Taleb - ttps://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nassim_Nicholas_Taleb
Antifragile - https://www.amazon.com/Antifragile-Things-That-Disorder-Ince...
Basically all current investments are high-risk in the age we live in, because we are "at the brink of the chasm" on all fronts:
- general technology: ...the barriers to market are so low that a startup can spring to being at any moment and eat all your profits away
- (social) media / communication: anything can change anytime, today's Facebook can be tomorrow's Hi5
- biotech: we're getting closer to the "you can do it your garage stage" which will change everything
- world politics: India and China are big players now and their moves can no longer be predicted, also US internal politics is a cauldron of volatility, and in a decade or two we'll have the "New Africa" rising... good luck predicting anything
- ML/AI: we might be at the brink of f Singularity with superhuman-AI around the corner... but we have no idea whether it will be in 5 years or 100 years (!) ...this alone is enough to fuck up all worldwide future prediction on anything... when you're staring up from somewhere around the foot of an exponential curve everything looks like "wtf, nothing makes sense"
And also, the last economic "crisis" increased everyone's aversion to risk, kind of the opposite of what you'd need now to increase level of investment...
What needs to change is the attitude of people with money towards risk! I'd love to see people like Elon Musk succeed long-term, not because I like them or what they are doing, but because they are the only ones with an attitude that can create growth right now.
We should really re-learn thinking and working with volatility, maybe starting from what Nassim Taleb says in his Antifragile (https://www.amazon.com/Antifragile-Things-That-Disorder-Ince...) and his talks like How to Live in a World we Don't Understand (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iEnmjMgP_Jo - warning: he's a terrible speaker... and not a great writer either, so getting to the root of his ideas will take time). Maybe not. But current "risk reduction" attitude cannot work (hint why: even if you reduce Infinity by 20% you still have f Infinity!).
High Output Management
The Master Switch
Thinking Fast and Slow
As it grows, I'm sure inertia will continue to slow it down, but that willingness for reinvention seems like quite a powerful property.
(Another current book – Antifragile (http://amzn.to/2nr15ST) – discusses systems that benefit from randomness and volatility. I wonder if the willingness for reinvention allows for a kind of anti-fragile generational selection to work: instead of waiting for selective forces to birth a different and new stronger generation, you transform yourself (or your company) to _become_ that new generation, allowing you to directly benefit from selective pressures. It's tough to do, psychologically and culturally, and the willingness to do so seems an extremely valuable quality to cultivate.)
I agree that expecting to create 12 great projects next year is a stretch and odds are that 12/12 will become vaporware, however, the lessons learned and the potential (albeit small) for any one of them to actually become something makes this a worthwhile endeavor to me.
Actually reminds me of something I read from Antifragile:
> Rule 4: Trial and error beats academic knowledge.
> Things that are antifragile love randomness and uncertainty, which also means—crucially—that they can learn from errors. Tinkering by trial and error has traditionally played a larger role than directed science in Western invention and innovation... 
Say what you will about NNT's writing style, but the guy makes a lot of sense to me.
You're right that only signed ints admit undefined behavior. Unfortunately you can't get by using just unsigned ints. So for me the choice was between mixing signed/unsigned and just using signed everywhere. If use of signed ints is unavoidable and also leads to undefined behavior, I'd like to exercise it more often in hopes of learning faster what things I shouldn't be doing. This seems like the more antifragile choice (http://www.amazon.com/Antifragile-Things-That-Disorder-Incer...).
I learned about this concept in http://www.amazon.com/Antifragile-Things-That-Disorder-Incer...
* Nassim Nicholas Taleb. Antifragile, things that gain from disorder http://www.amazon.com/Antifragile-Things-That-Disorder-Incer...
* Jared Diamond. The World until yesterday, what can we learn from traditional societies http://www.amazon.com/World-Until-Yesterday-Traditional-Soci...
* Frans de Waal. The Bonobo and the Atheist: In Search of Humanism Among the Primates http://www.amazon.com/Bonobo-Atheist-Search-Humanism-Primate...
* John Higgs. The KLF: Chaos, Magic... http://www.amazon.com/KLF-Chaos-Magic-Music-Money-ebook/dp/B...
* Joseph Jaworski. Synchronicity, the inner Path of leadership http://www.amazon.com/Synchronicity-The-Inner-Path-Leadershi...
* Piero Ferrucci. Your Inner Will, finding personal strength in critical times http://www.amazon.com/Your-Inner-Will-Personal-Strength/dp/0...
* William Irvine. A Guide to the good life, the ancient art of stoic joy http://www.amazon.com/Guide-Good-Life-Ancient-Stoic/dp/01953...
* Chogyam Trungpa. Shambhala: The Sacred Path of the Warrior http://www.amazon.com/Shambhala-Sacred-Warrior-Chogyam-Trung...
* Tomas Malik. Patience with God: The Story of Zacchaeus Continuing In Us http://www.amazon.com/Patience-God-Story-Zacchaeus-Continuin...
* Nick Winter. The Motivation Hacker http://www.amazon.com/Motivation-Hacker-Nick-Winter/dp/09892...
