This blog entry is a summary of the Russell Beltran’s turkey paradox. I mention it here to support the following post, which have to do with this concept.
On December 24, Christmas Eve is the day where the perception of the reality of countless turkeys changes drastically.
All the knowledge that we got through the observation has certain pitfalls. Consider the turkey to feed every day. Its belief every day confirms the following: “How nice is this human that feeds me so well”. Until December 24 , where he should double check his belief (knowledge). As you can see in this example, the fact confirmatory observation does not provide any relevant knowledge.
But the drama is deeper. The turkey should not only review all its previous knowledge, but that the knowledge it had was all wrong (and deadly). It was a knowledge that provided him security, a security that took hold and grew every day we fed it. In fact, most of its sense of security it had it on Christmas Eve. Just when its risk to die was higher.
The black swan- Practice
This leads us to believe that forecasting sales or revenues, viewing the past years, not only looks like a bad idea, but it is also risky (suicidal in my opinion). It doesn’t matter how expensive and sophisticated the program forecast the sales are or the revenue manager of our company. We are unable to understand the properties of the unknown based on the known. It makes no sense, as the turkey understands on Christmas Eve.
What happens to the turkey on Christmas Eve is what we call rare event or black swan. A fact that has implications not expected to impact. These events can be good or can be bad. A positive black swan would be that my blog had 100 million visits in the first year and I became a millionaire by selling advertising and lecturing. A black swan is negative two planes crashing into the Twin Towers of a September 11, or that your investments in one day lost 50 % of its value.
Note: If this post has no diffusion, it will not be a black swan for me. My livelihood does not depend on whether it spreads or not. I’ve only spent part of my leisure time in writing it. What is a small investment for me? This has to do with ants, as you could read in previous posts.
There is another peculiar thing about black swans, and is that if is good, its form isprogressively, while bad come and hit very quickly. To sell ten million books (have to like a significant number of readers, that they spread it mouth to mouth, that the blog is available…) it’s a question of time, however, only a few hours are required to lose all your savings or all your work.
Many times we are sitting on top of a can of gasoline, but as it hasn’t untapped in a thousand days we will confirm with certainty that tomorrow will not explode. It is the greatest proof that there is no danger that a black swan will not call at our door. This shows how we can not know the future through our knowledge of the past. See white swans do not confirm the nonexistence of black swans. The belief stems from the usual, and that’s dangerous.
** In the early eighteenth century, English settlers returning from Australia brought a load of black swans. Black swans are native to Australia. Until that time, it was thought that all swans were white, because they only knew white swans. This was a shock in the English society of the time, the emergence of a kind of a different color swans who weren’t used to seeing, was a source of debate and controversy.
Further reading: The black swan phenomenon is studied in depth by Professor Nassim Nicholas Taleb in his book the black swan.