Saturday, June 02, 2007

Black Swan

I've just started reading 'The Black Swan - The Impact of the Highly Improbable' by Nassim Nicholas Taleb.

According to the prologue, a Black Swan phenomenon is characterized by the fact that it:
  • is an outlier, ie. it's not expected or predicted.
  • has an extreme impact (isn't defining one of the necessary criteria for some event to be considered 'impactful' as 'must have extreme impact' a bit circular?).
  • we attempt to explain its occurrence after the fact.
By the time I finish the book, I vow to have determined an identity Black Swan.

I can think of plenty of identity events that meet 1 or 2 of the above criteria (e.g. Microsoft saying they'd support OpenID wasn't expected, Conor singing Bohemian Rhapsody had an extreme impact (on my GI tract), everybody is trying to explain WS-Federation 'after the fact', etc) but, as yet, no events that meet all 3.

p.s. apparently, Black Swans make what you don't know far more relevant than that which you do. So, I got that going for me.

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