From Venkatesh Rao: We humans are simpler in collectives than we are as individuals. We like to think there is a “whole greater than the sum of the parts” dynamic to human collectives, but there really isn’t. The larger the meeting, the dumber it is. If you find a large deliberative body that is acting in ways that are smarter than its size should permit, you can be sure its workings are being subverted by, say, Karl Rove. I’ll argue that larger thesis in a future article, but for now, I’ll just use that element of my personal doctrine to explain why I’ve been fascinated by meetings for years — they are simpler to study, understand and influence than individuals (in particular that most stubborn individual, yourself). When introspection gets to be too tiring, I turn to thinking about groups.