Monday, May 19, 2014

Why The Polymath Will Succeed

The Polymath is designed to present news, analysis and commentary at a higher intellectual level than other outlets.  We know that there is a market there because of research undertaken by Leta Hollingworth in the 1930's and D.K. Simonton in the 1980's.  Both found that there is a limit to the IQ difference that allows for meaningful communication and persuasiveness.

Simonton put the finest point on it when he stated, 'Individuals who are very smart may be less comprehensible to other group members, and this might have a negative impact on their ability to influence those around them. Even if the exceptionally bright individuals are able to target their use of language to the needs of their audience, the complexity of their ideas may be less accessible to listeners with IQs more than one standard deviation lower than their own.  He found, specifically, that persuasiveness peaks at about a 1.2 standard deviation differential.

Leta Hollingworth studied children with R16IQs of more than 180.  She stated, 'Observation shows that there is a direct ratio between the intelligence of the leader and that of the led. To be a leader of his contemporaries a child must be more intelligent but not too much more intelligent than those to be led... But generally speaking, a leadership pattern will not form--or it will break up--when a discrepancy of more than about 30 points of IQ comes to exist between leader and led.'  This has been taken to be the upper limit on the IQ differential that still allows for meaningful communication.  However, she implied in other work that this for leadership might be somewhat less than for communication, which may be as high as 50 R16IQ points.

The above research sets interesting structural constraints on the industry of news, analysis and commentary.  In Western democracies, we consume news.  In other words, we sample several outlets and settle on ones that are the most persuasive for us.  So, we can say, for example that high school graduates, who have a mean D15IQ of about 104 will be most persuaded by news outlets that are presented at about a 122 D15IQ.  College Graduates, who have a mean of about 113 will be most persuaded by news outlets presented at about 131.  That is about the limit of what is currently available.

That means that while people with D15IQs over 125 consume news, analysis and commentary in large quantities, they are not particularly happy with it nor are they generally very persuaded by the presentations.  In other words, they are easy pickings for any news outlet that wants to present at a higher level.  The Economist and a few others have been working on elevating their game.  However, one cannot present at a higher IQ level than you possess and the current experienced participants will have IQs in the 113 to 131 range.

What that means, and this is the crux of this, 'The people who will succeed in providing news, analysis and commentary to an audience with IQs over 125 would fail in the current market because, as D.K. Simonton put it, 'the complexity of their ideas may be less accessible to listeners.'   That means that we cannot access the current market of news reporters and commentators.  We will need to find people who are substantially smarter.  While we will require no IQ test, rather controlling based upon quality of submitted work, the mean IQ of our successful candidates will likely be 155 with a standard deviation of about 5 points.

The market of English speakers on the Internet with IQs above 125 is about 60,000,000.  Our goal is to reach about 4,000,000 of them in the short term.  However, we will likely achieve 15,000,000 with time.  The reason that we will acquire only a minority of the market has to do with ideology.  The lower half of our market is generally very engaged intellectually and are voracious consumers of news, analysis and commentary.  However, many of them, perhaps half, are also very ideological which makes them hostile toward objective news sources.

As the Internet news market solidifies, liberal news outlets such as PBS and Huffington Post will likely field other news media that appeal to the over 125IQ audience.  More conservative outlets such as The Wall Street Journal and Blaze will do the some for their audience.  However, as we move up the IQ scale the percent of the population with strong ideologies decreases and the market for objective news coverage increases.  This is why our writers will likely average close to 155 D15IQ because our audience will be skewed upward with a median IQ around 135.

The Polymath can be thought of as a collaborative effort between, perhaps, 100 of the most ellectually rigorous and erudite writers in the world.  We will have editors who will assist us in talking persuasively to the 135 IQ audience and will take care of the details of publication.  We will have monetizers who will turn our work into money.  We all will make very good income, indeed, from our efforts.

We will average about one 5 - 8 page article per month.  At 4,000,000 readers and $5 cpm advertisements per page, we will average $35,000 per month income.  However, that is just for the articles.  Most of us will do other work.  For example, if you write a book and hotlink your articles to it, you might sell 100,000 e-books per year for another $70,000 per month.  This is Information Age income and should not be taken as implausible.  Rather, it is proportional when the Income Explosion increases prevailing income 10X.

The secrets to our success are two-fold.  First, is creating the organization.  That means writers, editors, monetizers and administrators.  The second is our content.  It must be something more than 'same-old, same-old' only expressed with a larger vocabulary.  We need to apply our superior intellect to providing a more rigorously supportable and objective product.  For example, anyone can present the argument for and against the 'end of Moore's Law.'  We need to provide superior analysis.  How likely is it?  How will it change things? 

When we speak of objective, we do not mean a lock step world view.  Our writers will disagree.  However, misstating evidence or engaging on logical fallacy is not the source nor the product of the disagreement.  Objective analysis allows for a margin of error and an aggregation of margins of error can result in different conclusions.  One does not create an ideologically comfortable conclusion by weaving an argument of three sigma deviations. 

We need to explode on to the scene.  That means we will need to place several editors, monetizers, crowdfunders and writers on the starting line, with a backlog of articles in hand who are ready to take off when the gun goes off.  In order to facilitate this, I will be setting up a number of private venues, on Facebook and Blogger to get ourselves organized.  I will set up 'authors' in a blog with Editors, Monetizers, crowdfunders, etc. as authorized readers.  I will set up the same people in a private Facebook group for informal discussions.

Again, if you want to become involved, please e-mail me at or message me on Facebook.


No comments:

Post a Comment