Draft Day

Did the Cowboys secure a Greg Bell among the five players they received from the Vikings? If so, whe

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  1. When you ask somebody “Why did you do X?”, all you can hope to get is the answer to “Why do you think you would have done X?” The two occurrences of the variable named “you” have different values in most cases, you@now (who’s answering the question), and you@then (who did X). [If you want to get weird with it, I think there’s a coherent perspective that they are different "you"s even when I’m asking you about what you’re doing right this moment.]
    I can see how you would want somebody who can understand the evolution of “you” that happened between “then” and “now” and can account for that. Somebody like that can give you a consistent answer to “Why did you do X?” over time. I think it’s not possible to do that really generally, but the closer you get the more likely it is that you can have a real process.

  2. Helpful piece Rusty. I look forward to you providing employee management advice in the context of Dem Boys (or even better, The U).

  3. Avatar for rguinn rguinn says:

    Hah! Yeah, just a few not-so-best HR practices between those two organizations.

  4. “There is something magical about walking through a small town in America on a Friday night between Labor Day and Christmas. Empty streets, other than the odd through-traveler. Darkened storefronts, the third or fourth reverberation of a snare drum in the distance. It’s too far to hear trumpets, cheerleaders or whistles, but the bass of the marching band’s sousaphones carries. Every once in a while, if you stay long enough, you’ll hear the swell of the crowd in the distance, a universal roar that all sports fans would know and appreciate. The picture at the top of this note is from a typical Friday night in my hometown in Texas.”

    Very evocative, nicely written. I’ve never been in a small town on a Friday night, but I can feel it from your description.

  5. Avatar for araomd araomd says:

    Great note Rusty. It reminds me of some of Taleb’s writing on the field of “History”, and also Ben’s note “The Unbearable Over-Determination of Oil.”
    Underlying both themes is the embrace of ambiguity and becoming probabilistic instead of deterministic thinkers.

  6. Great point. One common theme - amidst several - running through Epsilon Theory is that there is no answer, but there are intelligent processes that can help you better assess the probabilities / risks. I do not have one tenth the intellectual firepower of Ben and Rusty (am happy to draft behind them, though), but had long ago realized there was no answer (and no super genius had one despite his press clippings and his firm’s deification of him).

    This view is not very popular as most people want THE ANSWER - salesmen, other traders (less so, as some kinda get it), clients and management (passionately) believe in and are looking (or desparately want someone to give them) THE ANSWER. Knowing there is no answer has helped my trading and money management, but has required some deft people management as sometimes the pressure to “stop explaining and just answer the question” is intense - and can be coming from your boss or boss’ boss.

    ET emboldened me to stick to my guns and deliver the not-always-well-received “sorry there is no answer, but here’s the probabilities and strategy we are going to pursue to address them” response. It’s another value of ET: when you’re standing one against the crowd (with hot oil pouring down on you from the castle high) you have a deeper belief in your convictions, you can explain them better and you know - now - there’s a virtual pack out there with you.

  7. Avatar for rguinn rguinn says:

    Yes, I think that it isn’t possible for a number of reasons, not least that we ourselves are not unaffected by the passage of time! Still, it’s the best I’ve been able to achieve so far.

  8. Avatar for rguinn rguinn says:

    Yes, very fair allusions, both. Some similarities to Ben’s most recent, too, in that uncertainty can thwart probabilistic thinking, too. Thanks for reading!

  9. “but I’m also happy to walk you through their implementation. The math is trivial, but it is cumbersome in Excel.”

    Math is never trivial for me! I am no slouch in Excel but anything in mathematical notation leaves me cold! Is there a program or spreadsheet available that does the math for me?

    By the way it goes without saying that the stuff you and Ben put out is quite execptional. I have felt like a lone wolf for a long time and now I realise I am not alone at all and beginning to understand why. Thank you so much.

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