftists are more likely to live contrary to gender roles and lets assume that is a worse way to live your life as it goes against part of your biological programming and against behaving in a manner conductive for fulfilling success for the individual and collective. That might be a reason why the left shows greater prevalence of mental illness.

You are judging these men you mentioned negatively for example.

I’ve met and unfortunately dated men like that, and they genuinely have no drive and no ambition, no matter how hard I tried to push them.

I can't judge things from your anecdotes. You could very well be self serving there. I definitely find your general perspective self serving in favor of women and against men since in responses to opposing discrimination for women, and into deflecting with the situation as huge (i.e associated with most) amount of men being content without success. And how it is because of women that men care about success.

With the implication being that we shouldn't care about pro women discrimination.

Men abandoning their gender role is something that can change. And same applies to women.

We should also be concerned about the effects on society in general, rather than caring only about men or women as individuals.

And we have societies that are failing, in fact irredeemably so as they can't even sustain their own demographics with bellow replacement rate which alone is a huge issue, are promoting an ideology of self hatred and cultural self destruction, fail to protect their borders as they are replaced by foreigners who retain foreign identities and hostility to the natives, and the rise of authoritarianism in favor of very delusional excessive tribalism for all sorts of sexual or other identities and in favor of the current course and against opposing or modifying it.

The trend of males who don't participate much in society has also increased as has general lack of dating and sex among both men and women.

The above fundamentally proves the lack of legitimacy of the "cope" mentality and the current direction of society. Things need to change, and the obvious template to change things towards is the one with the more workable mores of before. Although we can retain aspects of modernity and going back to say the norms of some previous decades would be retaining plenty of influence from feminism for example.

I don't object to consider not going to far in one or the other direction, but we are too far in the feminist direction today. The female perspective and way of thinking is also too pervasive. It isn't acceptable to let things persist as they are.

I’ve seen that perspective on Reddit very often, many men said that if it weren’t for women, they would be content to live in a cardboard box.

Yes, male self worth is related to their relationship with good women. Ideally as a team men and women make each other better. Men and women having complimentary role is how good relationships work and society benefits from.

There are other things going on of course, men care about their hobbies and this can also be steered in a more pro social and pro individual men direction, or in a direction that is less so. Maybe men by nature as more obsessive over things than people are more prone to the influence of certain superstimuli?

So do you support, or object to institutional discrimination in favor of women?

Much of liberal/left wing discourse is deflecting from real problems and real solutions by complaining about the far right or when the issue has to do with feminism and male/female issues, the deflection is just to complain about low social status men and their conclusion is to do nothing. The liberal agenda being an oppositional agenda to right wing or pro male changes or critiques. This agenda can be supported also for directly tribal reasons. We would be better off with less one sided complaining about men.

What should be done in your view?

I want to say that, in general (and with two words, the lazy men you've dated have been rhetorically vaporized), it is proximity to women that give men the urge to achieve success, but success here does not mean an ambitious high-powered career. It simply means contributing more resources to the household than the woman does.

That's my model.

That's just a Chappelle bit: https://youtube.com/watch?v=s5hu7o2Q62k

I think that career oriented people aren't the majority among either men or women, and most of the non-career oriented are happy enough and maybe even happier than the career oriented types.

But the total returns to career success are greater for men than women in large part due to increased sexual opportunities, particularly at the high end as opposed to the mid-level corporate drone, which draws men more into the lifestyle. And when that career turns to failure, there's a greater gap in hopes/expectations dashed in men than in women, which takes a bigger psychological toll.

the cadaver hasn't even cooled yet, assuming he is even dead, and already with with the gofundme. People are so gullible for this charity shit. Yeah , his kid will need home renovations and a new SUV or takes an interest in gambling cryptocurrency.

https://www.gofundme.com/f/artem-tepler+share-sheet-first-launch

SBF should have done this. he could have started dozens of these and he'd probably still be free.

Looks like it's gone.

it is up. themotte butchered the link . this one works https://gofund.me/b72dd8f3

188k is a lot of money. He was twitter cool.

He did get a place on real deal third article from I can see. I did post here because it was blowing up on certain twitters (small businesses and real estate) and because I thought there were things not discussed here before. https://therealdeal.com/

And I’ve had some dark days so I do think talking about taking risks and failing have a lot of benefits.

One of my points was a widow can get charity easier than a failing business man.

One of my points was a widow of a dead dude people will support a man who failed people will tell him to suck it up and figure it out.

Can you make this make sense?

I apologize. Friday is a drink and post day. And my grammar is below average as is. I edited it.

"One of my points was a widow of a dead dude, people will support; a man who failed, people will tell him to suck it up and figure it out."

Inflation has hit the once post-scarcity market for punctuation hard.

Inflation has hit the once post-scarcity market for punctuation hard.

Very good

Yeah, what's going on? This entire subthread is making me n=1-replicate that recent finding.

Tell me about it, there's a reason I don't hang out on the Indian end of the Internet 😩

Not to mention SVO ordering.

The widow to a failure is more sympathetic than the failure themselves whilst they're still alive?

