Photo Credit: The Times

I have written about Getting Lucky before, it is only apt that I would zero in on the talk by Peter Thiel with the title “You are not a lottery ticket”. I don’t think I need to praise Peter for his original thinking, I have been enjoying listening to his book Zero to One. I have been watch a lot of videos around the book and when I get engrossed in a book, I buy all versions of it so now I have an audio version and ordered a hard copy as well for reference. There are few books that fundamentally changes your thinking, I think Peter’s book Zero to One is one of those books. I highly recommend it.

I think I have come to the same conclusion as Peter’s thinking from a different origin. I started looking at problems related to our economic system and found out that our map of the world is wrong, thank you Nassim Nicholas Taleb with his compelling books Black Swan, Fooled by Randomness and Antifragile. So, when we look at problems and see that the maps we are using are wrong, we change the maps. In the probabilistic world this map is defined by Power Laws, intellectually it is very satisficing to know that we understand the map but factually Power Laws are very poor predictors of the world, even small deviations in the variables lead to dramatically different results. Therefore, one is left to take a deterministic path, when I kept asking myself what is the deterministic path, it dawned on me that it is Entrepreneurship and Technology and Startups. I jumped all in with that thinking, hence this blog and everything else in between that I have been doing.

Peter has described this in a simple matrix, in the talk above. As you can imagine it not difficult to put people in these boxes. A lot of our thinking about the future is driven by how weDeterministic vs Probabilistic value the future. I have noticed people who fall in the box of indeterminate and optimistic, they agree with the deterministic path but are unable to value the future more than money. Money buys you infinite optionality, therefore hoarding it gives you a sense of worth. I think it is wrong thinking. We should invest in the future and look at money as a means to an end.

Again it is not difficult to see where in the matrix I fall, it is in the Determinate-Optimistic quadrant. I believe those who have the courage to value the future tend to build it. As peter says in his talk people who are thinking about that quadrant almost always have a long term secret plan, just like Steve Jobs or Jeff Bezos or Mark Zuckerberg or Larry Page and Sergey Brin.

Where do you fall in the matrix?