Signaling and Counter Signaling

Inspired by Rob Henderson’s, The Logic Behind Status Signaling

If you search up Patrick Collison on Linkedin, it says he’s a content strategist at Stripe.

If you search up Malcolm Gladwell on Twitter, his bio says Skinny Canadian”.

The irony is that these two people have reached the pinnacle of their fields, Patrick Collison as the founder and CEO of one of the most valuable private companies in the world and Malcolm Gladwell a multiple new york times best seller, yet their social media profiles are humble and maybe self deprecating. Many people know who Patrick and Malcolm are, they don’t need to signal, they can countersignal.

When you’re high status, then countersignaling is a high status move. But countersignaling only works if you’re high status. If you’re low status countersignaling can backfire and suggest low self-esteem, subordination, and/or low mate value.

April 5, 2022

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