A theory of failure


As you may have noticed, The Hannibal Blog has been unusually quiet for a couple of days. That’s because I had to move the family to a new city, as part of my new beat at The Economist. Well, I’ve moved a good dozen times in my life, as has my wife, so we have more than a score of moves between us. We’re pros. Except not.

This was our first move with children. (If you don’t have any, you don’t know why I would bother to point this out.)

Now, as regular readers know, The Hannibal Blog can be relied upon to put forth profound analysis of important things; or, depending on availability, profound analysis of things; or, barring that, analysis of things.

So let me put forth a tentative theory of failure:

  1. The probability of failure increases with the number of permutations (see: complexity).
  2. Once the number of permutations rises above eight or nine, failure is assured.
  3. Thereafter, the devastation of the failure increases with the number of permutations.
  4. Eventually (this is the only good news) it doesn’t matter anymore, or seems not to.

PS: You obviously got me on that kind of day. For a more illuminating theory of failure (and success), wait for the book. 😉
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