Friday, March 15, 2013

antifragility is a new york state of mind

'Guy's got chops' says Billy Joel at the end of this clip that's been doing the rounds this week.

Billy Joel accepts the request of a young student Michael Pollack to jump on stage and accompany Bill on the piano during his college Q&A tour in Nashville.

Micheal proceeds to give a deft turn of hand to 'New York State Of Mind' while Billy dons the shades and is enjoying it so much even does a little Sinatra improv.

The key moment in the clip though is not the performance itself - though it's a belter.

It's the moment that Michael pitches Billy.

There's just a pause of a few seconds while Billy takes in what's happening.

Then he responds. 'Ok'.

In AntiFragile Taleb describes '..anything that has more upside than downside from random events is antifragile'.

In that pause something of this nature ran through Billy's mind.

For the kid to have the balls to raise his hand this random event could only result in upside.

'When you are fragile, you depend on things following the exact planned course, with as little deviation as possible—for deviations are more harmful than helpful. This is why the fragile needs to be very predictive in its approach, and, conversely, predictive systems cause fragility'.

'When you want deviations, and you don’t care about the possible dispersion of outcomes that the future can bring, since most will be helpful, you are antifragile...If every trial provides you with information about what does not work, you start zooming in on a solution—so every attempt becomes more valuable, more like an expense than an error. And of course you make discoveries along the way.'

This is what artists do. Spot the moments when random events have more upside than down and go with it.

Michaels got chops so even Billy had to up his game.

Once the shades go on this is stadium territory not just a college lecture hall.

And with close to a million views at the time of writing, it's all upside for Bill.

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