Socio-economic lessons from nature: Interdependence NOT overdependence

Here is the “full” Nassim Taleb conversation, at The Royal Society with David Cameron – no need to give any extra kudos to the leader of the Conservative Party as a result of his “participation”.

Financial inter-connectedness, or globalisation, has become the economic form of the “planetary eco-system”, or environment. These systems, like the human body, are undeniably complex. It is true of any system that greater complexity equates to more functionality but each has their upper limit around which the “system” becomes unstable, unpredictable and difficult to manage. Beyond the point of “critical complexity” functionality is lost, sometimes rapidly…the system crashes.

It is true of our bodies, the global economy, the environment as it is of a business entity, its eco-system, IT systems, etc.

So, whether we are talking about the our “ personal systems”, or the individual in the context of any of the – interdependent – four pillars of a sustainable society: SOCIAL; CULTURAL; ECONOMIC; ENVIRONMENTAL, each system needs to be robust to be best able to cope with “the unforeseen.” Call it “randomness”, call it “black swan”, call it whatever you like! But “outliers” within data CANNOT be discounted in the manner that they have been by those involved in financial modelling, forecasting, etc. “Conventional wisdom” is no longer enough…

This is not, necessarily, news and elements of the argument are [and will continue to be] disputed…witness the disputed facts re globally warming, etc.

But the age old problem has been:

“HOW DO YOU MANAGE (something so complex) THAT YOU CAN’T MEASURE?”

That is why the QUANTITATIVE COMPLEXITY MANAGEMENT solutions from (link: Ontonix srl) that I will shortly be rolling out in UK, are so exciting. NOW we can confidently state that, with the appropriate data:


Please take a look at the main website there is no shortage of information. I will post further information including some updated case studies in the coming days but if you would like to discuss any aspect please call me [+44 (0) 7919 917150], leave a comment or email me:

Without Ontonix:


Seth’s says: It’s easier to teach compliance than initiative

 It’s easier to teach compliance than initiative

Compliance is simple to measure, simple to test for and simple to teach. Punish non-compliance, reward obedience and repeat.

Initiative is very difficult to teach to 28 students in a quiet classroom. It’s difficult to brag about in a school board meeting. And it’s a huge pain in the neck to do reliably.

Schools like teaching compliance. They’re pretty good at it.

To top it off, until recently the customers of a school or training program (the companies that hire workers) were buying compliance by the bushel. Initiative was a red flag, not an asset.

Of course, now that’s all changed. The economy has rewritten the rules, and smart organizations seek out intelligent problem solvers. Everything is different now. Except the part about how much easier it is to teach compliance.

RBS Bonuses, Bullying & (more) BS

BBC News – Royal Bank of Scotland announces £3.6bn of losses

In the style of “Points of View”: Why oh why oh why are we subjected to numerous column inches, hours of discussion, Select committee interviews, general politicking and bullsh*t on what are patently SYMPTOMS!?

It is all just further evidence that it is the CULTURE that needs to change before anything else of any real significance or permanence will occur.

Merciless leader Top performer

As far as RBS is concerned, it is pretty common knowledge that their “disgraced”, but unpunished and not impecunious, former leader has a track record akin to  Genghis Khan at the peak of his powers. Ok, so in keeping with modern etiquette his enemies were only put to the literal (financial) sword…whilst he is STILL a Knight of the Realm. Many of them, deemed to be ”traitors” from within his own ranks, suffered…along with their, equally innocent, families…as a direct result of their familiarity with old fashioned values – like Governance, Risk & Compliance

A great quote sprang to mind:


So Stephen Hester tells us that “…… some of our best-performing people have been leaving in their thousands”. As a taxpayer and, therefore, shareholder – for what that is worth – I am delighted to hear these greed merchants and acolytes of a disgraced and discredited regime are taking their “skills” elsewhere. PERHAPS THEN THE EMPHASIS MAY SWITCH TO DELIVERING THE TYPE OF PRODUCTS, SERVICES AND INVESTMENT STRATEGY THAT COMMENCE THE PROCESS OF REBUILDING TRUST.


The case for “Complexity Analysis”: Blind faith, Greek philosophy and risk

Unless you have been living in a cave you WILL be aware that the global financial sector has FAILED. It is “shot”! The models upon which the largest institutions and corporations quantified risk are discredited as are the rating agencies who wield such power over entire nations.

No-one could have seen it coming. Right?

WRONG. ABOUT AS WRONG AS YOU COULD BE!!! The warnings were out there. Not from fortune-tellers, soothsayers, prophets of doom and mad men. They, like those that relied upon their own intuition, would probably been marginalised or dismissed. But when warnings came from economists and academics you would have thought that the stakes were sufficiently high, to, at least, listen to what they had to say. NOPE. The most popular course was to ridicule what has since been shown to be the “inconvenient truth”. Read more of this post

Seth’s Blog : The doormat, the jerk and the lizard brain


The doormat, the jerk and the lizard brain

The best reason to be a jerk at work is that of course no one will listen to you or support you or embrace your ideas–you’re a jerk.

The best reason to be a doormat at work is that in your effort to get along, to be nice, and to go with the flow, of course you won’t be expected to stand up and shout, "follow me" when your ideas might take you in a different direction.

Both extremes are the refuge of the lizard brain, the voice of the resistance. They reward the desire to fit in, not to stand out.

"It’s not my job" is a comforting refrain when you’d like to hide out. So is, "they all hate me and won’t do what I say."

Fear is the driver here, it’s fear that pushes people in either of these two directions. That’s because in between the two extremes lies responsibility and opportunity and the requirement that you actually do work that matters.

The hard part, the part that gets you rewarded, is understanding that sometimes it is best to use common sense and toe the line, while other times you are facing fear that must be overcome.

Linchpins might be afraid, but they know precisely what they’re afraid of. And then they do something constructive about it.