Today being the last day of the year, all this talk about the "end", combined with Yale Professor Nicholas Christakis' tweet (below) reminded me about something that once mattered but hasn't for a long time: where my last name is placed on a list sorted in alphabetical order.
In kindergarten the inchoate brain sensed that there was an advantage to having a last name beginning with a "Y". I got to see how the other kids answered before I was called upon. Being first has its advantages in marketing (e.g., AAA Dry Cleaners), job interviews, and when good stuff is being handed out, but on the whole, as any poker player will tell you, it's better to have the last move.
Being at the end of the line has also instilled the value of patience. I really don't need to be the first to buy the latest iPhone or self-driving vehicle, nor am I disgruntled that I won't be offered the COVID-19 vaccine for months.
So be of good cheer. Things could have been a lot worse, and we made it to the end.
Matthias Weber argues—as he would—that there is convincing evidence that ordering authors alphabetically discriminates against authors whose names appear late in the alphabet, and has implications for the number of collaborations they enter into. https://t.co/REuCbVuR8j— Nicholas A. Christakis (@NAChristakis) December 31, 2020