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Nothing is the Same

This post will take you about 4 minutes to read.


What a month.

Expectations and reality grew apart.

Time is moving fast and slow.

It’s been one hell of a transition working from home to working, eating, exercising, cleaning, sleeping, and never leaving home.

Focus is non-existent.

Global pandemic.

Nothing is going to be the same.

Not a damn thing.

Thoughts are scattered, shattered, and smattered.

Here are a few of those thoughts . . .

Soft and Hard Information

History shows that the Titanic’s captain was concerned about icebergs, for during the night he stationed two seamen on the bow as lookouts. A few hours before the accident, the Titanic received a telegram warning of heavy pack ice and frequent icebergs from the Carpathian, a freighter steaming toward the Titanic. Unfortunately, this important report became lost among the many telegrams of the passengers and never reached the captain. Though the captain’s system was operative, its important lack of lead time resulted in one of the most famous marine disasters of all time.

The disaster of the Titanic was partly the result of the captain’s preference for hard, empirical evidence (i.e., seeing an iceberg) as opposed to soft information (clues). For example, the telegram from the Carpathian was soft information, a clue that there might be trouble ahead. The sighting of the iceberg was hard information, empirical evidence of trouble.

A contributing factor to the ship’s demise was an overload of information. The warning telegram about icebergs had been mixed in with the passengers’ less important messages. Had the telegram not been lost and had the captain stressed the importance of such soft information to his operators, the Titanic might now be exhibited at the South Street Seaport Museum (located within a few blocks of Wall Street).

This passage is from Bennett W. Goodspeed’s book The Tao Jones Averages: A Guide to Whole-Brained Investing and it explains a lot of what is happening now.

The lesson is soft clues are important.

Braess’s paradox

Did you know adding a road may cause more traffic?

There are limits to systems. Distribution is important. This article explains it well with the passages below:

Braess’s paradox hinges on the very reasonable assumption that drivers will try to find the route to work that minimizes their own, personal travel time. When a new road opens, drivers may flock to it. But if everyone does the same thing their new route may be clogged. As a result, drivers may try a different route the following day. After a few days or weeks, people find the route that seems fastest for them. Traffic settles into a state of equilibrium. Braess showed that there are examples where, when all the dust settles, there’s a unique equilibrium where everyone is now taking longer to get to work than they did before.

Braess’s paradox doesn’t tell us we should stop building more roads. Cars need roads to get from point A to point B. What it does tell us is that adding more roads doesn’t always make things better. Sometimes less really is more.

Zero-sum game

Zero-sum means that when one player wins, his opponent loses an equal amount.  Think of poker, where when one player wins they get all the chips in the pot, and the other player has lost all the chips they committed to the pot.  Most board games are also zero-sum (you can’t have both players win a game of chess).

From Kevin Wagonfoot’s book, Mental Models: 30 Tools To Master Logic And Productivity.

This game or theory is illustrated in college athletics. This article explains it well. It’s a zero-sum game because one program wins and the others lose.

Random predictions

In no order, how a couple things might change . . .

Work

Sports and Entertainment

Me


Find me on Twitter @thischrisgallo or GitHub @gallochris or Instagram @heygallo.