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This was good, especially since I realized that through a semi-concerted effort (which includes, but is not limited to: nudging, shaming, cajoling, encouraging and carping), I may have played a small part in this posting gaining forward momentum (or is it inertia).

I'll acknowledge that I literally laughed out loud when I read the phrase, " . . . cognitive gravity well" - for both the appropriateness as well as for the visual image that it prompted. And no really noteworthy article would be without the use of the word, legerdemain - which always requires me to break out the dictionary to refresh myself on the meaning. An enthusiastic two thumbs-up, Joe.

Thank you Joe - and thanks Chris for whatever combination of nudging, shaming, cajoling, etc. helped convince Joe to share this awesome piece with us at the Cafe!

I know - "cognitive gravity well" - I had the same reaction. Legerdemain sounded familiar to me, however - I probably have the Harry Potter books to blame for that!

Encountered that phenomenon frequently, particularly in "reasonable compensation" cases where the tax-deductibility of exec comp to shareholder/executives is challenged by the IRS. The taxpayer allusion to a cocktail party claim is expected to outweigh all statistically validated comprehensive relevant survey data even though it exceeds the 99th percentile by orders of magnitude.

Parallel principles include

* a classic Brennan's Law: "Everyone wants to be paid exactly what they are worth, as long as it's more than what they earn now."

* the "Bobby Bonds Ratchet Syndrome": whoever got the most before establishes the new earnings floor for me.

* basic founding CEO arrogance: "I'm worth more than anyone else alive."

* the "a priori" approach, where carefully selected cherry-picked input samples assure that the only normative and therefore conclusive observation is the number you want.

* retention of a highly paid external consulting expert with impressive credentials and a history of supplying extremely satisfactory results that fall into one of the above categories.

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