I saw some things missed that I was looking for people to comment on.

  1. We have had a lot of post lately on the economy is fine. But the averages aren’t everyone. Real Estate people I could see how they are struggling now. It’s not 2008 but I saw this tweet from experience then https://twitter.com/gas_biz/status/1720481605112725782?s=46&t=aQ6ajj220jubjU7-o3SuWQ

  2. I do think men have a provider mentality. If you want to have a family and it fails at 40 your dating market prospects suck. I’ve seen it where the women divorces after that. What are your options then - start building again and then maybe close to 50 you can import a wife to have a family with.

  3. Americas wealth is built on this stuff. Everything he probably killed himself for are the fears that motivate people to do stuff and create wealth in capitalism.

  4. Something something about having a ton of twitter followers but not really having your busines/life going well. I know others who have a ton of followers but aren’t making money on what they say they are doing and I’m not talking those targeting lower income.

I do think men have a provider mentality. If you want to have a family and it fails at 40 your dating market prospects suck. I’ve seen it where the women divorces after that. What are your options then - start building again and then maybe close to 50 you can import a wife to have a family with.

Surely you likely already have a family at 40? If you get divorced you find another divorced or single woman in her mid-late 30s and have a mixed family or whatever it’s called, maybe one more kid. That seems to be the standard.

The average 40 year old who is going to have kids has already had them.

You're assuming that single woman is going to want to marry you.

If I had to place bets between 40 year old men who have been married before and want to remarry and 40 year old men who wanted to get married but never managed to, I'd put pretty solid money on the former getting married first. Even if they have kids and a failed business.

For what it's worth, my two most successful relatives got married and had kids in their 40s. Everyone else was married with kids by 40. The only exceptions were the ones who took a gamble by starting a business at beginning of their careers.

A lot of it is shame and embarrassment in front of peers, friends and coworkers, even employees. Heard various stories of people who killer themselves in finance, often aftermath of 2008/2009 or in a couple of cases the late 80s crash. Many must have had plenty of money saved, were under no risk of prosecution or criminal investigation, some weren’t even personally fired, they just had to lay off 50/70/85% of their teams, look friends in the eye and fire them into a job market with no jobs, etc, and they couldn’t take it. Some knew their fund/bank/etc was collapsing and couldn’t deal with their life’s work going up in smoke even if they personally had more than enough to enjoy a long retirement.

It’s very easy to get into a spiral of personal responsibility about people suffering ‘because of’ you that ends in suicidal thoughts, especially if you have a history of depression.

Yes business owners do kill themselves when their business fails. Capitalism does have brutal aspects.

yeah this is why if you have a decent net-worth, just park it in tech stocks (like QQQ or maybe add some leverage to the mix) and get a nice 20-40% yoy return. Or maybe real estate. No need to take the extra risk with high rate of failure with small biz or start-ups. For every Facebook, there are many failures. Entrepreneurship so expensive, too much failure, and too much work.

Lol is this real? Don't do this.

I almost want to asks if your joking.

If you did any leverage on tech stocks especially the best performers this year then last year 2022 your bankrupt especially since you mention Facebook.

It traded $92 last November. Even unlevered your feeling poor. Any even modest leverage and your bankrupt on that move. Tech was absolutely trash in the markets a year ago.

I agree if you can get that job that something at one of the big techs offers a nice comfortable salary. But everyone else in capitalism always has a bit of failure risks which is my main point that the rich people have always faced a brutal failure at some point.

If your a high IQ guy taking risks the best advice is to find some doctor to marry with stability.

Hard to read this post re: grammar errors but the numbers don't back what you think is happening in the market.

https://finance.yahoo.com/quote/QQQ

The highest QQQ ever was is 392, it's currently at 362. It's impossible to go bankrupt on this stuff

Here's Meta specifically: https://finance.yahoo.com/quote/META

Where are you going bankrupt and not making a comfortable profit over a 15 year period like every other investor?

Your not going bankrupt on a move from 370 to 92 which happened in last 5 years if you have any leverage.

I don't mean to be antagonistic but I cannot understand the points you're trying to make.

best advice is to study cyclicality.

FB at 92 was a great buy.

oil stocks at negative oil price in 2020 was a great buy. uranium even now is a good buy. maybe even silver stocks?

i dont think you’d make as much, on a 5 year time horizon, if you out all into QQQ or google or something

Well he said levered. You blew out levered that shit last year at any leverage level.

Oil negative was fake. Chinese banks were long oil to a derivative contract on spot that day. We fucked them over. It only actually traded negative for a a few hours.

yeah leverage is risky. But even non-leveraged nasdaq lost 80% of its value from 2000s highs to 2002 lows. But still not nearly as risky as starting a biz with your own capital. only a quarter of small businesses make it to 10-15 years.

I agree if you can get that job that something at one of the big techs offers a nice comfortable salary. But everyone else in capitalism always has a bit of failure risks which is my main point that the rich people have always faced a brutal failure at some point.

VC is an alternative. The VC shoulders the financial risk, not the entrepreneur. But this is harder to get. Understandably, VCs are picky. Having the right connections helps greatly in this regard.

