The Flight From Conversation: Sheep on Steroids

Caught this piece in NY Times:

In today’s workplace, young people who have grown up fearing conversation show up on the job wearing earphones. Walking through a college library or the campus of a high-tech start-up, one sees the same thing: we are together, but each of us is in our own bubble, furiously connected to keyboards and tiny touch screens. A senior partner at a Boston law firm describes a scene in his office. Young associates lay out their suite of technologies: laptops, iPods and multiple phones. And then they put their earphones on. “Big ones. Like pilots. They turn their desks into cockpits.” With the young lawyers in their cockpits, the office is quiet, a quiet that does not ask to be broken.


We expect more from technology and less from one another and seem increasingly drawn to technologies that provide the illusion of companionship without the demands of relationship. Always-on/always-on-you devices provide three powerful fantasies: that we will always be heard; that we can put our attention wherever we want it to be; and that we never have to be alone. Indeed our new devices have turned being alone into a problem that can be solved.


When people are alone, even for a few moments, they fidget and reach for a device. Here connection works like a symptom, not a cure, and our constant, reflexive impulse to connect shapes a new way of being.

Against that backdrop do you really think humans have become more rational, efficient and logical? My question is terribly important if you want to profit in the markets. The theory is simple: all of that great technology has turned human beings into sheep on steroids. What happens to markets when the crowd goes all sheep together? Better yet, what happens to markets when the crowd goes all sheep on STEROIDS together?

Got a plan in place to deal with that?

One thought on “The Flight From Conversation: Sheep on Steroids

  1. Any phenomenon which reinforces the herd mentality can only enhance the outsized returns brought from trend following.  The strength of any given trend depends on the size of the herd and the coordination with which they act. To the trend follower, this means moves that go high will tend to go even higher, and moves that head low will retrace even harder.  Get everyone plugged in, I say.  The closer we approach to the inexorable conclusion of the ‘hive mind’, the better it will get for those of us prepared to fleece the flock.  I mixed a few metaphors there, but I think you get the point.  Snip snip. -Berkutchi

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