Playing Pyramid Games

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I gave this presentation (slides only) at the Dutch postdoc retreat on June 25 2009. I was asked to talk about my move from a PhD in cell biology to running your own software company. I decided that telling my specific story wouldn't be very interesting to all, instead I tried to distill the 10 lessons I learned to help people understand science and decide whether they should stay or leave science. A version with notes is also available. Big thanks to Matt Wood for his slides design.

Text of Playing Pyramid Games

  • 1. Playing Pyramid Games Alexander Griekspoor

2. 1 3. Money 1Air10 4. Money1Air 10 More Money Thin Air 100 5. Money1 Air10More Money Thin AirLoads of 100 Very ThinMoneyAir1000Image source: wikipedia article on Madoff 6. PIPostdocYou! Graduate Student 7. Science == Pyramid Game 8. Game Theory 9. 10 rules that made meunderstandScience 10. ...and step out of it. 11. WARRANTIES OF MERCHANTABILITY, OF SATISFACTORY QUALITY, AND OF FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE, ARE LIMITED IN DURATION TO THIRTY (30) DAYS FROM THE DATE OF ORIGINAL PURCHASE. SOME JURISDICTIONS DO NOT ALLOW LIMITATIONS ON HOW LONG AN IMPLIED WARRANTY LASTS, SO THE ABOVE LIMITATION MAY NOT APPLY TO YOU. THE LIMITED WARRANTY SET FORTH HEREIN IS THE ONLY WARRANTY MADE TO YOU AND IS PROVIDED IN LIEU OF ANY OTHER WARRANTIES (IF ANY) CREATED BY ANY DOCUMENTATION, PACKAGING OR OTHERWISE. THIS LIMITED WARRANTY GIVES YOU SPECIFIC LEGAL RIGHTS, AND YOU MAY ALSO HAVE OTHER RIGHTS WHICH VARY BY JURISDICTION. 7. Disclaimer of Warranties. YOU EXPRESSLY ACKNOWLEDGE AND AGREE THAT USE OF THE MEKENTOSJ SOFTWARE IS AT YOUR SOLE RISK AND THAT THE ENTIRE RISK AS TO SATISFACTORY QUALITY, PERFORMANCE, ACCURACY AND EFFORT IS WITH YOU. EXCEPT FOR THE LIMITED WARRANTY ON MEDIA SET FORTH ABOVE AND TO THE MAXIMUM EXTENT PERMITTED BY APPLICABLE LAW, THE MEKENTOSJ SOFTWARE IS PROVIDED AS IS, WITH ALL FAULTS AND WITHOUT WARRANTY OF ANY KIND, AND MEKENTOSJ AND MEKENTOSJ LICENSORS (COLLECTIVELY REFERRED TO AS MEKENTOSJ FOR THE PURPOSES OF SECTIONS 7 AND 8) HEREBY DISCLAIM ALL WARRANTIES AND CONDITIONS WITH RESPECT TO THE MEKENTOSJ SOFTWARE, EITHER EXPRESS, IMPLIED OR STATUTORY, INCLUDING, BUT NOT LIMITED TO, THE IMPLIED WARRANTIES AND/OR CONDITIONS OF MERCHANTABILITY, OF SATISFACTORY QUALITY, OF FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE, OF ACCURACY, OF QUIET ENJOYMENT, AND NON-INFRINGEMENT OF THIRD PARTY RIGHTS. MEKENTOSJ DOES NOT WARRANT AGAINST INTERFERENCE WITH YOUR ENJOYMENT OF THE MEKENTOSJ SOFTWARE, THAT THE FUNCTIONS CONTAINED IN THE MEKENTOSJ SOFTWARE WILL MEET YOUR REQUIREMENTS, THAT THE OPERATION OF THE MEKENTOSJ SOFTWARE WILL BE UNINTERRUPTED OR ERROR-FREE, THAT THE MEKENTOSJ SOFTWARE WILL BE COMPATIBLE WITH THIRD PARTY SOFTWARE OR THAT DEFECTS IN THE MEKENTOSJ SOFTWARE WILL BE CORRECTED. NO ORAL OR WRITTEN INFORMATION OR ADVICE GIVEN BY MEKENTOSJ OR AN MEKENTOSJ AUTHORIZED REPRESENTATIVE SHALL CREATE A WARRANTY. SHOULD THE MEKENTOSJ SOFTWARE PROVE DEFECTIVE, YOU ASSUME THE ENTIRE COST OF ALL NECESSARY SERVICING, REPAIR OR CORRECTION. SOME JURISDICTIONS DO NOT ALLOW THE EXCLUSION OF IMPLIED WARRANTIES OR LIMITATIONS ON APPLICABLE STATUTORY RIGHTS OF A CONSUMER, SO THE ABOVE EXCLUSION AND LIMITATIONS MAY NOT APPLY TO YOU. 8. Limitation of Liability. TO THE EXTENT NOT PROHIBITED BY LAW, IN NO EVENT SHALL MEKENTOSJ BE LIABLE FOR PERSONAL INJURY, OR ANY INCIDENTAL, SPECIAL,Game Theory INDIRECT OR CONSEQUENTIAL DAMAGES WHATSOEVER, INCLUDING, WITHOUT LIMITATION, DAMAGES FOR LOSS OF PROFITS, LOSS OF DATA, BUSINESS