Recently on twitter, Nassim shared this chart comparing outcomes with Clinton as president versus Trump. In response to a question about Sanders versus Trump, he tweeted: “Bernie v. Trump I go Bernie because his domestic policies won’t go through and his foreign policies are clearer.”
He also followed up with these tweets: “Hillary and Bush have done the most to harm minority populations in the Levant & Iraq since Genghis Khan.” “2/What I mean by rigorous is not making assumptions/ certainties when there is uncertainty. Shillary offers certainties, Trump fewer ones.”
… in a fashion that seems equally indebted to Montaigne’s On Experience and Taleb’s The Black Swan, Catmull contemplates the challenges of managing in a world where, inevitably, there will be so much that’s hidden, and that you can never see.
This is precisely the question that vexed Taleb as well; as I phrased it in my review, “How do you function in a world where accurate prediction is rarely possible, where history isn’t a reliable guide to the future and where the most important events cannot be anticipated?”
Much like Taleb, Catmull isn’t looking for certitude, and would profoundly (and appropriately) distrust it if he saw it. But the alternative is finding a way to function and achieve balance – a very dynamic and ever-changing balance – in a world that’s constantly shifting.
For Catmull, encouraging employees to surface and solve problems, and to candidly share critique is both a daily challenge and an existential need, without which creative businesses are destined to fail.
Nassim recently posted a document called “Skepticism” on Facebook.
He had this to say about it:
Something people don’t get: more skepticism about climate models should lead to more “green” ecological conservationist policies not more lax pro-pollution ones. Why? Simply, uncertainty about the models increases fragility (and thickens the left tail), no matter what the benefits can be in the right tail. Added the section to the precautionary principle. Please discuss but stick to rigor and avoid buzzwords. (Also do not think that the idea is falling from the sky: it is a mere application of the fragility theorems).