As a Research Fellow with Coburn Ventures I am privileged to receive their periodic missives. The group covers a lot of ground and their grasp of the “changes” in the technology world are always insightful and compelling. Between portfolio strategy and coverage of individual companies members also contribute book reviews and thought pieces. These are lucid, clearly written articles that spawn a lot of discussion.
Earlier this week Coburn Analyst Brynne Thompson penned her take-aways from a TED presentation by Tim Harford. Tim’s presentation discussed the need to embrace trial and error when working in complex systems. Brynne extends the subject matter to investing (there’s plenty of complexity to deal with in that arena!), highlights some of the main points of the talk and then provides a neat summary of how she plans to apply it to her work.
The first part of this is a lead-in from Pip Coburn – the main man at Coburn Ventures. His comments are always worth a read:
What follows is a note from Brynne through our friend Julien. Thank you Julien.
I am immediately reminded of a time long ago when at Lynch+Mayer the MOMENT of “taking a position” was a VERY VERY big deal that implied you had figured it out, had crossed ALL your t’s and dotted ALL your I’s… 15 years later I realize that I am rarely if ever in my LIFE (of which my work is a critical subset)at a point of all t’s crossed and “all” my work is done AND even more so I seem to see that when I am deluded to consider that I have ALL “set” that a rude awakening is juuuuust around the corner.
Somewhere in 1996 I had a realization in doing tech – which was far more immature and far far far far far more volatile than today for others who lived it — that when I scanned my portfolio of investments during my regular checks and thought, “No, that one is good… No need to make a follow up check,” that I had somehow alerted the Gods that I didn’t know my humanness and that I was due for a painful lesson… Sure enough an earnings pre-announcement would spring. (This was BEFORE the days of what I think my friend Arnie Berman dubbed as “earnings pre announcement season” – which has stuck.)
And I love the work I get to do…
Thanks Brynne for this note… It is well-timed for me
And here is Brynne’s note:
Subject: **Tim Harford at TED (video from Julien): The take away for me and my investing: