A message for 2013 from the father of the black swan

by Cain, January 12, 2013

I want to share with Wamda a passage from Nassim Nicholas Taleb. I found this fitting because it speaks directly to entrepreneurs, because it comes from a thinker from Beirut, and because it is a good thought for a start of the year.

My dear friend Nassim, whom I have never met, would like it if we had a National Entrepreneur Day, with the following message: 

Most of you will fail, disrespected, impoverished, but we are grateful for the risks you are taking and the sacrifices you are making for the sake of the economic growth of the planet and pulling others out of poverty. You are the source of our antifragility. Our nation thanks you.” 

For our friends who are yet to read his book, here are just two thoughts on what he means by antifragility, so that the above makes a bit more sense to you. As you read, do remember that this is one man’s interpretation of another’s written word. So take it with a grain of thought and go read the book if you crave for a more reliable source. 

Point 1. If fragility is a property of that which is harmed by volatility (change, time, uncertainty, and an entire host of negative shocks), then antifraglity is a property of that which benefits from volatility.

Point 2. Just as nature benefits from the extinction of weaker species, who each benefit from the death of weaker individuals, so does the overall economy benefit from the failure of many entrepreneurs. Volatility is unavoidable, but for the community to thrive and benefit from it, individuals must suffer and be harmed by it.

To say that entrepreneurs are the source of our antifragility – our ability to benefit, as a community, from the unexpected – is to become aware and thankful of a necessary sacrifice.

Anyway, that is want I am getting out of it… Please share your thoughts with me here or on my blog.


Happy New Year!


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