2/17/2008

02-17-08 - 2

Poker and coding both have this really sucky nonlinear return property. I guess physics did too and probably most really complicated mental endeavors. Basically if you are thinking about it 100% of the time, then you are in the zone and your efficiency per unit time is E. So like if you work for 8 hours you accomplish 8*E. If you try to do other things and balance your life more, you don't just spend less time at E, you spend less time at way way below E. The problem is it takes a huge amount of time to get back in the zone when you're out of it, to remember all those many connected things that you can't really write down and all the hunches and intuitive senses of the problem that you had in the zone. If you spend 6 hours, maybe you lose 3 to getting back in the zone and then only have 3 hours at full efficiency. It makes me feel like there's no point to doing it unless you go all out.

Coding is bad this way (and worse in a big complex code base or a really hard problem), but Poker is worse. One of the things that makes poker so bad for this is the lack of good feedback due to the high variance, which it makes it very tricky to get yourself back in the zone because you'll get both false positive feedback and false negative feedback. As you work back into the zone you may have multiple false plateaus where you think you've made it, only to realize later that you were wrong. It literally takes weeks to get back in the zone, which makes dipping in and out of play pretty impractical.

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