Monday, May 12, 2008

Best-Ever Entrepreneurship Quotes, Week 84

Here's the latest installment in our series of motivational quotes, personally selected to get your week off to an inspired start.

This week: Ode to a universe ruled by chance, not design. And happy surprises.

"We need more tinkering: Uninhibited, aggressive, proud tinkering. We need to make our own luck. We can be scared and worried about the future, or we can look at it as a collection of happy surprises that lie outside the path of our imagination. "

Nassim Nicholas Taleb, applied statistician and derivatives trader-turned-philosopher/essayist; author of The Black Swan: The Impact of the Highly Improbable.

A former managing director and worldwide head of financial option arbitrage at CIBC-Wood Gundy, Taleb is described by Wikipedia as "a polymath scholar of randomness and knowledge... As a pioneer of complex financial derivatives, he had as a day job a lengthy senior trading and financial mathematics career in New York City, before he started a second career as a scholar in the epistemology of chance events."

Taleb is the morning keynote speaker tomorrow (May 13) at the Ontario Centres of Excellence conference, Discovery 08.

I certainly agree with Taleb's point that the randomness of success needs to be better understood. As he wrote on last year:

"Things, it turns out, are all too often discovered by accident--but we don't see that when we look at history in our rear-view mirrors. The technologies that run the world today (like the Internet, the computer and the laser) are not used in the way intended by those who invented them. Even academics are starting to realize that a considerable component of medical discovery comes from the fringes, where people find what they are not exactly looking for."

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