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Notes to myself, possibly of interest to others.
-- Bill Northlich

Friday, October 24, 2008

Talib - Beware efficiency

" Avoid Optimization, Learn to Love Redundancy. Psychologists tell us that getting rich does not bring happiness—if you spend it. But if you hide it under the mattress, you are less vulnerable to a black swan...Electricity grids for example optimize to the point of not coping with unexpected surges—Albert-Lazlo Barabasi warned us of the possibility of a NYC blackout like the one we had in August 2003. Quite prophetic, the fellow. Yet energy supply kept getting more and more efficient since. Commodity prices can double on a short burst in demand (oil, copper, wheat) —we no longer have any slack"

Nicholas Nazim Talib, recent article at Edge

   Billn: Also, beware them evil Pvt. Equity types. They will tell you they are optimizing the operations of the companies they "buy". In fact, they frequently position the companies for probable crashing and burning, by running them with minimal capital, staff, etc.
   Robert Reich, in Supercapitalism, has a lot of good stuff to say about why in general corporations are not able to run with much cushion in today's environment. Too much competition; we "optimize" ourselves.
   From my own experience in the software business, hoping for the best - in the face of obvious contra-indicators - comprises many companies' entire strategic plan.

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