10:23 AM

Silicon Valley Incubates Black Swans

Nassim Nicholas Taleb's "The Black Swan" is an incredible book. I give it my highest recommendation, I now have a new hero.

The Black Swan shows how our society, how our experts, consistently fail to consider the effect of events that are unpredictable but totally game changing. The point is to know where we are exposed, not to sweep things under the carpet using the misapplication of mathematics and statistics based on past events.

A Black Swan is an event that is many magnitudes outside of the expected. We can become less of a "sucker" to these types of events, and also open ourselves to the huge benefits of a Black Swan-type event.

In many ways, Silicon Valley's thousands of startups are trying to ride the Black Swan - leave themselves open to the faint possibility of success, which could come from unexpected quarters. Either way, the odds of a startup succeeding are tiny, and rely on many variables lining up precisely. Many of those variables are completely unpredictable.

How many times have Silicon Valley companies acted as "Black Swans" for many established companies and sectors? Thousands of times.

How many times has "The Next Big Thing" in Silicon Valley come from totally unexpected quarters? Every time. That's a Black Swan and we have a great breeding ground for them here.

This is an important book:

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