In a nice article about the failure of Hewlett Packard's directors, written from a liberal perspective as are 99% of the stories from b (which caused me to cancel all my subscriptions there, thereby saving much contemplated expense, but probably disrupting the rhythm), he refers to duos that have been successful: Jobs Wozniak, Filo Yang, Page Brin, Hewlett Packard. I know of a number of 2 person partnerships that are successful, but have always felt that 3 person partnerships are very unstable and unhealthy, as was mine when I started with NCZ. I have always felt that the reason is that it's too easy for any two to form a coalition against the third. Have others here found the 3 person triangles very dysfunctional, and is there an economic reason aside from the all too prevalent attempts to better themselves at the expense of another that lies within the human heart? What are the market implications of such?

Bill Egan writes:

My experience is also that two person partnerships work much better, and adding three or more people leads to a mess.

I believe there are three reasons for this. For two people:

1. You have time to try to understand the other person's viewpoint.

2. Combinatorics are in your favor. With two people, there are only four
possible positions to discuss.

3. No politics because no one can get an ally.

With three or more people:

1. You have less time to try to understand the other peoples' viewpoints, which creates more opportunity for misunderstanding and miscommunication.

2. Combinatorics are not in your favor. With two people, there are four possible positions. With three people, there are eight possible positions on any given issue.

3. Politics can get ugly because person one can get an ally (person two) against person three, etc.

Ken Drees writes: 

Treasure of the Sierra Madre comes to mind.

Trader Craft writes:

In gravitational physics, two body systems are orderly and predictable. Once you get to three bodies, the system becomes chaotic.

Stefan Jovanovich writes: 

The Founders' direct experience with bicameral and unicameral legislatures led them to oppose both Franklin and Hamilton's preference for a single body. What the Founders did not anticipate was that the Federal judiciary would become a co-equal 3rd branch. IMNSHO, the instabilities of our system have their source in that unexpected development. For some of us, James Marshall is anything but a hero.


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