It traded $92 last November. Even unlevered your feeling poor. Any even modest leverage and your bankrupt on that move. Tech was absolutely trash in the markets a year ago.

much of the stuff has recovered all or most of the losses. QQQ closing in on new highs. Leverage adds new complications due to path dependency. The nice thing about 1.5x leveraged ETFs, which is what I am doing, is it mostly solves the path dependency problem of leveraged stock trading.

Many big techs trade in things that AI will destroy the moat for first. I’d be careful, but if you’ve made enough to retire then good for you. Just don’t get greedy.

A lot of people think buying a small business versus market exposure is far less risky. You control the cash flows.

if I had to guess, buying a business way more risky and work than diversified stock portfolio, even an all-tech portfolio. Also lots of asymmetric info: if a biz is on the up-and-up why would they sell to you? this means tons of due diligence , and having to hire auditor and attorney, which is more money and time. having control of cash flow assumes there is much margin to work with. lol I know that if I took the opposite point, you and others be telling me how the stock portfolio is way less risky than the biz

Simple answer is IQ arb. Look into search funds which have gotten popular with mba types.

A lot of small businesses have a moat in the sense that as you go down the IQ scale they are not managed well but provide useful services. But there are many that have a ton of cash flow but are sub scale for pe. So your not competing with your other Harvard mba for the next platform grad but some guy with a ged.

Today, whether its harvard business school or Cornell or Columbia, the biggest growth clubs are the small businese investment clubs.

everyone with MBAs, who dont wanna do big corps, seem to wanna buy a cashflowing mom and pop business. opportunities might have been arb’d away

The further down the scale the more the cost for diligence relative to acquisition goes up.

I do wonder if the next move though is for mid tier PE to go micro but do a lot of bolt ins to create a company of size that can then be flipped to a larger PE. Would require a longer hold compared to average. And to reduce costs you probably don’t finance your first few transactions and then when you go to purchase more add ons you fully finance those (since you can get the bank comfortable the existing portco can support the debt)

I do wonder if the next move though is for mid tier PE to go micro but do a lot of bolt ins to create a company of size that can then be flipped to a larger PE.

Already happening, but mid-tier PE is a disaster anyway, at least for now. Only reason megafunds are hanging on is self-dealing and selling to each other in a continuously growing scheme of propped up valuations that is liable to blow up at some point in the foreseeable future, as even they seem to be starting to admit.

PE is a cheap debt phenomenon, in an environment where money isn’t cheap it’s just building and operating a conglomerate / old school holding company with more steps, and you only have to go back to the 80s and early 90s to see that conglomerates are valued very differently to the kinds of multiples PE both works with, especially now.

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Yeah but as you go down the IQ scale the comparative advantages for businesses become a bit more complicated than sticking Kanban boards in and doing a weekly standup.

this is what private equity tries to do. but the risk is mitigated by having a large portfolio of companies. an individual who buys a company is putting his or her eggs in a single basket

PE also benefits from leverage. The simple truth is that it is easier to leverage a business than portfolio stock since you control cash flow meaning that PE can get outsized returns due to leverage.

If everyone does that, and they do, power concentrates into finance and you slowly stop doing anything productive as a society.

Actual rent seeking has negative externalities. Even if it's the correct choice.

I actually think PE provides value. It provides an exit for entrepreneurs especially when they can’t go public. Let’s say you build a 100m business but are getting close to retirement and your kids aren’t all that interested in building it or you have business you want to start? PE provides an exit to those kind of business starters likely increasing business formation.

There were always exits available (selling to competitors or larger players who could access financing publicly or privately) and in countries like Germany the traditional solution was simply to have the family hire a professional manager but to keep the business in family hands. The US, UK and other prime PE markets saw their skilled manufacturing sectors suffer while Germany is a net exporter that sells China the machines they use to make goods for American and British consumers.

I do a lot of PE work and most targets aren’t manufacturing.

Of course, but it’s an example of how higher liquidity for SMEs that a large PE sector offers isn’t necessarily healthy for the wider economy. In the UK PE culture (which I’d argue is stronger even than in the US) is responsible for a rotten business culture in which even attempting to build a large new business is anathema to most entrepreneurs. This is often described as a result of growth capital being much harder to access in the UK than in the US, but this only explains a small part of it. The primary reason is that PE offers founders a lottery win that is often so tempting that they abandon their ambitions. In the US, billionaire hustle culture is ironically a partial protection against this, but European founders will cash out and retire to Cannes as soon as the first PE check is dangled before then, which I consider genuinely damaging because my impression of people in operating roles in PE is very poor.

Yeah it may be cultural different. In the US, there is still hustle culture.

Also PE now often offers 5-10% mgmt equity so still incentivizes mgmt.

Going solo is not the only way; it's the worst way, becase all the financial burden is planed on the entrepreneur. A better way is with VC, such as ycombinator program or something like a16z. The VC shoulders the financial risk by effectively investing in human capital, which is the key ingredient for a start-up anyway.

They are also sharks who will manage to get all the money if you aren't really careful. The golden days of when VCs would voluntarily share success with founders are over.