The irony of close competition
The easiest way to get someone’s attention is to compare them to someone else.
When people compete on the same metrics (how many followers, how much income, how many points scored) the focus gets very tight. With a simple metric, there’s no confusion at all about how to earn more status.
The irony is that the simpler the metric, the less useful the effort is.
Big ideas, generous work, important breakthroughs–to pursue these goals is to abandon the metric of the moment in favor of a more useful sort of contribution.
If we want smart kids, the GPA is a lousy way to get them.