Archive for the ‘nassim nicholas taleb’ Tag

Black Swan in the Rain

Pick, pack, pock, puck. Rain beats a rhythm and it changes the pulse.

Caught outdoors by the rain, people get wired. With a clear sky, they were flapping aimlessly like loose ends in the gentle breeze.

But steady rain snaps you into your circuit board. What were you doing? Where where you going? Well, do it quick and get going. Or it’s drowned rat o’clock.

Stand still in the street and you’re dead. Umbrella spokes zip past at guillotine height. Every man for himself. Selfishness rules the road. An electric chorus of angry.

I saw something different this time last year in Rio de Janeiro, staying on the Praia de Botafogo. It was Autumn and it didn’t rain much. But when it rained, you moved fast. Because it rained hard.

Everyone moved to the mall when it rained. It was the biggest sheltered public space.

Everyone was wet. Real wet. But they weren’t angry. Because it would just happen. It was relatively unpredictable, but they always knew what to do when it happened. Get to the mall.

Once they were there, and big numbers went there, it sparked random connections. Old friends would spot then snap each other with their mobiles in the glimpse of an escalator ride.

Click. Stop. The words are scampering too fast. What could any of this mean?

1. Running in the rain can make you a jerk-off (to bastardise an insight of Nassim Nicholas Taleb). Find shelter and watch the sparks fly. You’ll be constantly surprised.

2. Get drenched? It doesn’t matter when randomness brings you together with friends. And the black swan – the unpredictable high-impact event – can do that spectacularly.

(This post is available in very very amateur 3D, in case you’re still wondering about the doodles above.)