Simplifiers and Optimizers, by Dilbert creator Scott Adams


“The reality is that women are treated differently by society for exactly the same reason that children and the mentally handicapped are treated differently.” - Scott Adams

SOME people are Simple-minded and SOME are optimizing their media choices by not listening to misogynists.


These “two types of people” things can miss a lot of in-between, but I think he’s got a point about looking at your life as a whole and going for what causes the least stress.
It’s easy to focus on tasks and expectations without considering the one resource you have to apply to those things: yourself. Saying “no” once in a while might mean doing less things, but you’ll do them better and be simplifying and optimising all at once!


Oh, come, come, now. If the Invisible Hand chooses to pat rich white guys on the head, that means Market Forces have ensured the Optimum Solution. Freedom itself has chosen a winner! Can’t grumble about Freedom!


Even Certified Genius misogynists?


Another big advantage of simplification is that it frees up time, and time is one of your most valuable resources in the world.

Hmm. He must be using a different rubric for optimization than I do. I’m an inveterate optimizer, largely because optimizing frees up time. If I figure out the most efficient order in which to empty all the trash cans in the house on trash night, once, then I save myself three minutes every week, and never have to think about it again. Once I’ve worked out the optimum bike route home from work, I can ride easy forever after, knowing I’m not wasting time or effort.

(Granted, I’m also driven by the psychological satisfaction of efficiency, which is its own little neurosis. But I do think optimization for optimization’s sake is ultimately a time- and effort-saver.)


I think “pragmatists and perfectionists” might be a better way of putting it.
It’s not the first time Adams has chosen his words poorly :wink:


at what point does writer’s block develop into megalomania?


“I realize I might take some heat for lumping women, children and the mentally handicapped in the same group. So I want to be perfectly clear. I’m not saying women are similar to either group. I’m saying that a man’s best strategy for dealing with each group is disturbingly similar.”

-Scott Adams (in the same post AK selectively quotes)


Working on a high school robotics team with a 6-week build season has taught me a lot about the choice between simplicity and optimality.

There is a third quality, elegance. Elegance is optimal simplicity. It’s not easy to achieve, and Apple charges a lot for it. Typically, many complex ideas are examined and discarded before the elegant solution comes along, but it’s always a “Why didn’t I think of that earlier?” moment when it arrives.

Let me know, Scott, when you find a way to get to elegance without examining a lot of non-optimal, non-simple solutions first.


Boing, Boing - you’ve done it again (sigh). There are so many innovative artists, comic artists, and creative types whose work deserves a wider audience and you’ve given this platform…to this guy.


I’ve never seen this quote in its context before (an article criticising men’s rights groups for complaining about their own problems). [Here’s][1] the offending article with some of Adams’ explanation:

But perhaps I can summarize my viewpoint so you can understand why I’m such a misogynist asshole douche bag. Here’s my view in brief:

You can’t expect to have a rational discussion on any topic that has an emotional charge. Emotion pushes out reason. That is true for all humans, including children, men, women, and people in every range of mental ability. The path of least resistance is to walk away from that sort of fight. Men generally prefer the path of least resistance. The exception is when men irrationally debate with other men. That’s a type of sport. No one expects opinions to be changed as a result.

Are women more emotional than men? I’m not sure how you measure that sort of thing. On the emotional scoreboard, does one person’s anger equal another person’s excitement? All I know for sure is that the Men’s Rights group I poked with a stick has some irritable dudes.

I guess he’s mainly saying that men’s rights advocates are kind of dumb because on balance, they get a pretty good deal out of the inequality. Men (especially simplifiers like Scott Adams) don’t care much about a lot of what goes on around them, so their best strategy is not to weigh in when faced with people who are more emotionally involved (such as women, children and disabled people). I get the idea that he isn’t on board with a number of areas of feminism, but here he’s just telling MRAs that they’re just pissing in the wind. They should just sit down and shut up, if for no other reason than that there’s no benefit to bringing your own relatively minor issues to this argument (especially as they’re often voiced by people who aren’t affected by them much in the first place).

@Dr_Awkward I realize I might take some heat for lumping women, children and the mentally handicapped in the same group."

It’s his talent for understatement that keeps me coming back for more. Maybe he should listen to his own advice?


Yeah. That’s SO MUCH BETTER in “context”.
It’s like he was handed an EXTRA shovel to dig his hole.


At the scottadams point[TM] (measured in millions of viewers).


Which is optimal? Parking as close to work as you can each day, to keep your walk in as short as possible? Or parking far away, but always in the same spot, so you never have to think about where you parked? Is ‘faster’ always ‘optimal’? If you do something faster, but introduce more errors, is it optimal?

I’m in the camp that parks far away and has five of the same pants, shirt and socks (but I vary my ties, that’s important - not a robot) to optimize dressing for work.

How about those times Scott Adams was posting all this stuff about how great he was under a sock puppet account. Huh, huh? So funny am I right ? What a comedic genius !


I don’t think Apple is achieving any kind of optimal with their phones right now. No NFC, no slot for a memory card? I hate it. I’m an old school apple fan, but I’m no iFan, waiting in line for days or paying thousands of dollars for a crippled phone. I’m tied to the iPhone for one reason and one reason only - Hipstamatic (now that’s elegance). The minute they make the move to android I’m going with them.

Grr. I fell for it. This topic has nothing to do with Apple and I got trapped in it.


Is not having NFC a simplification or an optimal thing?

"If the situation involves communication with others, simplification is almost always the right answer. "

For example, if you create a couple sockpuppets, you can simplify the conversation to the point where it doesn’t actually involve other people.


A simplification. Especially considering that NFC is a niche application in most parts of the world.