As I’ve gotten older and more skeptical, I’ve come to realize how unbelievably bad some of the advice was that many of us absorbed as kids.
Today’s epiphany comes from Aesop’s fable, “the boy who cried wolf.”
What if, rather than tricking the adults in the village to come rescue him from a phantom wolf, the little boy shepherd really did see a wolf (that then scurried away when he heard angry villagers approaching), or he even thought he actually did see a wolf the first couple of times it emerged from the shadows? It doesn’t take much of a stretch to imagine the adults who ignored the third warning were the ones who actually wrote the fable: downplay their failure to respond and max out scapegoating on the kid because they refused to think in probability terms.
The poor little bastard may have gotten an unfair rap. Yes, he was wrong twice, but he was telling the truth once, and the damage was catastrophic.
When it comes to “fat tail” events like that, it’s better to have false positives (the nuisance of running to the hill a couple of times), then false negatives (ignoring the actual wolf and losing the flock). The same is generally true for all sorts of high stakes events. That’s why we buy insurance, read warning labels, and pay attention when a smoke alarm goes off. It’s why everyone in crypto has probably read Taleb, and I’m preaching to the choir right now.
Well, we should also be paying close attention to viruses that have charts which look like this:
The past week is unique for two reasons.
It’s the first time I actually seriously prepared a “what if” disaster plan –