INTERRUPTION OR ANY OTHER COMMERCIAL DAMAGES OR LOSSES, ARISING OUT OF OR RELATED TO YOUR USE OR INABILITY TO USE THE MEKENTOSJ SOFTWARE, HOWEVER CAUSED, REGARDLESS OF THE THEORY OF LIABILITY (CONTRACT, TORT OR OTHERWISE) AND EVEN IF MEKENTOSJ HAS BEEN ADVISED OF THE POSSIBILITY OF SUCH DAMAGES. SOME JURISDICTIONS DO NOT ALLOW THE LIMITATION OF LIABILITY FOR PERSONAL INJURY, OR OF INCIDENTAL OR CONSEQUENTIAL DAMAGES, SO THIS LIMITATION MAY NOT APPLY TO YOU. In no event shall Mekentosj's total liability to you for all damages (other than as may be required by applicable law in cases involving personal injury) exceed the amount of fty dollars ($50.00). The foregoing limitations will apply even if the above stated remedy fails of its essential purpose. 9. Export Control. You may not use or otherwise export or reexport the Mekentosj Software except as authorized by Dutch law and the laws of the jurisdiction in which the Mekentosj Software was obtained.disclaimer 10. Government End Users. The Mekentosj Software and related documentation are "Commercial Items", as that term is dened at 48 C.F.R. 2.101, consisting of "Commercial Computer Software" and "Commercial Computer Software Documentation", as such terms are used in 48 C.F.R. 12.212 or 48 C.F.R. 227.7202, as applicable. Consistent with 48 C.F.R. 12.212 or 48 C.F.R. 227.7202-1through 227.7202-4, as applicable, the Commercial Computer Software and Commercial Computer Software Documentation are being licensed to U.S. Government end users (a) only as Commercial Items and (b) with only those rights as are granted to all other end users pursuant to the terms and conditions herein. 11. Controlling Law and Severability. This License will be governed by and constructed in accordance with the laws of The Netherlands, as applied to agreements entered into and to be performed entirely within The Netherlands between The Netherlands residents. This License shall not be governed by the United Nations Convention on Contracts for the International Sale of Goods, the application of which is expressly excluded. If for any reason a court of competent jurisdiction nds any provision, or portion thereof, to be unenforceable, the remainder of this License shall continue in full force and effect. 12. Complete Agreement; Governing Language. This License constitutes the entire agreement between the parties with respect to the use of the Mekentosj Software licensed hereunder and supersedes all prior or contemporaneous understandings regarding such subject matter. No amendment to or modication of this License will be 12. Rule1 of pyramid games 13. You dont talk aboutpyramid games 14. PIPostdocYou! Graduate Student 15. PIYou! Postdoc Graduate Student 16. Find yourself a different job! 17. True. 18. True. But not me. 19. Think again 20. Rule2 of pyramid games 21. The game is not Fair 22. I work as hard as the girl at the next bench, she getsa Nature paper, I dont. Science is not fair. 23. Science doesnt care about you. 24. But you do! 25. Not everyone issuited for the game 26. Its as important to discoverwhat you dont love doing, asit is to find out what you doYou need Passion 27. Think beyond thenext step 28. Try new things! Spread the risk Collaborate! Do what you love doing! 29. Making a career in science is all about luck. 30. True. 31. Bullshit 32. Create your own luck 33. work hard 34. Bend the rules (carefully) Distinguish Be creativeyourself!Think outside the box pyramid! 35. The most important ruleof pyramid games 36. Dont be afraid to step out 37. Stepping out != FailureOn the contrary! 38. One more rule... 39. Pyramid games are everywhere... 40.