* Chas Emerick, Brian Carper, Christophe Grad. Clojure Programming http://www.amazon.com/Clojure-Programming-Chas-Emerick/dp/14...
* Peter Hamilton - The Reality Dysfunction
* Neal Stephenson - Cryptonomicon (his other hit: Snow Crash is surprisingly more history then SF now...)
Are we not talking about this because it's not relevant, or because everyone here is so invested in this disruption movement?
TL;DR: Read Nassim Nicolas Taleb, he has a lot to say on the likelihood and impact of highly improbably events (Black Swans)... like the successful of highly innovative products. Everything I say next is a rambling couching of the ideas of this article into his framework with the hope that someone else will engage with it.
Personally, I think the key point is here:
"Companies that were quick to release a new product but not skilled at tinkering have tended to flame out."
Which reminds me of the NNT's barbell approach to mitigating Black Swan's. Invest the majority of your energy conservatively in safe, non-risky ventures and then spread the rest of your energy across high-risk ventures (tinkering) with extremely high (or unlimited) potential upsides.
New technology has allowed the creation of many more Black Swans for businesses through innovation and they can be positive or negative depending on whether you are the disrupting company or the one being disrupted by this new innovation Black Swan.
Established companies that don't tinker, don't expose themselves to positive innovation Black Swans... while startups that ignore all established wisdom gambling on a single Black Swan innovation expose themselves to the reality that 9/10 innovations don't actually result in Black Swan level disruption.
For those that don't know what I'm talking about, I definitely recommend Nassim Nicolas Taleb's The Black Swan and Antifragile:
It's tempting to think, "Ah, people! So terrible at predicting things." I think it's interesting to think about why that is.
The main problem, I think, isn't that people make wrong predictions altogether. It's that it's very hard to see how things will change and evolve over time, and how the ecosystem will change with it. The "One Laptop Per Child" idea  sounds a little dated and silly now.
I suppose if we just remember that progress is continuous rather than discrete, and that a lot of seeming limitations can be overcome with currently-unlikely innovations, then a lot of predictions will be forced to be a lot more precise.
Perhaps the Newsweek prediction might've been amended to, "In its present form, the Internet is unlikely to change the world."
The problem with predictions is– things rarely stay in their present forms, and the world around them rarely stays the same, either.
I think pg addresses this in his most recent essay, "What Microsoft is this the Altair Basic of?"  In his words– "they practically all seemed lame at first."
So we have to learn to live in a world where our initially valid assessments of a thing might become rapidly invalid because of change. And this is where Nassim Taleb's work about the problem of prediction  comes into play. Rather than trying to predict a particular outcome, it makes much more sense to focus on evaluating robustness and antifragility– "How will this thing respond to change? What are the potential upsides, what are the potential downsides? What will kill it? What will give it more utility?"
Even if the odds are really low that something might come around, if the payoff is high enough, it might be worth betting on. I think that's the whole point of things like YC.
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The Technologies we currently use
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It's a wonder that we don't see more of these crimes, given that the rewards (if they don't get caught) accrue to the parties responsible, while the punishments (if caught) are suffered almost exclusively by everybody else. The people who made the criminal decisions do not suffer when the corporation is fined/santioned, it's shareholders, innocent employees and society at large who do. In other words, there's very little disincentive against this behavior.
What we really should consider is adding personal criminal liability to corporate officers who are found to either commit or condone financial crimes, as far up in the call stack as it can be proven.
"What an assertion! It also proved to be very useful for hordes of scientists... what about some examples of confused scientists?"
How about every single economist and financial analyst who failed to predict the financial crashes of the last 50 years? Did you realize how much money was lost over the last 50 years by the financial industry's reliance on models that improperly use the standard Gaussian bell curve? Taleb pointed out why the Gaussian is not usually an appropriate model for financial analysis and suggested a return to more conservative models. Yet today Modern Portfolio Theory and the Black-Scholes models (which use the Gaussian) dominate in financial schools and institutions despite the fact that they absolutely utterly failed, not badly, but catastrophically in every financial crisis when they were most needed.
You state that "Standard deviation tells you how volatile measurements are". But Taleb shows how financial markets are non-Gaussian and have "fat tails" and gives the data and the supporting arguments.
"As someone who uses it daily I am eagerly awaiting his argument."
You're late! Taleb began publishing his arguments years ago and continues to publish. You're way behind. Read his papers and read his books in the following order:
Fooled by Randomness http://www.amazon.com/Fooled-Randomness-Hidden-Chance-Market...
The Black Swan http://www.amazon.com/The-Black-Swan-Improbable-Robustness/d...
BTW simply because someone's writing style is different does not mean that he is wrong. To me, complaining about a writing style is a form of ad hominem argument. People are different and Taleb is one-of-a-kind. Initially I didn't see where he was going, but once I realized that he was presenting ideas that were absolutely, utterly novel and had real explanatory power I sat up and paid attention. If you read for the facts and the valid arguments you will see that Taleb delivers the goods.
Seeing as your professor is all knowing, maybe they could finally tell us all how lithium polymer batteries work ?
It's essentially the culmination of Fooled By Randomness and The Black Swan.
It is an enjoyable read so far...
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