Pilot-Less Plane

Imagine lounging in an ultra-comfortable, first-class airplane seat. It’s soft; it’s purple. As you attentively listen to the (very cute) flight attendant explaining how to fasten your belt buckle, she ends her presentation with the following statement: “Oh, just to let you know, the pilot is not on this aircraft. He is controlling this aircraft from the airport with a remote control. Have a nice flight.”

“What? The pilot isn’t here?” you say to yourself. You want to get off the plane, but it’s taking off.


That pilot, my friend, is an illustration of a person without skin-in-the-game: The pilot controls the plane without bearing the risk of harm—if the plane crashes, the pilot doesn’t bear the consequence.

I cringe every time someone throws unsolicited advice at me. All those people have no skin-in-the-game—if I’m harmed by their advice, they’re not harmed. What if I followed their advice, failed, and wasted a decade of my life? Would they also lose a decade of their life? Would they return my decade back? Of course no. What I’m likely to receive is an apology like: “Haha, sorry, my bad, haha, anyway, let’s grab a beer.”

I’m not against credible, useful advice. I’m against stakeless, potentially harmful ones.