Nothing Is What It Seems
by Damianista | Fan Fun With Damian Lewis | September 24, 2023
A road test. An amazing technology. An evening at the casino. This fun episode aptly called ‘DMV’ demonstrates once again that nothing is what it seems in Billions!
It is time for employee performance reviews at MPC but the employees are not comfortable about it thanks to the recent employee survey and feedback drama at the firm. Even though the boss recuses himself from rewarding and punishing anyone on the team, the employees are feeling uneasy with the composition of the review panel; e.g. Scooter, who is not in touch with them at all (they do not even invite him to the movie night because they know he would never show up!) is sitting on the review committee. They ask the panel to skip the review for a year…
…and they do not suspect one bit when the higher-ups agree to skip the review and move on to organize a casino night at Gotham Hall instead!
It starts like a fun night at Gotham Hall with roulette, blackjack, craps, baccarat and Texas Hold’ Em. All employees are given $5K in chips and there is unlimited rebuy at their own expense.
And we find out what this evening is really about when Scooter goes into a room where Vanessa Selbst, a professional poker player, is closely watching the employees’ behavior with respect to gain and loss on multiple screens!
Victor – “aggressive but smart”
Dollar Bill – “total nihilist at craps”
Taylor – “a high-level thinking poker player…”
Ben Kim – “squeezing his original 5K hard enough to turn them into diamonds”
Tuk – “3rd visit to the rebuy cage”
And lo and behold, combining Selbst’s raw research with Prospect Theory (that is my turf!) Wendy has performance reviews for everybody.
So what is Prospect Theory?
Developed by two economists, Daniel Kahneman and Amos Tversky, and awarded a Nobel Prize in Economics in 2002, Prospect Theory, in a nutshell, says the following.
Kahneman and Tversky propose that losses have a greater emotional impact than a gain of the same amount. They argue that, when an individual is presented with choices two ways – both offering the same result – they will pick the option offering perceived gains.
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