Cheaters always win

If humans were honestly following nature’s rules, then we’d be long gone because of winter, our frail bodies and the millions of beasts wanting to eat us. But yet we had to play the game of life! Our solution? Cheating.

That is what we humans do. We cheat. We make up new rules of the game and we are careful not to leave the game. That is why markets are so hard to break. That’s why human societies are so resilient to change. That’s why we keep playing the “dishonest” and “unfair” cards for an eternity already. Cheating is neither. Dishonesty is a matter of human morals, fairness is a matter of human reciprocity, cheating is a matter of human survival.

First and foremost: cheating does not mean breaking the rules. Cheating means making up new rules. Breaking the rules is risky and more than often leads to losing, making up new rules is safe and often makes a new game.

Cheaters always win, just watch kids playing and you’ll spot the winner by noticing who makes up the best new rules.

Kids who make up rules advertise them! They first complain. Then they turn the complaint into a problem. Then, sure thing, the come up with the solution. Then they give it away for free. Then they explain, in one on one sessions, how the new rule makes the game better. But, at all times, they keep the name of the game at the top of the conversation: they must win this particular game they’re in, not name out a new one, that breaks the spell of play!

Facebook is currently cheating, by playing the audience for advertising game yet making up new rules: instant articles.

Tesla is currently cheating, by playing the automotive for money game but making up new rules: self driving cars.

Google was cheating, by playing the search engine game but it made up new rules: fully automatic index, unbuyable top positions.

Google stopped cheating when playing the social network game and kept trying an endless stream of loosing by following the rules. But cheaters always win.

On a smaller scale, Basecamp was playing the project management application game but made up new rules: who can manage a project using the least of features?

Warren Buffet is a cheater! A good one:

“He began buying shares in Berkshire from Seabury Stanton, the owner, whom he later fired.(wiki)”.

The best cheaters are the ones who silence those who notice that the game is changing. The perfect cheaters are the ones who never win, they keep making new rules and the game never ends, and they are constantly the best in the game they themselves created, rule by rule.

Bill Gates was a cheater, a big one. I wish he started cheating at fixing the world already.

Big cheaters are the ones who do it even if they don’t need to. The sharpest knives in the drawer, the ones who can win by following the rules, but yet, they still cheat! Winning while cheating feels better than simply winning because, I believe we are conditioned by our species’ thriving for so long to feel like this.

Twitter is a bad cheater. They can’t decide which game they’re playing, they don’t complain properly, they give solutions without properly advertising the problem. For example, their main cheating in the news game, instant breaking news distribution, is not an issue people are aware of, while slow loading content because of ads was an issue people were aware of and instant articles saved them.

For God’s sake, Hansel and Gretel cheated their way out of the oven!

Cheaters always win, and if you have kids don’t teach them to follow the rules.

Humans are witty and the best thing we do is outsmart the environment. The best feedback we get is when we go around constraints. Our sex drive is based on so much cheating: if it were as simple as following the rules our genome would be stale for hundreds of thousands of years. But we cheat on our looks, we cheat on our social position, we even cheat on our entire identity if need be.

Cheating does not mean betraying. Even in relationships, cheaters always win. OMG, I am a married man and I said that, but really, it is true. Those who break the rules often fail. Cheaters make up new rules.

Disruption, the darling idiom of the new century, is nothing but making up new rules while pretending to play someone else’s game, a.k.a. cheating. Kids do it all the time. Didn’t you ever see the late comers who join the pack while the others are hours into game, and yet the new ones all of a sudden take the reins? They are those little stealth mode disruptors, who win because they don’t play by other people’s rules.

Cheaters always win because they make the rules. And you know what? All the rule makers are cheaters. You know what else? You cannot make any rule without cheating first! There is the often quoted incompleteness theorem to prove this, but there is also the absurdity of existence to explain that:

cheaters always win.

And if they lose, at least they lose in their own terms.