"Never cross a river that is on average 4 feet deep"
Nassim Nicholas Taleb
This is a newsletter.
So buckle up.
Newsletters, Blogs and How Does This All Work?
Glad you asked. You will see many blog posts throughout the week that do not get emailed to you. The Newsletters will be much longer and refer to the... you know what? Fuck it. I wrote all of this already here.
Read that first and then continue with this, it's a bit of a doozy. Once you're done you might ask...
"Nic, Why bother writing a newsletter?"
That's a good question.
There is a very interesting breed of self-proclaimed "gurus" out there today. These self-described experts find little pools of people on social media to feast on and add to their "tribe.” These poor souls aren't quite intelligent enough to discern or define intelligence so they fall into circularities; their main skill is an impressive capacity to repeat the shit they hear from other people.
Here's an example from one of the most well-known "experts" out there right now, pulled from a "foundational pillar" of his program:
"Since not more than 50% of the individuals can be wealthier than average..."
This almost sounds reasonable. In fact, his whole entire philosophy is built on a foundation of statements like this; meaning this is the place he is reasoning from. All deductions, facts, lessons, or "points” he is making stem from his belief in these statements as being true. When elementary math shakes your foundation of base knowledge, we've got a problem.
Let's say we stumble upon a village of 100 people. 90 of them have a net worth of $10,000 and 10 of them have a net worth of $1,000. There are 100 villagers with a total net worth of $910,000; an average net worth of $9,100.
...9 out of the 10 have above-average wealth. Turns out that more than 50% of individuals can, indeed, be wealthier than average. Things that sound good, are often uttered by and believed by people that forget that things move.
In other words, this expert and other "experts" have entire methodologies built on "factual and obvious" statements that are neither factual nor obvious. In fact, even without doing math, simple observation and basic pattern recognition can and will disprove most of them. The entire operating system is broken because the base knowledge from which they are reasoning is faulty.
Does that stop them? Of course not. Should I care? It depends on the day. Between you and I, I vacillate rather frequently. On some days it drives me nuts, on others, I find it humorous and, in the long run, can only be good for me. The more people playing stupid short games, on faulty foundations, the less competition in the long game.
Play stupid games. Win stupid prizes.
What I have a hard time ignoring is that these goofballs pathologize others for doing things they, themselves, don't understand and completely fail to consider that it's their own understanding that may be limited.
After some soul-searching, I think that’s why I keep showing up and writing. Not because I care if they blow themselves up, but because I care that YOU don’t. That you have the tools to recognize these idiots and develop the bullshit glasses, which specialize in spotting the blind and leading the blind.
Usually, it's nothing fancy or complicated. It takes about a fifth-grade education to discredit most faulty operating systems. But the world is complicated; we are hardwired with biases, cognitive distortions, and emotions that blind us to reality.
Sometimes, it's more complex. Averages, indexing, and stuff like failing to understand how to amalgamate data take a little more time and are slightly more nuanced. Just think: if you think it sounds good the next time a business coach shows you his Facebook ads manager or his average performance, remember that it also sounds good that more than 50% of people can't have above-average wealth.
Entrepreneurs are risk-takers. It's in our blood. I'm certainly not suggesting avoiding taking risks. I'm suggesting that you be very careful around the merely eloquent. Learn to think about what is being said. Stress test it. And remember that things move.
As for me, I am going to keep laying the foundation for those that want to stress test their base knowledge. If you have a sound base from which you reason you can figure anything out.
And that's what this newsletter is all about.
Until next time.