Posts Tagged ‘anti-fragile’

Booms, Busts, Stability, Antifragility

November 16, 2015 Leave a comment

The figure below shows the one time boom-bust pattern of a Ponzi scheme (Bernie Madoff anyone?) We have a meteoric rise in value based on smoke and mirrors where a few get rich, and then an instantaneous dive during which many poor souls lose their shirts. Note that when the bubble pops, the party  is over, finished, kaput.


The next figure shows the slow and steady rise in value of a viable, value-creating, system. Since the value the system creates is real, the system achieves stability and remains operational for an enduringly long time. It becomes woven into the fabric of society. At some point, the populace starts taking the system for granted and assumes the system has been influencing their behavior forever.

steady rise

Here is my sketchy interpretation of what’s happening in the Bitcoin space:

jagged rise

Bitcoin has already experienced several heart-stopping boom-bust cycles throughout its steady march toward stability and widespread acceptance. But note that unlike a Ponzi scheme, which many dooms-mongers (like textbook economists and obsolete, fat-cat, bankstas) loudly claim Bitcoin is after every bust, Bitcoin has not gone kaput. It’s robust, resilient, and dare I say, anti-fragile. The system adapts and get stronger after withstanding every technical and political attack – improving itself via the community driven BIPs process.

godtrustsPhoto credit gallery.

Hopping On The Anti-Fragile Bandwagon

February 13, 2014 3 comments

Since Martin Fowler works there, I thought ThoughtWorks Inc. must be great. However, after watching two of his fellow ThoughtWorkers give a talk titled “From Agility To Anti-Fragility“, I’m having second thoughts. The video was a relatively lame attempt to jam-fit Nassim Taleb’s authentic ideas on anti-fragility into the software development process. Expectedly, near the end of the talk the presenters introduced their “new” process for making your borg anti-fragile: “Continuous Delivery/Discovery/Design“. Lookie here, it even has a superscript in its title:


Having read Mr. Taleb’s four fascinating books, the one hour and twenty-six minute talk was essentially a synopsis of his latest book, “Anti-Fragile“. That was the good part. The ThoughtWorkers’ attempts to concoct techniques that supposedly add anti-fragility to the software development process introduced nothing new. They simply interlaced a few crummy slides with well-known agile practices (small teams, no specialists, short increments, co-located teams, etc) with the good slides explaining optionality, black/grey swans, convexity vs concavity, hormesis, and levels of randomness.

smug consultant

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