There is something utterly beautiful about the apparent simplicity of this article, John, when at heart it’s nothing less than a stinging critique of instrumental and algorithmic approaches to value.
What I hear in this — the philosophical subtext - is that there is no calculus for valuing human effort. Like a movie, it can’t be valued as a thing, it has to be lived through. Value is not a thing that effort has, or doesn’t have. It is in the doing. We expend effort valuably, or we don’t, but what “valuably” means is so context and time dependent, that there’s no way of articulating it as any sort of formula.
So, we have a kind of heuristicism of value: there’s no theory of value, only ever heuristics. Nietzsche would be proud.
This is what I love about this industry. It’s deeply philosophical while aiming at a deeper practical truth. Cognitive science did this for the philosophy of cognition — a tradition continued by ux. Reflective product managers like you do it for the philosophy of value, what Kant would call a critique of practical judgement.