One of the inspirations behind our VideoCast series #PSQ (Pivot Strategies Quarantine) is based on a book I’ve been reading called “Antifragile. Things That Gain from Disorder” by Nassim Nicholas Taleb. Taleb often refers to a “Black Swan” a word that is fondly referred to by “Never Split The Difference” author Chris Voss as a rare moment that also spells opportunity. A Black Swan is a rare occurrence with extreme consequences.
“There is opportunity in any crisis”. So a supposed cliched Chinese proverb goes. What I do find in the characters of entrepreneurs; Many of which are on the path to success is the character of being “Antifragile”.
Maripaz of Mama Paz’s Premium Baked Spaghetti has been through several businesses since I’ve known her. But it actually took a crisis like this for her business to take off! Many businesses need to be edited and distilled before the winning formula is reached. This one was made right by KISS. “Keeping it Simple”.
While I’ve known and have done business with Mike of Kickstart Coffee, one of the most memorable times I met him was in front of Cafe Breton just a few days after I got a redundancy as the Vice President and Head of Revenues of a Tech Company. I’ll talk about this in a later blog entitled “The Anatomy of Getting Fired”. Notwithstanding, one of the greatest things I admire about Mike was his courage to take a leap of faith; even when the chips are down. In his case, a Blue Chip! Who would’ve known that a company like Lehman Brothers would collapse in 2008?
The Antifragile is a different animal altogether. In the book, Taleb describes 3 types of people.
- The Fragile: People who will break during a crisis and disorder
- The Robust: People who could survive a crisis
- The Antifragile: People who come back swinging back even harder!
He refers to the Hydra of Greek Myth who when having its head cut off will grow back two more in return and fight even more ferociously!
Some people and their businesses will be demolished by this pandemic. Some will weather through. But very few will come back even better or use this Black Swan event as an opportunity. They will come out of this crisis not restored, but transformed into something better and stronger.
What about you?
Are you Fragile? Are you robust? Or are you Antifragile?
Share your thoughts with us.