August 20, 2018
Efficient Market Hypothesis
Markets are efficient thanks to the people who think they aren’t efficient.
It’s a paradox.
This simple tension is true in a lot of different domains.
When we think we’re providing a bad customer experience at Bottle, we start sending emails at 2am and start setting up phone calls with clients. We then get compliments on our service.
Henry Rollins was on Joe Rogan’s podcast this week. He told two stories.
In the first, he was backstage with Ozzie Osbourne in Miami. Ozzie asked him, “Is anybody out there?” Henry replied, “Are you crazy? There’s 19,000 people out there!”
In a second story, he had the privilege of meeting George Carlin in a talk show green room. The night before, Rollins had performed at a theater that Carlin was performing at the following week. “Did they get your jokes?” Carlin asked Rollins. “Did the audience connect?”
These guys lived in fear that they weren’t any good anymore. They worried people would stop listening.
It’s like the efficient market hypothesis.
They were great because they never quite believed they were.
July 27, 2018
“Side Effects May Include”
We should treat laws passed by Congress the way we treat pills prescribed by doctors. Each bill should come with a section of potential side effects.
“This regulation may cause…”
What goes on the law’s warning label should also be debated, pros and cons included. Lawmakers can attach their names to the various side effects. The more accurate each lawmaker’s predictions are over time, the higher their side effect claims live on the list.
July 25, 2018
“One of the first interesting experiences I had in this project at Princeton was meeting great men. I had never met very many great men before. But there was an evaluation committee that had to try to help us along, and help us ultimately decide which way we were going to separate the uranium.
This committee had men like Compton and Tolman and Smyth and Urey and Rabi and Oppenheimer on it. I would sit in because I understood the theory of how our process of separating isotopes worked, and so they’d ask me questions and talk about it.
In these discussions one man would make a point. Then Compton, for example, would explain a different point of view. He would say it should be this way, and he was perfectly right. Another guy would say, well, maybe there’s this other possibility we have to consider against it.
So everybody is disagreeing, all around the table. I am surprised and disturbed that Compton doesn’t repeat and emphasize his point. Finally, at the end, Tolman, who’s the chairman, would say, “Well, having heard all these arguments, I guess it’s true that Compton’s argument is the best of all, and now we have to go ahead.”
It was such a shock to me to see that a committee of men could present a whole lot of ideas, each one thinking of a new facet, while remembering what the other fella said, so that, at the end, the decision is made as to which idea was the best - summing it all up - without having to say it three times. These were very great men indeed.”
- Surely You’re Joking, Mr. Feynman!
July 25, 2018
I’ve written before about how enthusiasm is my favorite quality in others. It’s what pulls me closer to people.
Here, a student describes Richard Feynman’s enthusiasm:
I remember when I was his student how it was when you walked into one of his lectures. He would be standing in front of the hall smiling at us all as we came in, his fingers tapping out a complicated rhythm on the black top of the demonstration bench that crossed the front of the lecture hall. As latecomers took their seats, he picked up the chalk and began spinning it rapidly through his fingers in a manner of a professional gambler playing with a poker chip, still smiling happily as if at some secret joke. And then - still smiling - he talked to us about physics, his diagrams and equations helping us to share his understanding. It was no secret joke that brought that smile and the sparkle in his eye, it was physics. The joy of physics! The joy was contagious. We are fortunate who caught that infection.” -from the foreward of Surely You’re Joking, Mr. Feynman!